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The Turtles

Though many remember only their 1967 hit, "Happy Together," the Turtles were one of the more enjoyable American pop groups of the '60s, moving from folk-rock inspired by the Byrds to a sparkling fusion of Zombies-inspired chamber pop and straight-ahead, good-time pop reminiscent of the Lovin' Spoonful, the whole infused with beautiful vocal harmonies courtesy of dual frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. Though they hit number one in 1967 with the infectious "Happy Together," the Turtles scored only three more Top Ten hits and broke up by the end of the '60s. Kaylan and Volman later joined Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention during the early '70s and also recorded themselves as Flo & Eddie, but were on the oldies circuit with a revamped Turtles by the mid-'80s.

Born within two months of each other in 1947 (though on opposite coasts), Howard Kaylan (b. Howard Kaplan) and Mark Volman attended the same school, Westchester High in Los Angeles (Kaylan had moved from New York as a child). The two sang in the school's a cappella choir, where Volman soon heard about Kaylan's instrumental surf group, the Nightriders (which also included choir members Al Nichol on lead guitar, Don Murray on drums and Chuck Portz on bass). Volman joined the group just before they became the Crossfires in 1963. After high school graduation, the Crossfires continued on while its members attended area colleges (picking up rhythm guitarist Jim Tucker along the way).

The group finally got its big break in 1965 after local disc jockey and club owner Reb Foster heard them. Foster liked the Crossfires so much, he became their manager and found the group a contract with White Whale Records. The sextet changed their name to the Tyrtles (an unveiled homage to the Byrds, soon amended to the correct spelling) and recorded a Bob Dylan cover as their first single. The song's fusion of folk with glittering rock & roll was also lifted from the Byrds, and "It Ain't Me Babe" reached the Top Ten in August 1965, just three months after "Mr. Tambourine Man" had hit number one.

Moving from the songwriting talents of Dylan to the new "king of protest," producer P.F. Sloan, the Turtles hit the Top 40 twice more during 1965-1966 with "Let Me Be" and "You Baby," after which Murray and Portz left (to be replaced by John Barbata and, for a short time, bassist/producer Chip Douglas). Though the Turtles had appeared to run out of steam by the beginning of 1967, the group stormed back with a song they'd heard in a batch of demos, a surefire hit written by Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon. "Happy Together" spent three weeks at number one on the American charts, and proved to be one of the biggest hits of the year. The Turtles' next three singles were written by Bonner-Gordon, and each hit the Top 20: the number three hit "She'd Rather Be with Me" (which eclipsed even "Happy Together" in terms of international success), plus "You Know What I Mean" and "She's My Girl." Chip Douglas, who had arranged the horns on "Happy Together," left the group to work with the Monkees, and was replaced by Jim Pons (formerly with the Leaves). Original member Jim Tucker left the group as well, after a tour of dingy pubs in England caused more than a bit of disillusionment with the group's lack of success.

Like so many other pop groups in the late '60s, the Turtles felt they had to stretch artistically to keep pace with their more critically respected rivals, and beginning with "You Know What I Mean," the Turtles' revolving-door cast of producers and arrangers made their sound progressively more psychedelic, though they were still much closer to the pop/rock mainstream than to the era's premier psychedelic groups. The group asserted their rights in late 1967, and self-produced the disappointing "Sound Asleep," which was the band's first single after "Happy Together" to miss the Top 40. White Whale Records demanded an outside hand be brought to the studio, so the Turtles compromised by going back to Chip Douglas. The result, "The Story of Rock and Roll," was shut out of the Top 40 as well, prompting the career-saving "Elenore" in September 1968, which hit number six (the best placing by a single actually written by the Turtles). The inevitable concept LP came in November 1968: The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands, on which the group attempted to sound like (and even dress up as) 11 distinct bands -- one for each song on the LP. It was an interesting concept, and a measured success, with "Elenore" to its credit as well as another number six hit, "You Showed Me" (originally written and recorded by the Byrds). Drummer John Seiter joined the Turtles after the recording of Battle of the Bands, replacing Barbata (who had left to work with Crosby, Stills & Nash).

After White Whale attempted to record Monkees-style, with the vocals of Kaylan and Volman added to a generic studio backing track, the duo rebelled and attempted to get back to the band aesthetic. Inspired by the Kinks' then-recent Village Green Preservation Society LP, the Turtles recruited frontman Ray Davies to serve as producer for their 1969 LP, Turtle Soup. Two singles from the album, "You Don't Have to Walk in the Rain" and "Love in the City," both failed to reach the Top 40. Kaylan and Volman formed their own label, Blimp Records, and signed a few acts, including folksinger Judee Sill, who wrote the Turtles' last recording, "Lady-O." More wrangles with White Whale, on top of the lack of chart success, had destroyed the Turtles by 1970, though. White Whale continued to raid the vaults during the year, releasing old singles, a second hits compilation, and an album of rarities (Wooden Head).

Before the end of 1970, though, Kaylan, Volman, and Pons had joined Frank Zappa's early-'70s edition of the Mothers of Invention. (The use of the Turtles' name or even their own names in a musical context was illegal according to an earlier contract, so Kaylan and Volman appeared as the Phlorescent Leech & Eddie.) Besides touring with Zappa, the trio appeared on four of his albums from 1970 to 1972: Chunga's Revenge, 200 Motels, Live at the Fillmore, and Just Another Band from L.A. After Zappa was injured in an on-stage altercation, though, the re-christened Flo & Eddie toured with several of the Mothers for awhile, and recorded five LPs for themselves between 1975 and 1981. The duo also did session work, composed music for children's' movies (The Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake) and broadcast their own radio show on L.A.'s KROQ and later New York's WXRK.

By 1984, the Turtles' name had reverted back to the group, and Volman and Kaylan began touring with a new lineup as the Turtles...Featuring Flo & Eddie. Volman and Kaylan also won back the rights to the group's master recordings and publishing, leading to numerous reissues of their catalog. Rhino Records returned the group's albums to print in the '80s, Sundazed brought out new editions in the '90s, and in 2016 Manifesto Records kicked off their Turtles reissue program with two ambitious collections. All The Singles was a two-disc set that collected all the group's seven-inches, including some unreleased sides, while The Complete Original Albums Collection brought together remastered versions of the Turtles' six LP's. ~ John Bush
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Save The Turtles: The Turtles Greatest Hits

1. Happy Together

2. It Ain't Me Babe

3. She'd Rather Be With Me

4. You Baby

5. Elenore

6. Let Me Be

7. She's My Girl

8. Outside Chance

9. You Showed Me

10. Can I Get To Know You Better

11. The Story Of Rock And Roll

12. Love In The City

13. Me About You

14. You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain

15. You Know What I Mean

16. Sound Asleep

17. Makin' My Mind Up

18. Grim Reaper Of Love

19. Guide For The Married Man

20. Chevrolet Camaro Commercial


Track List: Happy Together: The Very Best Of The Turtles

1. Happy Together

2. She'd Rather Be With Me

3. Let Me Be

4. You Know What I Mean

5. You Baby

6. Elenore

7. It Ain't Me Babe

8. She's My Girl

9. Eve Of Destruction

10. You Showed Me

11. Outside Chance

12. Can I Get To Know You Better

13. You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain

14. Grim Reaper Of Love


Track List: 20 Greatest Hits

1. It Ain't Me Babe

2. Let Me Be

3. Eve Of Destruction

4. You Baby

5. Grim Reaper Of Love

6. Can I Get To Know You Better

7. Outside Chance

8. Happy Together

9. She'd Rather Be With Me

10. Me About You

11. Guide For The Married Man

12. She's My Girl

13. You Know What I Mean

14. Sound Asleep

15. Elenore

16. You Showed Me

17. The Story Of Rock & Roll

18. You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain

19. Love In The City

20. Lady-O


Track List: Wooden Head

1. I Can't Stop

2. She'll Come Back

3. Get Away

4. Wrong From The Start

5. I Get Out Of Breath

6. We'll Meet Again

7. On A Summer's Day

8. Come Back

9. Say Girl

10. Tie Me Down

11. Wanderin' Kind

12. Ain't Gonna Party No More

13. Who Would Ever Think


Track List: Turtle Soup

1. Come Over

2. House On The Hill

3. She Always Leaves Me Laughing

4. How You Loved Me

5. Torn Between Temptations

6. Love In The City

7. Bachelor Mother

8. John And Julie

9. Hot Little Hands

10. Somewhere Friday Night

11. Dance This Dance

12. You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain

13. Chicken Little Was Right

14. Lady-O


Track List: The Battle of the Bands (Deluxe Version)

1. The Opening: The Battle of the Bands (Remastered)

2. The Last Thing I Remember (Remastered)

3. Elenore (Remastered)

4. Too Much Heartsick Feeling (Remastered)

5. Oh Daddy! (Remastered)

6. Buzz Saw (Remastered)

7. Surfer Dan (Remastered)

8. I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're the Royal Macadamia Nuts) (Remastered)

9. You Showed Me (Remastered)

10. Food (Remastered)

11. Chicken Little Was Right (Remastered)

12. The Closing: Earth Anthem (Remastered)

13. She's My Girl (Remastered)

14. Chicken Little Was Right (Single Version) (Remastered)

15. Sound Asleep (Remastered)

16. Umbassa the Dragon (Remastered)

17. The Story of Rock and Roll (Remastered)

18. Can't You Hear the Cows (Remastered)

19. The Last Thing I Remember (The First Thing I Knew)

20. The Owl (Remastered)

21. To See the Sun (Remastered)

22. Earth Anthem (Alternate Version) (Remastered)

23. Battle of the Bands Radio Spot (Remastered)


Track List: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands

1. The Battle Of The Bands

2. The Last Thing I Remember

3. Elenore

4. Too Much Heartsick Feeling

5. Oh, Daddy

6. Buzzsaw

7. Surfer Dan

8. I'm Chief Kamanawanalea (We're The Royal Macadamia Nuts)

9. You Showed Me

10. Food

11. Chicken Little Was Right

12. Earth Anthem

13. Sound Asleep

14. The Story Of Rock And Roll


Track List: Happy Together (Deluxe Version)

1. Makin' My Mind Up (Mono) (Remastered)

2. Guide for the Married Man (Mono) (Remastered)

3. Think I'll Run Away (Mono) (Remastered)

4. The Walking Song (Mono) (Remastered)

5. Me About You (Mono) (Remastered)

6. Happy Together (Mono) (Remastered)

7. She'd Rather Be with Me (Mono) (Remastered)

8. Too Young to Be One (Mono) (Remastered)

9. Person Without a Care (Mono) (Remastered)

10. Like the Seasons (Mono) (Remastered)

11. Rugs of Woods & Flowers (Mono) (Remastered)

12. Makin' My Mind Up (Remastered)

13. Guide for the Married Man (Remastered)

14. Think I'll Run Away (Remastered)

15. The Walking Song (Remastered)

16. Me About You (Remastered)

17. Happy Together (Remastered)

18. She'd Rather Be with Me (Remastered)

19. Too Young to Be One (Remastered)

20. Person Without a Care (Remastered)

21. Like the Seasons (Remastered)

22. Rugs of Woods & Flowers (Remastered)


Track List: Happy Together

1. Makin' My Mind Up

2. Guide For The Married Man

3. Think I'll Run Away

4. The Walking Song

5. Me About You

6. Happy Together

7. She'd Rather Be With Me

8. Too Young To Be One

9. Person Without A Care

10. Like The Seasons

11. Rugs Of Wood And Flowers

12. She's My Girl

13. You Know What I Mean

14. Is It Any Wonder


Track List: You Baby (Deluxe Version)

1. Flyin' High (Mono) (Remastered)

2. I Know That You'll Be There (Mono) (Remastered)

3. House of Pain (Mono) (Remastered)

4. Just a Room (Mono) (Remastered)

5. I Need Someone (Mono) (Remastered)

6. Let Me Be (Mono) (Remastered)

7. Down in Suburbia (Mono) (Remastered)

8. Give Love a Trial (Mono) (Remastered)

9. You Baby (Mono) (Remastered)

10. Pall Bearing, Ball Bearing World (Mono) (Remastered)

11. All My Problems (Mono) (Remastered)

12. Almost There (Mono) (Remastered)

13. Flyin' High (Remastered)

14. I Know That You'll Be There (Remastered)

15. House of Pain (Remastered)

16. Just a Room (Remastered)

17. I Need Someone (Remastered)

18. Let Me Be (Remastered)

19. Down in Suburbia (Remastered)

20. Give Love a Trial (Remastered)

21. You Baby (Remastered)

22. Pall Bearing, Ball Bearing World (Remastered)

23. All My Problems (Remastered)

24. Almost There (Remastered)


Track List: You Baby

1. Flyin' High

2. I Know That You'll Be There

3. House Of Pain

4. Just A Room

5. I Need Someone

6. Let Me Be

7. Down In Suburbia

8. Give Love A Trial

9. You Baby

10. Pall Bearing, Ball Bearing World

11. All My Problems

12. Almost There

13. Outside Chance

14. Can I Get To Know You Better


Track List: It Ain't Me Babe

1. Wanderin' Kind

2. It Was A Very Good Year

3. Your Man Said You Cried

4. Eve Of Destruction

5. Glitter And Gold

6. Let Me Be

7. Let The Cold Winds Blow

8. It Ain't Me Babe

9. A Walk In The Sun

10. Last Laugh

11. Love Minus Zero

12. Like A Rolling Stone

13. We'll Meet Again (Single Version)

14. Gas Money

15. Wanderin' Kind (Stereo)

16. It Was A Very Good Year (Stereo)

17. Your Maw Said You Cried (Stereo)

18. Eve Of Destruction (Stereo)

19. Glitter And Gold (Stereo)

20. Let Me Be (Stereo)

21. Let The Cold Wind Blow (Stereo)

22. It Ain't Me Babe (Stereo)

23. A Walk In The Sun (Stereo)

24. Last Laugh (Stereo)

25. Love Minus Zero (Stereo)

26. Like A Rolling Stone (Stereo)


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Which band member owns the Turtle Club in Seabrook,TX?
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured (but not killed) in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When you are done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters.
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Don't read this you will be hugged and kissed by the love of your life on the nearest Friday in your life. Now you've started to read this . but don't stop . this is freaky. But if you ingnore this you will have bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 145 min. Then when you are done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen. This actually works!
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a.erickson26 9
If a turtle had no shall would it be naked or homeless
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First of the best of all of my favorite thing about it
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Slow ? . .
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Now I get country. Not what I was looking 4. I;m new at this, however, I like the Turtles and The Kinks
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One of the best times in my years
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Good blowout tunes.
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Groovy group of the 60's we all were happy together a great time to be alive
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they may be beatles wannabes, but i want to be in a group like the yardbirds or led zeppelin.
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They are all Beatles Wannabes! That's what makes it all so great!
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They sound like Beetle Wannabes.THE TURTLES!!!SO STUPID ! !!!!!!!!!!!!
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sandymcleod1 7 5
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your all crazy just relax in the moment and move on
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
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This is true and pure music and vibes
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Lived the best lifetime of music
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Good vibes......m m m m m m m
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Great time for music and for this 60 year old man. #bittersweet
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Hate you
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Hate you
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Will they ever play the turtles again or is this lawsuit thing going to prevent it forever?
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Saw Turtles in Palm Desert CA with my grandkids a few years back. Young Girl defined life for us married at 16 and 18 in 1968.
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Let's have a bamp bampContest
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Hey Curtis hold this
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All of my memories!
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I remember
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Post this
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More like the turtle necks
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Why doesn't Turtles radio play the Turtles anymore?
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Greedy. Funny how they sued De La Soul, but one of their most known hits is a cover song.
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You know what I mean
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One of my favorite bands
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Log fire = rain
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Happy together
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still like to hear all those Turtles songs, I still have the original album It ain't me babe
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I saw them on a talk show and they said they were singing the words as they wrote them. They got to the part that is the etc... after a while, they said they just liked they kept it :)
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Absolutely by far my favorite song by them! And one of my favorite bands from the 60's!
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john.l.thoma s
Checkout turtle soup
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I'm so that I love this song?
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THe new word for Disbaled is now = Differntly Abled
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so true happy tunes i remember going to see good times with sony and cher good movie i was young
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Flo and Eddie should be linked under Similar Artists
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