The Turtles are a veteran folk rock/sunshine pop band that became one of the top acts of the late 1960s. Originally a surf rock group known as The Crossfires, The Turtles formed in 1965 in Los Angeles and signed that year with White Whale Records with the help of KRLA DJ Reb Foster. The original lineup consisted of fellow high school students Al Nichol (guitar), Chuck Portz (bass), Jim Tucker (guitar), drummer Don Murray (November 8, 1945 - March 22, 1996), and lead singers Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, with some personnel changes. Murray and Portz both left the band in 1966 and were replaced by drummer Joel Larson and bassist Chip Douglas who also served as an arranger for some of the band's hits. Douglas and Larson were later replaced by bassist Jim Pons and drummer John Barbata. Tucker quit the band in 1967, and drummer Ran Whitehead served for a time that year. Drummer John Seiter later came on board in 1969.
The Turtles debuted in 1965 on the Pop/Rock charts with their cover of the Bob Dylan-penned "It Ain't Me Babe," which became a Top 10 hit and the title track to the band's first album. This smash was followed by several hits that included the P.F. Sloan-penned "Let Me Be" (1965) and "You Baby" (1966), a Top 20 hit. The Turtles also had a minor hit in 1966 with the evocative "Grim Reaper Of Love," a dark psychedelic raga rock gem co-written by Portz and Nichol. The band's fame took off in 1967 with "Happy Together," an era-defining sunshine pop classic which topped the charts and became The Turtles' biggest hit. This smash became the first of several Alan Gordon/Garry Bonner-penned hits that also included "She'd Rather Be With Me" (1967), "You Know What I Mean" (1967), "She's My Girl" (1967), and "Me About You" (1970), the band's final charting song. The Turtles' long string of hits also included "Sound Asleep" (1968), "The Story Of Rock And Roll" (1968), the rollicking "Elenore" (1968), and the elegiac "You Showed Me" (1969).
After The Turtles disbanded in 1970, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman joined the Mothers of Invention as The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie and also recorded and performed as a comedic vocal duo known as Flo & Eddie. In 1983, after many court battles, Kaylan and Volman legally regained the use of The Turtles name and began touring as The Turtles Featuring Flo & Eddie, with a new lineup. The band has continued to perform and tour actively to the present day.
- For more info about The Turtles and the band's touring schedule, visit theturtles.com.
- Thisdayinrock.com remembers The Turtles' original drummer Don Murray.
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- Elenore 1968
- Happy Together 1967
(This song topped the charts and later also became a hit for Dawn (1972, as a medley), the Captain & Tennille (1980), and the Nylons (1987).)
- It Ain't Me Babe 1965
(This song was previously a hit for Johnny Cash (1964).)
- Let Me Be 1965
- She'd Rather Be With Me 1967
- She's My Girl 1967
- You Baby 1966
- You Know What I Mean 1967
- You Showed Me 1969
(This song later also became a hit for Salt-N-Pepa (1992).)
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