Vintage Video: The Turtles (1968)

41253CDGSTL._SL160_At first listen, The Turtles seemed to be just another late 60s upbeat pop-rock harmony band. On closer inspection, however, they were more than that. Led by sarcastic frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman and singing tongue-in-cheek lyrics with beautiful harmonies, the Turtles vamped and camped their way to the top of the AM charts for an all-too-brief time in the late 60s. And their performance of “Elenore” on NBC’s Kraft Music Hall show in September 1968 (click here for the video) is ultimate Turtles: Kaylan in a lounge-style tuxedo; overgrown (in hair and stature) Volman overacting on back-up vocals; and the infectious sound and simple-minded lyrics of “Elenore” that Kaylan actually penned as a protest to the very notion of AM pop hits. Unfortunately, the Turtles were gone by 1970. Luckily for us, Kaylan and Volman joined Frank Zappa’s irreverent Mothers Of Invention, then recorded five FM radio-friendly albums in the late 70s before returning to the oldies circuit in the 80s. They’re still touring as The Turtles, and I recommend you see them (as I did last summer). They make for a great show. (“Elenore” appears on the excellent concept album, The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands, which is on Amazon and iTunes. A Turtles playlist is in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.)

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  1. #1 by tgoodloe on July 10, 2010 - 12:01 pm

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