The Turtles is celebrating its 50th anniversary on August 19th with a pair of definitive releases. The band’s label FloEdCo, in association with Manifesto Records, has encompassed, for the first time, the entire band’s recorded catalog from 1965 to 1970.
The Complete Original Albums Collection is a six CD box set of the six albums that the Turtles released between 1965 to 1970, plus a wealth of rare bonus material. Each of the band’s first three albums — It Ain’t Me Babe, You Baby and Happy Together — is presented in its original mono and stereo mixes, while each the remaining three — The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands, Turtle Soup and Wooden Head — provide a generous assortment of rare bonus tracks, including some previously unreleased material.
The two CD All The Singles collects the A and B sides of every original 1965-1970 Turtles 45, with the tracks presented in the same mono or stereo mixes that were heard on the original singles. All The Singles also features several tracks that were prepared for singles release but not issued at the time.
Both sets have been meticulously researched and prepared from the original master tapes by renowned engineer Bill Inglot, and both contain detailed liner notes by noted writer and archivist Andrew Sandoval. The resulting packages offer a unique insight into one of rock’s most misunderstood bands.
Originally released on the small White Whale label, the Turtles’ original albums have remained stubbornly out of print for many years, leaving fans with various greatest-hits collections that only scratched the surface of the band’s deep and rewarding catalog.
During their original 1965-1970 run, the Turtles led a musical double life, scoring a lengthy run of unforgettable pop hits — such as “Happy Together,” “Elenore,” “You Baby” and “She’d Rather Be With Me” — while making albums that were among the era’s most distinctive, inventive and gently subversive. With co-frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman providing heavenly harmonies, infectious sonic craft and effervescent humor, the Turtles were a ubiquitous presence on Top 40 radio for much of the ’60s, while earning their counterculture credentials with such adventurous LPs as the Ray Davies-produced Turtle Soup and the wildly eclectic The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands, on which they impersonated a different fictional act on each track.
“We were thought of as a hit-making machine, but buried in there was a very thought-provoking group,” Mark Volman notes. “We really cared about what was going on … We were never really afforded the credibility of bands like the Byrds.”
The Turtles, Volman points out, were “making records that made it to the radio, but were still challenging and adventurous records. Experimental, but at the same time full of commerciality. The Turtles were really walking on a fine edge. We were only two years out of high school and we were making some pretty challenging music.”
After the Turtles disbanded at the end of the decade, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman maintained their partnership, serving a five-album stint as members of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention before releasing several albums as Flo and Eddie. They also had an extended run as FM rock DJs, provided voices for animated films and became in-demand studio singers, lending their trademark harmonies to a wide range of acts from T. Rex and Alice Cooper to Bruce Springsteen and the Ramones. Today, the pair continues to carry the Turtles’ legacy forward, leading the band’s present-day incarnation on their wildly successful annual Happy Together tours. This year’s tour launches on June 3rd in Biloxi, Mississippi and continues through September.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.