Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Summer of Love: The Turtles
They got their name when they signed on to White Whale Records. Inspired by the name of The Byrds, they attempted a similar cleverness of misspelling in calling themselves "The Tyrtles." It didn't quite have the same magic though, and the conventional spelling won out. I remember them doing this song live on television. I think it was NBC's Hulabaloo. This might even have been the performance. By early 1967, when this was first shown, the influence of London's fashionable Carnaby Street made its mark on the garment trade. Besides women going for "Victorian" style -- ruffled miniskirts with fishnet stockings, go figure -- men would go for the "Edwardian" look, with the high-buttoned double-breasted jackets. This was just before things went totally flower-power on everybody.
But enough about their clothes. You'd think I'd wanna talk about the music, wouldn't you?
It was just as the cutting edge of pop was getting into serious subject matter, like love and peace and war and what-not. Along come these zany fellows from (where else?) suburban Los Angeles. The two most prominent members of the band were the founders, lead singer Howard Kaylan and trumpeter-vocalist Mark Volman. Eventually, the band left the White Whale label, rather than go along with attempts at an overly packaged image (known at the time as "selling out"). In the years that followed, the band's popularity waned, but because the founding duo were caught up in legal hassles concerning the band -- probably from former members claiming leftover pieces of the action, but I'd have to check on this -- they were barred from using their own names commercially. Maybe they weren't always so "happy together" after all. Anyway, by the seventies -- having already done a stint with... Frank Zappa??? -- the two were known as "Flo and Eddie." (Volman was Flo, and Kaylan was Eddie.) Don't ask me why.
By 1985, they got the Turtles name back, and the two of them still perform at comeback performances as "The Turtles Featuring Flo and Eddie."
So now you know "the rest of the story." What a wacky bunch of guys, eh?