The Turtles were a counterweight to the late-60's 'heaviness' of Jimi Hendrix, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane. "Happy Together," "Elenore" and "She'd Rather Be With Me" were cheery pop songs of the first order. That got The Turtles generally dismissed by critics though Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman had impressive post-Turtles careers.
Kaylan and Volman were in a SoCal Surf-Rock group before switching to Folk Rock. Like numerous bands, The Turtles released a cover of a Bob Dylan song. Their version of "It Ain't Me Babe" was a Top 10 hit in '65.
Subsequent singles failed and band members came and went. A notable addition was bassist Chip Douglas.
Co-written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, and arranged by Douglas, "Happy Together" replaced The Beatles' "Penny Lane" at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of '67.
Ironically, the song had been rejected by several performers before being taken up by The Turtles. Despite Douglas leaving the group to work with The Monkees, The Turtles returned to the charts with "She'd Rather Be With Me," which peaked at #3. Lesser hits, "You Know What I Mean" and "She's My Girl" also rolled out.
'68 got off to a rough start when two singles stiffed. However, the return of Douglas, as the group's producer, yielded "The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands" (a concept album where each song had a unique style as though recorded by different bands) which contained the Top 10 hits "Elenore" and "You Showed Me" (written by The Byrds Gene Clark and Jim McGuinn in '64).
Though produced by the Kinks Ray Davies, '69 set "Turtle Soup" failed to have much impact and neither did their next album "Wooden Head." Add to that, financial difficulties and issues with their label, White Whale (who wanted the group to take a hard turn toward silly pop songs). It all conspired to spell the end of The Turtles.
In what was seen as one of the oddest moves in the music business, Kaylan, Volman and bassist Jim Pons joined Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention. Kaylan and Volman billed themselves as "The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie" (under the White Whale contract they weren't allowed to even use their own names). That was eventually shortened to Flo & Eddie.
Aside from their work with Zappa, which included an appearance in the film 200 Motels, Flo & Eddie sang backing vocals for T-Rex, Alice Cooper and Bruce Springsteen ("Hungry Heart"). They also recorded half-dozen albums, mostly in the '70s, on their own.
1965 It Ain't Me Babe
1966 You Baby
1967 Happy Together
1968 The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands
1969 Turtle Soup
1970 Wooden Head
1986 Chalon Road
1986 Shell Shock