1965 The Turtles – Let Me Be
Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, and three other high school friends in Los Angeles formed The Crossfires in 1963. After a few singles failed to catch any fire at all, the group signed with White Whale Records as a folk-rock group and changed their name to The Tyrtles. The deliberate misspelling went by the wayside, and the group made it into the top ten on the Hot 100 in 1965 with their cover of the Bob Dylan song It Ain’t Me Babe.
P. F. Sloan had written the song Eve Of Destruction and it was offered to the Turtles. While they were looking to record a protest song, Howard felt that the record made a statement that would be career-ending. Barry McGuire recorded that song (with the help of the members of the Grass Roots playing backup music) and the single hit the top of the charts. He proved Howard’s opinion was correct by never reaching the top forty again.
Instead of ending their careers, the Turtles recorded a second song written by Sloan, Let Me Be. The milder protest song got the group back on the top forty without burning down their future. The single peaked at #29 on the Hot 100 in the fall of 1965.
The Vogues recorded another song by P. F. Sloan & Steve Barri in 1965, but failed to release the song until 1996. You Baby was a non-protest song the Turtles released in 1966. The single took them up to #20 on the Hot 100. The group released five more singles that year, none of which charted any higher than #81 in the US.
The Turtles started off 1967 with the release of the #1 single Happy Together, and their career took off. In 1970, the group finally released a single version of Eve Of Destruction that they had recorded back in 1965. As you might expect, the record only reached #100 on the Hot 100 before fading away, and their career was seemingly over. Well, at least their charting days were over, and the band members mostly went their separate ways.
Howard and Mark stayed together and recorded and toured as Flo and Eddie. In 1983, the duo regained the rights to use of the name “The Turtles” and began touring as The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie. Their Happy Together tours, which primarily featured singers and bands from the sixties, continued through at least 2019.
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