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We Were Happy Then: The Turtles by Mike Nessing

For as many hits The Turtles had, they probably have just as many misses that should’ve been hits and hits that should have been bigger ones. “Can I Get To Know You Better”, “Outside Chance”, “Sound Asleep”, “House On The Hill”, “You Don’t have To Walk In The Rain” , “Me About You” and “Love In The City” are all terrific tunes that collectively deserved better fates.
Even without these tunes becoming hits, The Turtles left quite a legacy. “Happy Together” knocked “Penny Lane” off the top of the US charts in 1967. Songs like “She’d Rather Be With Me” , You Showed Me” , She’s My Girl” and “Elenore” will live forever on oldies stations. Lead vocalists Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan went on to sing harmony on hits for other artists including T Rex’s “Bang A Gong”and Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart”. They also sang on countless album tracks for artists like Alice Cooper, Psychedelic Furs, Ramones, Steely Dan, and of course Frank Zappa’s Mothers.

It makes one wonder though how a band that produced so much consistent quality across the board would wind up with such a spotty chart history, especially upon realization of how great those minor hits and near misses were. Any compilation by these guys is more than worth picking up, but if full length albums are your thing you cant go wrong with either “Battle Of The Bands” or the Ray Davies produced, “Turtle Soup”.

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