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Happy Together

The Turtles

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Album Review

The Turtles' third original album (and their highest charting, peaking at number 25) was also their most rewarding, filled with mostly first-rate songs beautifully executed. The hits singles "Happy Together" and "She'd Rather Be with Me" (both authored by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon of the East Coast band the Magicians) helped propel the LP's sales, but there was a cornucopia of superb music surrounding them. Opening with "Makin' My Mind Up," driven by horns and a jangly folk-rock guitar, the album pulls the listener through the goofy Hollywood-spawned pop of "Guide for the Married Man" (co-written by John Williams, and a third single off the LP, but not a hit) and the gentle Kaylan/Volman-composed "Think I'll Run Away," one of the two prettiest tunes on this record. And that's just the first eight minutes — the weirdly trippy "Walking Song" and the Bonner/Gordon "Me About You" (the latter also a great showcase for Chip Douglas' bass) also awaited listeners headed for "Happy Together." Side two is no less impressive, offering a piece of psychedelic pop authored by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and the hauntingly beautiful "Like the Seasons," the B-side to "Happy Together," composed by a young Warren Zevon. The band saves its boldest satirical impulses for the finale, "Rugs of Woods and Flowers." Its easy, unforced, quietly clever take on psychedelic pop makes this one of the more deceptively beguiling records of its era — as well as the best of the Turtles' original albums. And ironically, Happy Together was also a better showcase for Bonner and Gordon's music than their own band, the Magicians, ever gave them.

Biography

Formed: 1963 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Though many remember only their 1967 hit, "Happy Together," the Turtles were one of the more enjoyable American pop groups of the '60s, moving from folk-rock inspired by the Byrds to a sparkling fusion of Zombies-inspired chamber pop and straight-ahead, good-time pop reminiscent of the Lovin' Spoonful, the whole infused with beautiful vocal harmonies courtesy of dual frontmen Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. Though they hit number one in 1967 with the infectious "Happy Together," the Turtles scored...
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