Profile: The Turtles

The Turtles
The Turtles. source:


1965 (Westchester, Los Angeles, CA)


Pop, Pop-rock, Folk-rock, Sunshine pop, Psychedelia

Original Members:

Howard "Eddie" Kaylan (b. Howard Kaplan, June 22, 1947, New York, NY): lead vocals
Mark "Flo" Volman (b. April 19, 1947, Los Angeles, CA): lead vocals
Al Nichol (b. March 31, 1946, Winston-Salem, NC): lead guitar
Jim Tucker (b. October 17, 1946, Los Angeles, CA): rhythm guitar
Chuck Portz (b.

March 28, 1945, Santa Monica, CA): bass
Don Murray (b. November 8, 1945, Glendale, CA): drums

Contributions to music:

  • "Flo and Eddie" (Volman and Kaylan) are considered two of Sixties pop's most distinctive vocalists
  • Crucial in the development of the Los Angeles pop scene
  • Considered one of the finest folk-rock groups in their earliest incarnation
  • Flo and Eddie went on to directly and indirectly influence the development of Frank Zappa, T. Rex, and the Monkees
  • An early outlet for songwriters such as Harry Nilsson and Warren Zevon
  • One of the earliest and best progenitors of "Sunshine Pop"

Early years:

The center of the Turtles has always been Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, who met in their high school choir back in 1963 and soon formed the surf group The Crossfires. After the British Invasion hit the following year, however, the pair ditched their saxophones for vocal rock -- specifically, the burgeoning L.A.

folk-rock scene, epitomized by the Byrds. Soon, the group had renamed itself the Tyrtles in tribute and scored their own pop hit with a Dylan cover -- 1965's "It Ain't Me Babe." The protest song "Let Me Be" followed, but the group soon realized folk was going electric for good.


A change in musical direction and spelling led to the group (still anchored around Flo and Eddie but now with new backups) scoring its next big series of hits with four songs written by the team of Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon: "Happy Together," "She'd Rather Be With Me," "You Know What I Mean" and "She's My Girl." Dabbling in psychedelia, and mindful that audiences were beginning to turn against acts that weren't self-contained, the Volman/Kaylan duo began writing their own songs, scoring a hit with "Elenore," while two former Byrds showed their appreciation by writing another hit for the group, "You Showed Me."

Later years:

The group had splintered by 1970, due to dissatisfaction with their label, forever pushing them in a pop direction; Volman and Kaylan went on to join Frank Zappa's decidedly non-poppish Mothers of Invention, becoming Flo and Eddie to avoid legal action. At the same time, they contributed the distinctive operatic backing vocals to most of the hit recordings done by glam legend Marc Bolan (as T. Rex). Eventually the pair went duo with their own prog-rock albums in the late Seventies; the pair acquired the rights to the Turtles name in 1984 and have been touring under that name, off and on, ever since.

Other facts:

  • Other Turtles members have included: John Barbata (drums), Chip Douglas (bass), Jim Pons (bass), John Seiter (drums)
  • "Elenore" was written as a response to their label's desire for "another 'Happy Together'"
  • Flo and Eddie scored the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake TV series in the Eighties
  • Bassist/producer Chip Douglas, on board for "Happy Together," soon left to produce and play for the Monkees
  • Kaylan and Volman became the first artists to sue over sampling when rap group De La Soul sampled "You Showed Me" for their 1990 song "Transmitting Live From Mars"
  • The first group to have its back catalogue bought by Rhino


    • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (2007)

    Recorded work:

    #1 hits:

    • "Happy Together" (1967)
    Top 10 hits:
    • "It Ain't Me Babe" (1965)
    • "She'd Rather Be With Me" (1967)
    • "Elenore" (1968)
    • "You Showed Me" (1969)
    Top 10 albums:
    • The Turtles! Golden Hits (1968)
    Other notable recordings: "Let Me Be," "Can I Get To Know You Better," "Grim Reaper Of Love," "You Baby," "She's My Girl," "You Know What I Mean," "Sound Asleep," "The Story Of Rock And Roll," "Lady-O," "Love In The City," "You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain," "Almost There," "Wanderin' Kind," "Your Maw Said You Cried," "Glitter And Gold ," "It Was A Very Good Year," "Let the Cold Winds Blow" "Flyin' High," "I Know That You'll Be There," "Just A Room," "She'll Come Back," "Tie Me Down," "I Can't Stop," "I Get Out Of Breath," "So Goes Love," "Is It Any Wonder?," "Like The Seasons," "We'll Meet Again," "Outside Chance," "Makin' My Mind Up," "Too Young To Be One," "Me About You," "A Guide For The Married Man," "Cat In The Window," "The Last Thing I Remember (The First Thing I Knew)," "The Battle Of The Bands," "Surfer Dan," "Earth Anthem," "Somewhere Friday Night," "Marmendy Mill," "How You Loved Me," "House On The Hill," "There You Sit Lonely," "Goodbye Surprise," "We Ain't Gonna Party No More"
    Covered by: Weezer, The Ventures, Jason Donovan, The Mamas & The Papas, Simple Plan, Leningrad Cowboys, The Lightning Seeds, Frank Zappa
    Appears in the movies: Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan: "200 Motels" (1971), "Dirty Duck" (1974) Mark Volman: "Loose Shoes" (1980) Howard Kaylan: "Get Crazy" (1983), "Riding The Bullet" (2004)