Top 10 Songs From The Turtles

The Turtles Songs

Photo: White Whale Records / Public domain via Creative Commons

Our Top 10 Songs from The Turtles looks back at ten Turtles songs that define both their commercial success and deep artistic talents. The band released their first album in 1965, entitled It Ain’t Me, Babe. The Turtles followed up that album with the record You Baby. The following year, they would release one of the most popular albums of the 1960s with their grand Happy Together album, which featured their only number-one single, “Happy Together.”

The Turtles would only release two more studio albums entitled The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands in 1968 and Turtle Soup in 1969 before breaking up. A few more albums would be released that featured outtakes, b sides, and unreleased songs that would be issued after the band broke up.

Two of the band’s members, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, would join Frank Zappa’s band The Mothers of Invention in 1970 under the names Phlorescent Leech & Eddie. Over the years, the two would appear on ten Frank Zappa releases. They would have a very successful career together, releasing a long series of albums under the names Flo and Eddie. Howard and Mark would also become in-demand musicians for their superior vocal harmonies, recording background vocal parts for artists ranging from Alice Cooper to Bruce Springsteen.

Our Top 10 Songs from the Turtles list looks at some of our favorite Turtles songs. We hope it serves as a great starting point for checking out the music released on the band’s five splendid rock and roll records from the 1960s.

# 10 – Let Me Be

We open our Top 10 Turtles Songs list with a track from the band’s debut album. The great song “Let Me Be” was released on the album It Ain’t Me, Babe. The album was released in 1965. The song “Let Me Be” was released as the follow-up single to their top 10 hit “It Ain’t Me Babe,” which was a unique version of the classic Bob Dylan song. While “Let Me Be” was not as successful commercially as the Bob Dylan hit, we always kind of liked “Let Me Be” better.

# 9 -You Don’t Have To Walk In The Rain

Continuing our Top 10 Turtles songs list, we turn to the great album Turtle Soup. The album was released in 1969. It’s the last Turtles album to make the Billboard Top 200 album charts. Interestingly, the album was produced by The Kinks Ray Davies. The song “You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain” was the album’s closing track. It was an interesting placement on the album for a song released as the first single from the record. Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic song that deserved to rank above just number fifty-one on the Billboard Hot 100. This is a great one.

# 8 – Wanderin’ Kind

“Wanderin’ Kind” may not be one of the most popular songs from the Turtles on this list, but that does not mean it’s not a brilliant piece of music. “Wanderin’ Kind” was the opening track on the band’s debut album, It Ain’t Me, Babe. Howard Kaylan wrote the song. The lineup on the album consisted of Howard Kaylan on vocals and keyboards, Mark Volman on vocals and guitars, Al Nichol on bass and just about everything else, and Don Murray on drums.

# 7 – Grim Reaper of Love

“Grim Reaper of Love” is also one of the lesser-known songs on this list. While the Turtles celebrated many hits, it’s important to note that this band released albums full of great songs and was not just a hits band. After the band disbanded, there was still a lot of material that never even made it onto their studio albums. These guys were the real deal. Over time, the band has accumulated a cult following and is obsessed with their material, especially the deep album tracks.

# 6 – Guide for the Married Man

The Turtles’ song “Guide For The Married Man” was another great album track that appeared on their very successful album Happy Together and also served as the title track to the motion picture A Guide For The Married Man. What may surprise many people is that John Williams wrote the song. The same John Williams has enjoyed a Hall of Fame career as one of the greatest film composers ever.

# 5 – She’s My Girl

While the first half of this Top 10 Turtles songs list focused on some lesser-known Turtles songs, the second half presents all the biggies. We start with the classic tune “She’s My Girl.” The song was released as a stand-alone single in 1967. It would eventually be placed on many Turtles compilations and greatest hits LPs and CDs.

# 4 – She’d Rather Be With Me

Every one of these following four Turtles songs feels like my favorite. I bet you feel the same way, too. The song “She’d Rather Be With Me” was released on the album Happy Together. It was also the follow-up single to “Happy Together.” The song came close to matching the success of “Happy Together,” as it peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit number one in Canada and South Africa and number one on the U.S. Record World charts.

# 3 – You Showed Me

This was just one of the songs that had this slow, mysterious groove with incredibly warm vocals that defined a song so highly addicting. I could listen to this one every day, and hearing it on the radio will still bring me back to the 1960s. It’s simply a song to die for.

# 2 – Elenore

Oh boy, was it tough choosing between these final songs for the top spot on our list? It became tough, especially between the top two. The Turtles’ classic song, “Elenore,” was released in 1968. It was on the brilliant album The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands. What was so interesting about the song’s success was that it was never intended to be written as a hit but rather as a spoof of their previous success writing hit singles. I guess they couldn’t control their immeasurable talents.

# 1 – Happy Together

Well, it goes without saying or having to rely on any statistics that the Turtles’ “Happy Together” was the band’s most successful song of their career. The song hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. It would be the only number one song the band would attain on the US Billboard Hot 100, which is the gold standard for judging commercial success. However, the song became far more than just a symbol of success for the band. It would become one of the most loved songs of the 1960s.

Top 10 Songs From The Turtles article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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