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 that featured their only number one single also entitled “Happy Together.” The Turtles would only release two more studio album entitled The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands in 1968 and Turtle Soup in 1969 before breaking up. There would be a few more albums released that featured outtakes, b sides, and unreleased songs that would be issued after the band broke up.
Two of the bands 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 go on to 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 takes a look a some of our favorite Turtles songs. We hope that 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 up 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 with our Top 10 Turtles songs list, we turn to the great album Turtle Soup. The album was released in 1969. It 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 that was released as the first single from the record. Nonetheless, its an awesome song that deserved to rank higher than 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 The song was written by Howard Kaylan. 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 was a band that released albums full of great songs and were not just a hits band. After the band disbanded, there was still a lot of materiel left over that never even made it onto their studio albums. These guys were the real deal. Over time the band has accumulated a cult following 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 the song was written by John Williams. The same John Williams who has enjoyed a Hall of Fame career as one of the greatest film composers of all time .
# 5 – She’s My Girl
While the first half of this Top 10 Turtles songs list focused on some of the 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 make it onto multiple Turtles compilation and greatest hits LPs and CDs.
# 4 – She’d Rather Be With Me
Everyone of these next 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 the number three position on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit number one in Canada and South Africa as well as 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 that defined a song so highly addicting. I could listen to this one every day and it will still bring me back to the 1960s hearing this one on the radio. 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 very difficult especially between the top two. The Turtles classic song “Elenore,” was released in 1968. It was placed on the brilliant album The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands. What was so interesting about the success of the song 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 just couldn’t control their own immeasurable talents.
# 1 – Happy Together
Well it goes without saying or having to relay on any statistics that the Turtles Happy Together was the band 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 on song the band would attain on the US Billboard Hot 100 which is really 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.