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Artist: The Turtles
Album: Happy Together (Sundazed Records)
The lyrics “I Can’t See Me Lovin’ Nobody But You” are featured in the song Happy Together as prominently, if not more so, than the lyrics of the title, so many people mistake this for the name of the song.
Today, we might consider this song sappy, and even lame. Since it is about unrequited love and any such song is now associated with stalking, it may also be considered creepy. What it is is a simple and sappy, yes, but very catchy and well-known love song by the Turtles, Happy Together.
Happy Together has been used on too many movie soundtracks and commercials to count and covered at least 75 times by artists such as Donny Osmond, Weezer, and Frank Zappa.
Other cover versions include:
- The Lettermen (1967)
- Percy Faith and His Orchestra (1967)
- The Ventures (1967 instrumental)
- Mel Torme (1969)
- Petula Clark (1969)
- Charlie Byrd (1969)
- Steve & Eydie (1969)
- Ray Coniff (1971)
- Dawn featuring Tony Orlando (1972)
- T.G. Sheppard (1979)
- Captain & Tennille (1980)
- The Nylons (1987)
- Jason Donovan (1991)
- Buck Wild (1996)
- Simple Plan (2003 Freaky Friday soundtrack)
- Filter (2009)
It even had a 1997 movie named after it. The original was a number one hit in March of 1967, bumping Penny Lane by the Beatles out of the top spot.
Other movies (and TV) featuring Happy Together include:
- Ernest Goes To Camp
- Life Or Something Like It
- Freaky Friday
- That 70’s Show
Commercials using Happy Together include:
- Burger King
- Florida Orange Juice
- The NFL
- Red Lobster
- Sony Playstation
The core membership of the Turtles was Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, two high school buddies who had sung together in a high school choir. The Turtles had been the Crossfires before almost calling it quits before being heard by record distributors who signed the to the label, White Whale, and suggested they change their name. The name “The Tyrtles” with a spelling like “the Byrds” was suggested by Rebel Foster, a KRLA disc jockey and owner of the Revelaire in Redondo Beach, where the Crossfires had been the house band. Foster had been instrumental in getting the band heard by the record execs, in the first place. The band used the name but decided to stick with the original spelling.
The band’s first hit was a Bob Dylan cover, It Ain’t Me Babe, satisfying the label’s desire for a folk-rock group. By the time Happy Together hit the charts, they had already had six hits.
Happy Together was not written by the Turtles. The song was written by Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, who had been in a band called the Magicians. The writers had approached many artists with the song and had been refused by all of them. When the time the Turtles heard the tune, the writers had put together a great demo with professional studio musicians, which, resulting in a recording that was, in itself, worthy of a hit recorded. The Turtles liked the song anyway and began playing it in live shows before recording it in 1967. It is speculated that they simply used the original demo track and added horns.
Happy Together has a swing feel, and starts in E minor before changing to E major, one of the key features since it changed the emotional feel of the tune from something melancholy or sad to a bit more happy and hopeful. Any hope is dashed, however, by a single line in the last chorus, ‘So how is the weather?’ suggesting that the singer knows that there will never be anything between him and his love and he has resorted to small talk to disguise his heartbreak.
The Turtle’s next big hit, She’d Rather Be With Me, peaking at number three, was also written by Bonner and Gordon, who also wrote the Turtles songs She’s My Girl and You Know What I Mean.
Among the many other songs written by the team, including songs by Lovin Spoonful, Righteous Brothers, Bobby Darin, and Barbara Streisand is the Three Dog Night hit Celebrate (aka Celebrity Hall).
The Turtles disbanded in 1970, after many personnel changes, amid lawsuits between band members and the White Whale label leadership.
It is often claimed that The Turtles, taking advantage of the British Invasion, pretended to be British and tried to sound like the Beatles. They were probably just as influenced, if not more, by another British group, The Zombies.
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