Former Turtle, then-Turtle producer, Chip Douglas was introducing songwriter Harry Nilsson to everyone he knew back in 1967/68. While producing The Monkees’ Headquarters, he brought in Nilsson to play them some of his songs (captured for posterity, HERE) and the Monkees snapped-up “Cuddly Toy” immediately, and even took a stab at Nilsson’s “The Story Of Rock And Roll.” When Douglas took the reigns of his former band’s 4th album, the comically conceptual, The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands, Nilsson was there, too. Playing on the sessions and offering the Douglas/Nilsson co-written title track (the album’s concept, as it were) and the 45rpm bonus, “The Story Of Rock And Roll.” After the success of “Happy Together,” The Turtles thought they could do whatever they damn well pleased, so they put together this cheeky mash-up of the history of modern pop (up ’til 1968, anyway), as they donned costumes and monikers for these loving smack-downs of mindless surf rock (The Crossfires), country music (Quad City Ramblers) and lite psychedelia (The Atomic Enchilada). Mixed in with the irreverent look at the music of the music business (and their own past) were two more of the glorious singles that have helped to keep The Turtles’ memory valid… the Top 40 hit, “Eleanor,” and the beautifully arranged McGuinn/Clark composition, “You Showed Me.” This album, more than anything they did early on, is a blueprint for what Mark Volman & Howard Kaylan – via Flo and Eddie – would later become; unapologetic gagsters with enough chops to pull off moments of pop excellence when the inspiration hit them. Don’t miss the mix of Turtles & Flo & Eddie in the archives, HERE – including Flo & Eddie, Live At The Roxy 1976, Gumby, Solid Zinc & It Ain’t Me Babe. This …Battle Of The Bands is the Sundazed version. Get it at Amazon, HERE.
The Battle Of The Bands (2:15)
The Last Thing I Remember (2:56)
Too Much Heartsick Feeling (2:44)
Oh, Daddy (2:46)
Surfer Dan (2:43)
I’m Chief Kamanawanalea (We’re The Royal Macadamia Nuts) (1:35)
You Showed Me (3:16)
Chicken Little Was Right (2:48)
Earth Anthem (3:54)
Sound Asleep (2:29) – Bonus Track
The Story Of Rock And Roll (2:38) – Bonus Track
While researching, I came across the first half of a cool documentary, Happy Together – The History Of The Turtles. Maybe the second half will show up, but even if it doesn’t, this half hour-long blast of lost footage, interviews and classic appearances is a fun ride. Mark & Howie’s tale of meeting Dylan, over 18 minutes in, is a hoot.