Saturday, March 25, 2017

Today in Music (1967): The Turtles “Happy Together” hit #1

Happy Together

The Turtles

Writer(s): Gary Bonner, Alan Gordon (see lyrics here)

Released: January 1967

First Charted: Rebruary 3, 1967

Peak: 13 BB, 12 CB, 13 GR, 12 HR, 1 CL, 12 UK, 2 CN, 25 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 5.0 radio, 87.89 video, 410.99 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Turtles were only together from 1965 to 1970 and changed membership along the way, but Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman were constants. They were friends from high school days who sang in choir together. FB Their first chart entry in 1965 was a top-ten cover of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” After a pair of top-30 hits, they had several songs that barely made the Billboard Hot 100 or missed it completely before moving “away from their earlier folk-rock material towards the richer sound of ‘Happy Together.’” TB It gave them their first and only chart-topper.

Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, the bassist and drummer of the Boston area band the Magicians, wrote “Happy Together.” They recorded a demo at Regent Sound Studio SF and shopped it around to different bands, including the Vogues and Gary Lewis & the Playboys. TB They played it so many times that the demo was worn out and practically unlistenable. FB They approached the Turtles with it when the latter were playing at the Phone Booth, a small club in New York City. SJ They added it to their set and decided to record it once they were off the road.

The “whimsical pop classic” TB has been misunderstood; even music author Dave Thompson called it “the ultimate romance.” DT However, it is actually about unrequited love. As Bonner said, it “is the fantasy of a guy obsessed with a woman who doesn’t love him.”< sup>SJ

Other versions of the song to reach the chart included Tony Orlando & Dawn (#79 BB as part of a medley, 1972), T.G. Sheppard (#8 CW, 1979), Captain & Tennille (#53 BB, 1980), the Nylons (#75 BB, 1987), and Jason Donovan (#10 UK, 1991). Others to record the song include Vikki Carr, Petula Clark, Percy Faith, Melba Moore, Donny Osmond, Mel Torme, the Ventures, the Vogues, Weezer, and Frank Zappa. SF


First posted 9/16/2023.

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