Wayback Wednesday

The Turtles – Elenore

Gee, I think you’re swell. I think it’s safe to say that there’s no way in hell you’d find lyrics like those in the too-cool-for-school indie hipster songs today, outside of a precious She & Him record.

When I was a kid, I always thought this was a Hollies song, because the harmonies in the chorus sounded like them, or, at least, the high part sounded like Graham Nash to me.  Nope, that was The Turtles, following up their 1967 chart successes.

What I had no clue about until a recent late-night fit of research was that Elenore was written by Howard Kaylan (Turtles lead singer, who later joined up with Frank Zappa to mock his pop star status) to get the record company off his back. The band aimed to move into more psychedelic territory, a la The Beatles, but the record company poo-pooed that idea and wanted the band to keep churning out the guaranteed money of the hit 3 minute pop song.  So, Kaylan came up with this little wonder, which he purposely wrote as a throw-away pop song. The insertion of the infamous “et cetera” in the chorus is the perfect example of this.  “See, this is so easy I can use et cetera and rhyme it with better. A monkee could write this crap.” The unintended results were that the song hit number 6 on the charts, which ties with You Showed Me as their third highest charting song. (Happy Together and She’d Rather Be With Me are #1 and #2.)

Oh Howard, what’s a pop band to do?  (Break up a year or so later?)

Anyway, Elenore is a swell song, no matter why it was written.  I’ll bet it’s now Kaylan’s pride and joy, etc.


2 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday

  1. pl 04.14.10 / 1:20 pm

    Haha, I always liked this song! So cute. 🙂

  2. Holly A Hughes 04.15.10 / 1:44 am

    Even when they were trying to be mediocre they couldn’t do it!

    I just learned that the album this appears on — The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands — was a concept album in which the Turtles pretended to be a different band on every track, to show off their facility in so many musical styles. It’s like they were out-Sgt. Peppering the Beatles. Wacky, wacky stuff.

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