Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The Turtles: I'm Chief Kamanawanalea


For their 1968 concept album, Battle of the Bands, The Turtles tried to sound like a different group on each track. They even had photographs taken of themselves disguised as each group. The Turtles recorded the Top 10 hit "You Showed Me" as Nature's Children and another big hit, "Elenore" , as Howie, Mark, Johny, Jim & Al.
   As Chief Kamanawanalea and his Royal Macadamia Nuts, they let drummer John Barbata lead the way. Kamanawanalea ( named after the fictitious "God of Lust and Perversion") is of course the kind of silly pun that makes Hawaiians roll their eyes.
    But it's those drum breaks that make this 94-second song irresistible, especially to rap artists like The Beastie Boys, Big Daddy Kane and De La Soul, the latter of whom used the breaks ( and samples from "You Showed Me") without crediting the Turtles. De La Soul met the fury of the litigious lead singers, Flo & Eddie. They won a share of the royalties and punitive damages.
   Today Eddie ( Howard Kaylan) looks back on the critical reception this album received with disappointment.
  "Battle of the Bands was our Sergeant Pepper." He told blogger Cody Conard ."And it still bugs me, all these years later, that it was under-appreciated by the music critics upon its release. I was happy with it then, and I still think it's the strongest stand-alone album that the band ever recorded".

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