Of all the “isolated vocals” tracks going around the Internet these days, one of the most beautiful of all, I think, comes from The Turtles’ “Happy Together.” I just stumbled across this looking for something else and man, it’s just… glorious. It’s one of the best known, most beloved, best pop songs PERIOD and you’ve never heard it quite like this before.
You could take apart every element of the song and the kernel of pure pop perfection would be found in every component part, right down to the high-hat, but nowhere more so than with Howard Kaylan’s lead vocal and the harmony he’s got going on with Mark Volman and the other Turtles. Here we have two of the greatest voices of the rock era—the harmonies of Flo and Eddie can be found on Frank Zappa albums, Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart,” Blondie’s Autoamerican, “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs and “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” by T.Rex among many other classics—and this is so beautiful that I would imagine that it will bring a tear to more than a few of your eyes.
Thing is, you could do this to virtually any Turtles number—“Somewhere Friday Night” or “Lady O” say—and it would be amazing.
You’ll notice that in the clip below—it’s from The Ed Sullivan Show—Mark Volman “plays” a trumpet, meant to openly (and comedically) acknowledge that they were lip-syncing.