Elenore

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"Elenore"
Single by The Turtles
from the album The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands
B-side Surfer Dan
Released September 1968
Genre Pop rock
Length 2:31
Label White Whale
Writer(s) Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, Al Nichol, Jim Pons, John Barbata
Producer(s) Chip Douglas
The Turtles singles chronology
"The Story of Rock and Roll"
(1968)
"Elenore"
(1968)
"You Showed Me"
(1969)
For the book illustrator and artist, see Elenore Abbott.

"Elenore" is a 1968 song by American pop-rock group The Turtles, originally included on the album The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands. Its writing was co-credited to the five members of the band, Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, Al Nichol, Jim Pons and John Barbata. The song was written as a satire of one of their earlier pop hits, "Happy Together".

Background[edit]

By 1968, The Turtles had had a number of successful pop records on the White Whale label, including Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe", "Happy Together" and "She'd Rather Be With Me", both written by Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon. The band members wanted to diversify their musical output, in parallel with more innovative musical groups of the time, and to record their own material. However, their record company were reluctant to allow them to do so.[1]

As a demonstration of their musical versatility, The Turtles recorded the album ...the Battle of the Bands, which featured performances in a wide variety of different musical styles.[2] The band recorded "Elenore" as a parody of the type of happy-go-lucky pop songs they themselves had been performing, but with deliberately clichéd and slapdash lyrics such as: "Your looks intoxicate me / Even though your folks hate me / There's no one like you, Elenore, really"; and "Gee, I think you're swell / And you really do me well / You're my pride and joy, et cetera..."[3] Howard Kaylan later said:

Elenore was a parody of "Happy Together." It was never intended to be a straight-forward song. It was meant as an anti-love letter to White Whale [Records], who were constantly on our backs to bring them another "Happy Together." So I gave them a very skewed version. Not only with the chords changed, but with all these bizarre words. It was my feeling that they would listen to how strange and stupid the song was and leave us alone. But they didn't get the joke. They thought it sounded good. Truthfully, though, the production on "Elenore" WAS so damn good. Lyrically or not, the sound of the thing was so positive that it worked. It certainly surprised me.[4]

Release[edit]

The song was produced by Chip Douglas and released as a single (White Whale 276). "Elenore" reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100,[5] and also reached # 7 on the UK singles chart,[6] # 4 in Canada, # 8 in Australia, and # 1 in New Zealand.[7] It has since been featured on many anthologies, and as part of the soundtrack of the 2009 film The Boat That Rocked.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly singles charts[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [9] 6
U.S. Cashbox Top 100 [10] 5
Canadian RPM [11] 4
WLS survey (Chicago) [12] 2
UK [6] 7
Australia 8
New Zealand [13] 1

End of year charts[edit]

End of year chart (1968) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [14] 80
U.S. Cashbox [15] 64
WLS survey (Chicago) [16] 61
Canadian RPM singles [17] 93

Covers[edit]

Italian singer Gianni Morandi covered "Elenore" as "Scende la pioggia."

Dean Torrence, one half of Jan & Dean, covered the song on his 2002 album, Dean Torrence Anthology: Legendary Masked Surfer Unmasked.

The song was featured in the Mad Men 2014 episode "A Day's Work".

Me First and the Gimme Gimme's covered "Elenore" on their album Blow in the Wind[18]

References[edit]