White Whale Records

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White Whale Records was an American independent record label, founded in 1965 by Ted Feigin and Lee Lassiff in Los Angeles, California, and probably best known as the record label of The Turtles and a handful of one-hit wonder bands.

White Whale, in addition to releasing almost all of The Turtles' discography, also released Nino Tempo & April Stevens's single "All Strung Out (On You)", a hit single by Rene y Rene titled "Lo Mucho Que Ti Quiero", an album by Liz Damon's Orient Express, and the only album by Texas band The Clique. Warren Zevon was a staff songwriter for the label, and they issued some of his earliest recordings (as part of the duo Lyme & Cybele). Dobie Gray also recorded for the label but failed to chart any hits.

When White Whale signed the Turtles, they were known as "The Crossfires"; a surf music band looking to change their style, as surf music was fading. The label encouraged a name change to "The Tyrtles", in the manner of The Beatles and The Byrds. The band accepted the new name, but not the variant spelling. Relations between the label and the band were not always smooth, with White Whale pressuring the band for "more hits", then for singers Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman to fire the rest of the group, and work instead with hired musicians, to save costs. Kaylan wrote the song "Elenore" as a humorous take on "Happy Together" (the only #1 hit for both the group and the White Whale label), which ironically became a hit itself. He and Volman also democratized the group, insisting everyone share in the writing and vocal duties, despite what the label wanted, and recorded a concept album, The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands (on which "Elenore" was featured).

When the Turtles disbanded in the early 1970s, White Whale lost their big moneymaker; in an act of revenge, and to prevent Kaylan and Volman from continuing their musical careers, White Whale insisted they held the rights to not only the Turtles' name and back catalog, but Kaylan and Volman's individual given names. Kaylan and Volman responded by moving into session work and continuing under a pseudonym, Flo and Eddie; White Whale Records, on the other hand, went out of business not long after. The label's final releases were the single "1900 Yesterday" by Liz Damon's Orient Express and a self-titled album by the same group; although both charted (the single reaching a respectable #33), it wasn't enough to keep the company going. White Whale's assets were sold at auction in 1974, at which point Kaylan and Volman won the rights to the Turtles' master recordings. Kaylan and Volman would not earn the rights to their own names (or the Turtles') again until 1983.

Three compilations of singles from the label have been released on CD: Happy Together: The Very Best of White Whale Records, and two volumes of the Phantom Jukebox series, on Rev-Ola records. [1][dead link]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

White Whale USA singles discography