Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Turtles
Grim Reaper Of Love/Come Back


Released 1966 on White Whale
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 27/03/2001ce


The Turtles are for the most part only remembered for their chart-topping 1967 hit "Happy Together" and their splendid take on Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" however during the 60's in the USA they were quite popular and had several minor hits. I even remember them playing a concert in my home town of Bridgeport, Connecticut that created a fair share of pandemonium in 1968. But The Turtles never had the "hip" credibility of other L.A. groups like The Byrds, Mothers, Love or The Doors, so many dismissed them as Top 40 fluff. This was unfortunate because when you begin to dig deeper into the group's catalog one finds many hidden gems like "Outside Chance" and the record we're talking about here "Grim Reaper Of Love".
"Grim Reaper" was The Turtles 4th single and it barely cracked the USA Top 100 peaking at 81. Musically this is the toughest single the group ever made, it comes across like a heady blend of "Still I'm Sad" Yardbirds meets "Underground" era Electric Prunes!, this is full on garage punk classic!. I've played this 45 for a lot of people and nobody ever guessed it was The Turtles. "Grim Reaper" can hold it's head proudly among the likes of The Seeds, Chocolate Watchband, Leaves or any other garage punkers you care to mention.
During the 80's future techno kings The Shamen cut an interesting cover of "Grim Reaper" that's worth a listen but The Turtles original is the definitive version and it can still be pretty easily found these days.


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