Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.
Track 33/118: Outside Chance by The Nuggets
Release Year: 1966
From: Los Angeles, California
Aphoristic Rating: 8/10
OUTSIDE CHANCE – The Turtles [2:02]
(Warren Zevon/Glenn Crocker)
Personnel/HOWARD KAYLAN & MARK VOLMAN: vocals * AL NICHOL: lead guitar, electric piano * JIM TUCKER: guitar * CHUCK PORTZ: bass * JOHN BARBATA: drums
Produced by BONES HOWE for WHITE WHALE RECORDS
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA
White Whale single #WW-234 (7/66)
The Turtles are one of the more prominent bands to feature on Nuggets – they’re known for sunny, harmony-laden hits like ‘Happy Together’ and ‘Elenore’. You could argue that they’re too successful to fit comfortably on Nuggets, but ‘Outside Chance’ comes from a point in the career when they were transitioning and had fallen a little out of favour. They enjoyed early folk-rock hits like ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ and ‘Let Me Be’, but their 1966 singles often missed the charts.
‘Outside Chance’ written by Warren Zevon, and it fits comfortably enough among the garage rock of Nuggets. It didn’t appear on a studio album, although it’s been included as a bonus track on CD releases of You Baby and Happy Together. As Wikipedia points out, the riff is similar to The Beatles’ ‘Taxman’. There are memorable musical moments – particularly the organ solo, and the harmony-laden chorus.
The Turtles featured two vocalists – Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. The pair were always the band’s focal point – when The Turtles broke up, they went on to work with Frank Zappa. Rebranded as Flo & Eddie, they sang with Alice Cooper and on Springsteen’s ‘Hungry Heart’.
The Turtles are still around, although Volman has been replaced by Ron Dante, formerly of The Archies, for recent tours.