Nuggets: Outside Chance by The Turtles

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The Turtles are still around, although Volman has been replaced by Ron Dante, formerly of The Archies, for recent tours.

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12 Comments

  1. This isn’t really a top tier Turtles song but it’s kind of okay. As long as they were gonna put a Turtles song on Nuggets they should have just put something better. Maybe She’d Rather Be with Me would kind of fit in. I didn’t know those two guys sang on the Bruce Springsteen song but I just discovered kinda recently that they sang on Blondie’s Autoamerican album, even though I’ve been listening to that album forever.

      • I used to see Flo and Eddie listed in the credits on a lot of ’70s and 80s albums like Ramones and Psychedelic Furs and a whole shitload of other ones but then they started using their real names for some reason. I even had a Flo and Eddie album at one time.

  2. I never expected the Turtles to come up in this but this was quality….and it fits in what Nuggets is all about. I’ve heard this song a few times…it’s on their documentary. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman have a cool story and they are smart. They bought back all their masters from White Whale 3-4 years after they broke up for practically nothing.

  3. It’s funny but not uncommon, at least when it comes to Max: I had the exact same reaction and was surprised to see The Turtles on “Nuggets”! Well, I suppose the song’s title “Outside Chance” is quite appropriate!

    While it’s not psychedelic garage rock, it’s a great-sounding song. I’ve always loved The Turtles’ harmony singing, which shines here as well. I also dig the guitar sound – almost a bit Byrds-y!

  4. Good tune. Nice job lip-syncing. I loved The Turtles. Interestingly, the label you showed had ‘You Baby’ which was actually the hit here or at least I recall it being on the radio a lot. I always found it amusing that a couple of Top Forty guys wound up in Zappa’s band. This reminds me that periodically the Happy Together tour rolls into town and to me, just seems sad. I’m sure some fellow boomers are attending it for the primary reason of nostalgia. But do I really need to see Gary Puckett and the Union Gap? By same major oversight they left Peter Noone off the tour.

    https://happytogethertour.com/lineup/

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