Songs You May Have Missed #147


The Turtles: “You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain” (1969)

There’s some atypical stuff going on here lyrically, for 60’s bubblegum:

I look at your face/Is that the face I love?/It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you//You’ve got a lovely place/The kids both send their love/We still get lonely baby without you

I do like it when pop songwriting steps outside the safety zone of cliché and platitude to actually reflect the messy human condition. Here’s a pop song, wrapped up in those delicious Turtles harmonies that made admirers even of the Beatles (who used to seek out their live performances) but one that sees the protagonist proposing a second chance to someone who clearly messed up. I mean, she doesn’t even see their kids anymore. What happened exactly? You’re given only a sketch, and are allowed to finish the picture in your own mind.

This song only peaked at #51 on the pop charts despite being, musically, almost a clone of the Turtles’ #6 hit “Elenore” of the previous year, as well as their #1 hit “Happy Together”. The common template: spare, mournful, minor-key verses bursting into big, cathartic, hamony-laden choruses. The Turtles made at least a handful of singles that were the equal of the work of any of their contemporaries–yes, even those guys.

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