More than 45 years after their biggest hit, the founders of The Turtles are still "Happy Together."
And they want to share the joy with their fans.
The "Happy Together Tour" - led by The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie - will visit the Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State University Park campus at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The tour, created by Turtles founders Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, has become a hit with a generation of music fans who don't have too many options for seeing their favorites from the '60s.
Flo &?Eddie (Howard Kaylan, left, and Mark Volman, respectively) clown around during the “Happy Together Tour.”
"We always tell the audience that the first year we really faced a lot of decisions about whether the tour was even going to take off," Volman, a.k.a. "Flo" of Flo & Eddie, said in a phone interview from his home in Tennessee. "We're going to end up doing over 60 shows this year. And that's a remarkable feat."
According to Volman, 66, this incarnation of the "Happy Together Tour" - they originally toured under that tag for a time in the 1980s - began four years ago.
"We're excited about turning this tour into a perennial showcase for the great artists of the 1960s who are left," he said. "Because it seems like every week, one of the artists of the '60s is dying. ... There really aren't a lot of great '60s bands out there anymore."
If you go
What: The Happy Together Tour
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Bryce Jordan Center, Penn State University Park campus
Tickets: $35, available at the BJC ticket office, Eisenhower Auditorium, Penn State Downtown Theatre, the PSU Altoona ticket outlet, online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.bjc.psu.edu or by calling 800-745-3000
The tour's lineup each year reads like a list of Billboard chart toppers from the 1960s. This year's acts are:
n Chuck Negron, former singer of Three Dog Night. Negron co-founded Three Dog Night in 1967 and was one of the group's three leads during its apex in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The group's 21 Top 40 hits included three No. 1 singles: "Joy To the World" (on which Negron sang lead), "Black and White" and "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)."
n Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap had five Top 10 singles from 1967 to 1969, including their biggest hits, "Young Girl," "Woman Woman" and "Lady Willpower."
n Mark Lindsay, former lead singer of Paul Revere & The Raiders. Lindsay co-founded Paul Revere & The Raiders - named after drummer Revere and using a British gimmick - in the early '60s. The group got national attention with a string of Top 40 hits that culminated in the group's lone No. 1 hit, "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)," in 1971. Lindsay also had a Top 10 solo hit with the song "Arizona" in 1970.
n Gary Lewis & The Playboys. Gary Lewis, the son of actor Jerry Lewis, and his group broke into the American music scene in 1965 with the No. 1 hit "This Diamond Ring." The group's first seven singles hit the Billboard Top 10 - the only artist of the 1960s to have such a streak.
And topping the bill are The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie. The Turtles' "Happy Together" topped the charts in 1967 and was one of a string of hits for the group in the late '60s. After the band broke up in 1970 because of fights with their record label, Volman and Kaylan began working as "Flo & Eddie," a duo who dabbled in all facets of music.
"As Flo & Eddie, it allowed us to move into other aspects of entertainment," Volman said. "We worked with Frank Zappa, sang with Bruce Springsteen, sang with T-Rex, did the music for 'The Care Bears,' did the music for 'Strawberry Shortcake,' wrote for a magazine. ... Flo & Eddie allowed us to do things in the industry that The Turtles wouldn't have been allowed to try."
The duo's experiences in the music business - including more than 20 years associated with Zappa and his band, The Mothers of Invention - inadvertently led to the idea for the "Happy Together Tours."
"Seven years ago, we joined a tour called Hippiefest," Volman said of the 1970s-themed touring festival. "Because of our connection with Frank Zappa, the producers felt that we fit in well with the '70s music."
But the Hippiefest experience led Volman and Kaylan to the conclusion that the 1960s needed a similar tribute. The success of the "Happy Together Tour" has proven them correct.
Volman said that they designed the show to be a crowd pleaser.
"There's no deep cuts, there's no B-sides; That's not what this tour is about," he said. "This is 2 1/2 hours of all hits. These artists are not there to sing for themselves. We've done a lot of research into what songs the fans want to hear. We've gone to each artist and said, basically, 'Here's what we want you to sing."
"It's really powerful when you string [the hits] all together. And the audience really loves it."
It's a show concept that brought the Bryce Jordan Center out of its normal summer slump.
"We rarely do stuff over the summer because most of the shows are outside," said Bernie Punt, the BJC's director of sales and marketing. "But this came up and the last time we had something like this, was the Monkees in 2001 and that got a great response."
"We definitely touched a chord with the older demo."
Punt said the BJC will be set up in a different way then people might be used to, utilizing just 2,500 seats.
"It's going to be an intimate setup," he said. "You don't even know you're in an arena."
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.