Sounds like...
November 29, 2008 6:03 PM   Subscribe

There's this whole group of British pop songs that sound like the chorus to the song "Elenore" by The Turtles. Only I'm not British and don't know them. Do you?

So when I was in england a while back I was at this club in soho that was playing all this music that I've never heard before but which was of minor pop note in the US and fairly major pop note in the UK in the late sixties and mid seventies. Unfortunately, at the time I was having a blast and drinking like I'd had a recent liver transplant.

At the time I remember asking about it and some girl said it kind of sounded like the "hip" pop performers who played the seaside places in england and the crappy variety shows of the bbc when the real action was happening in the punk underground. I didn't get more than that because I think I tried to kiss her and it didn't go well.

So the upshot is that I didn't get any names of artists or songs. I just figured I'd search "british pop" or something and it'd all come up whenever I got around to it.

It didn't.

Then, the other day I heard the song Elenore by The Turtles (a non-english group) and when I heard the chorus...well all I could think was that half the songs sort of sounded like that. Admittedly, not the most exact metric I could come up with but it's all I got.

So if you know what I'm talking about please be my Itunes genius (I tried it already, no go) and help me figure out this sound.

posted by rileyray3000 to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Amen Corner?
The Move?
Small Faces?
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 6:20 PM on November 29, 2008

Alone Again (Naturally) or Clair by Gilbert O'Sullivan?
posted by chococat at 6:33 PM on November 29, 2008

Response by poster: It's less neo-hippy pop than almost a...I'm a british wall of sound almost.

Like "turn to stone" by ELO as an example.
posted by rileyray3000 at 6:52 PM on November 29, 2008

posted by apetpsychic at 6:56 PM on November 29, 2008

also, the Hollies?

I thnk if you root through some British Invasion comps, you'll find some artists that fit the bill...
posted by apetpsychic at 7:18 PM on November 29, 2008

Are you thinking Mersey Beat?
posted by TedW at 7:26 PM on November 29, 2008

Response by poster: It's not mersey beat. It's closer to Olivia Newton John's version of What is Life than to George Harrison's if that's any help. Though I realize I'm being incredibly vague. It's like I'm trying to speak spanish only knowing 17 random words of it.
posted by rileyray3000 at 7:28 PM on November 29, 2008

Response by poster: Okay the Rubettes are pretty much right in that sound. And so is the chorus on the Bye Bye Baby selection by the Bay City Rollers. The only caveat I'd give is...well I feel like there's almost a pre-disco or early disco influence in the stuff I heard. And even though I can't be sure, I felt like it was more early 70's than late 60's.

You know what it was? It was the british equivalent of Abba. That's about as close as I've come to getting it right.
posted by rileyray3000 at 7:41 PM on November 29, 2008

Chicory Tip
posted by apetpsychic at 8:02 PM on November 29, 2008

Yeah, I think what you want is that 1969-74 cusp between bubblegum and glam. Look for songs written by Tony Maccauley for the the former end of the spectrum, and songs produced by Chapman/Chinn for the latter--and then move out from there.

Some names:

Edison Lighthouse
The New Seekers
Daniel Boone
posted by neroli at 9:37 PM on November 29, 2008

The Zombies and The Yardbirds came to mind when I heard your example song.
posted by mmoncur at 10:15 PM on November 29, 2008

When I play my favorite tunes in the car, I've had more than one person ask if "Love Is Like Oxygen" was by ELO (it's not, it's by Sweet.) Just sayin'.

Buck's Fizz was sort of Britain's answer to Abba at one time.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:57 PM on November 29, 2008

the british equivalent of Abba.

That'll be The Brotherhood Of Man
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:51 AM on November 30, 2008

How about a bit of reverse engineering. Any idea which club in Soho it was? Even just a vague location? What night of the week was it?
posted by Helga-woo at 6:35 AM on November 30, 2008

It's a very Brit sound and it's currently in comeback.

So yay.

You might like


posted by The Whelk at 10:22 AM on November 30, 2008

like a british wall of sound almost

Roy Wood & Wizzard:

See My Baby Jive
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
posted by Grangousier at 12:31 PM on November 30, 2008

Response by poster: Okay brotherhood of man is about the closest so far. It DEFINITELY had a run of female voices at the helm of it. So if Brotherhood of Man sang a song like Turn to Stone then that'd be exactly what I heard.

As far as the idea. I mean it wasn't far from a train stop but that's hardly helpful. And I know it was mid week not a weekend, but that's as close as I can get.

On the upside, this is exposing me to whole lot of music I didn't know existed before.
posted by rileyray3000 at 5:26 PM on November 30, 2008

The Dooleys?
The Nolan Sisters?
Middle of the Road?

This thread has veered from quality rock'n'roll into shit 70s novelty pop at an alarming rate, and it would sadden me to think of people paying good money to get into a Soho club in order to listen to the goddamn Nolan Sisters.
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 6:13 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

The only thing I can think of like Turn to Stone but with female voices is Waterloo by Abba. As that's a completely unhelpful suggestion, here are some equally unhelpful suggestions, but in considerably more detail:

The Man Who Sold the World covered by Lulu?

(Or Watch That Man on the b-side?)

Suzi Quatro:
48 Crash
Can The Can
Devil Gate Drive

It's getting a bit obsessive now. These don't actually sound anything like the chorus to Elenore by The Turtles, but they're groovy.

There was an awful lot of stuff like that in the early 1970s. Neroli has it, above. Another survivor of early-70s Top of the Pops, perhaps? (Or more to the point, early 70s interior decorating, which could send you blind at a single glance.)

Were you - I hope this isn't too personal a question - on drugs at the time?
posted by Grangousier at 11:50 PM on November 30, 2008

Russell Mael uses a falsetto that can sometimes be mistaken for a female's voice...I'm wondering if it could've been Amateur Hour or This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us, both of which were pretty big hits in England. And Get in the Swing has a "Turn to Stone"--ish sort of sound to it.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:54 AM on December 1, 2008

I love the Elenore tune. It has always reminded me of "Happy Together", obviously also The Turtles.

I do see the "wall of sound" you're referencing. The Mamas and the Papas had a similar feel.

You might want to look into producer PF Sloan and arranger Chip Douglas (both of whom worked with the Turtles).

I'm also seeing references to "chamber pop" or "baroque pop" associated with this too.
posted by skypieces at 9:20 AM on December 1, 2008

Response by poster: Well, unfortunately, it was kind of shit 70s novelty pop. Only, better produced if that sounds right. But the voices DID sound kind of like those Dooleys. Not exactly like them but getting closer. And Waterloo IS close to the sound too, but I know Abba so it wasn't them.

Also, for the record, no drugs were involved. Just a lot of Pimms.
posted by rileyray3000 at 5:12 PM on December 1, 2008

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