On this day in music history: July 12, 1965 – “It Ain’t Me Babe” by The Turtles is released. Written by Bob Dylan, it is the debut single release for the pop/rock band from Los Angeles, CA. Originally formed in early 1965 its members are attending Westchester High School in L.A., the band consists of Howard Kaylan (nee Kaplan) (lead vocals), Mark Volman (background vocals), Al Nichol (lead guitar, keyboards), Chuck Portz (bass), Don Murray (drums) and Jim Tucker (guitar). Initially a surf rock band calling themselves The Crossfires, they quickly develop a following. While playing their weekly gig at The Revelaire club in Redondo Beach co-owned by KFWB and KEWB DJ Reb Foster, The Crossfires are approached by two entrepreneurs and ask if they want to make a record. Jumping at the chance, the band change their the sound from surf rock to folk rock, influenced by fellow L.A. contemporaries The Byrds who have helped popularize the genre. The band also change their name to The Tyrtles, as a play on the spelling of The Byrds, but quickly amend it to the regular spelling “The Turtles”. While searching for songs to record at their first session, Kaylan hits upon the idea of covering Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe”. A track from Dylan’s fourth album “Another Side Of Bob Dylan”, released the previous year, and with The Byrds then racing up the charts with their first big hit, a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man”, The Turtles create their own arrangement of “Babe”. Recorded at United Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA in June of 1965, the single is released just a few weeks later by White Whale Records. “It Ain’t Me Babe” becomes a smash on local radio in Los Angeles, and quickly hits nationally. Entering the Hot 100 at #76 on August 7, 1965, it peaks at #8 on September 18, 1965, launching The Turtles career, and becoming the first of five top ten, and nine top 40 hits the band have over the next four years.
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