White Whale Records

White Whale Records was an American independent record label, founded in 1965 by Ted Feigin and Lee Lasseff in Los Angeles, California, and probably best known as the record label of The Turtles and a handful of one-hit wonder bands.

White Whale, in addition to releasing almost all of The Turtles' discography, also released Nino Tempo & April Stevens's single "All Strung Out (On You)", a hit single by Rene y Rene titled "Lo Mucho Que Ti Quiero", an album by Liz Damon's Orient Express, and the only album by Texas band The Clique. Warren Zevon was a staff songwriter for the label, and they issued some of his earliest recordings (as part of the duo Lyme & Cybele). Dobie Gray also recorded for the label, recording the first chart version of "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," which later became a much bigger hit for Lynn Anderson.

Three compilations of singles from the label have been released on CD: Happy Together: The Very Best of White Whale Records, and two volumes of the Phantom Jukebox series, on Rev-Ola records.

The Turtles

When White Whale signed the Turtles, they were known as "The Crossfires"; a surf music band looking to change their style, as surf music was fading. The label encouraged a name change to "The Tyrtles", in the manner of The Beatles and The Byrds. The band accepted the new name, but not the variant spelling. Relations between the label and the band were not always smooth, with White Whale pressuring the band for "more hits", then for singers Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman to fire the rest of the group, and work instead with hired musicians, in order to save money. Kaylan wrote the song "Elenore" as a humorous take on "Happy Together" (the only #1 hit for both the group and the White Whale label), which ironically became a hit itself. He and Volman also democratized the group, insisting everyone share in the writing and vocal duties, despite what the label wanted, and recorded a concept album, The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands (on which "Elenore" was featured).

When the Turtles disbanded in the early 1970s, White Whale lost their big moneymaker; in retaliation, and to prevent Kaylan and Volman from continuing their musical careers, White Whale insisted they held the rights to not only the Turtles' name and back catalog, but Kaylan and Volman's individual given names. Kaylan and Volman responded by moving into session work and continuing under a pseudonym, Flo and Eddie; White Whale Records, on the other hand, went out of business not long after. The label's final releases were the single "1900 Yesterday" by Liz Damon's Orient Express and a self-titled album by the same group; although both charted (the single reaching a respectable #33), it wasn't enough to keep the company going. White Whale's assets were sold at auction in 1974, at which point Kaylan and Volman won the rights to the Turtles' master recordings. Kaylan and Volman would not earn the rights to their own names (or the Turtles') again until 1983.

Anthem Records

Feigin and Lasseff folded White Whale Records in 1971 and created a new label called Anthem Records (not to be confused with the Canadian label of the same name), which was initially distributed by United Artists. Two White Whale acts were transferred to the new label's roster (Liz Damon's Orient Express and The Dillards), and they are the only artists to have albums issued on the label. The label also provided US distribution for a single by Freddie Mercury under the alias "Larry Lurex". One of Anthem's last signings was the duo of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, whose Buckingham Nicks LP was released via Polydor in 1973. (Polydor issued several albums with credits to "Anthem Record Productions" after the label lost distribution with United Artists the previous year.) Anthem Records was officially dissolved that same year.

Current ownership

While Flo & Eddie Inc (distributed by The Orchard) controls The Turtles' catalog,[1] the rest of the White Whale catalog is currently controlled by Concord Music's Craft Recordings under Varese Sarabande.[2] Since the '90s, several CD reissues and compilations of White Whale material have been released.[3]

Chart History

Billboard Top LPs Chart

Catalog #ArtistTitlePeak PositionPeak Date
White Whale WWS-7111Turtles, TheIt Ain't Me Babe9810/23/1965
White Whale WWS-7114Turtles, TheHappy Together254/29/1967
White Whale WWS-7115Turtles, TheGolden Hits711/18/1967
White Whale WWS-7118Turtles, TheThe Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands12811/16/1968
White Whale WWS-7119Rene and ReneLo Mucho Que Te Quiero1291/11/1969
White Whale WWS-7124Turtles, TheTurtle Soup11711/1/1969
White Whale WWS-7126Clique, TheClique, The1771/17/1970
White Whale WWS-7127Turtles, TheMore Golden Hits1464/11/1970
White Whale/Makaha MS-5003Liz Damon's Orient ExpressLiz Damon's Orient Express1903/6/1971

Billboard Hot 100 & Bubbling Under Charts

Catalog #ArtistTitlePeak PositionPeak Date
White Whale 222Turtles, TheIt Ain't Me Babe89/18/1965
White Whale 224Turtles, TheLet Me Be2911/27/1965
White Whale 227Turtles, TheYou Baby203/26/1966
White Whale 228Lyme and CybelleFollow Me654/16/1966
White Whale 231Turtles, TheGrim Reaper of Love816/25/1966
White Whale 236Nino Tempo and April StevensAll Strung Out2610/22/1966
White Whale 238Turtles, TheCan I Get To Know You Better8911/26/1966
White Whale 239John's ChildrenSmashed! Blocked!10212/31/1966
White Whale 241Tempo, Nino, & April StevensYou'll Be Needing Me Baby1331/28/1967
White Whale 244Turtles, TheHappy Together13/25/1967
White Whale 246Tempo, Nino, & April StevensMy Old Flame1014/29/1967
White Whale 249Turtles, TheShe'd Rather Be with Me36/17/1967
White Whale 252Nino Tempo and April StevensI Can't Go On Livin' Baby Without You867/29/1967
White Whale 254Turtles, TheYou Know What I Mean129/30/1967
White Whale 257Committee, TheCalifornia My Way11010/28/1967
White Whale 260Turtles, TheShe's My Girl1412/23/1967
White Whale 264Turtles, TheSound Asleep573/30/1968
White Whale 268Tempo, Nino, & April StevensLet It Be Me1275/25/1968
White Whale 273Turtles, TheThe Story Of Rock And Roll487/13/1968
White Whale 275Professor Morrison's LollipopYou Got The Love8810/5/1968
White Whale 276Turtles, TheElenore611/2/1968
White Whale 287Rene & ReneLo Mucho Que Te Quiero (The More I Love You)141/4/1969
White Whale 289Malibu's, TheA Broken Man1212/8/1969
White Whale 292Turtles, TheYou Showed Me63/1/1969
White Whale 298Rene & ReneLas Costas1283/22/1969
White Whale 300Gray, DobieRose Garden1195/31/1969
White Whale 308Turtles, TheYou Don't Have To Walk In The Rain517/12/1969
White Whale 323Clique, TheSugar On Sunday2210/18/1969
White Whale 326Turtles, TheLove In The City9110/18/1969
White Whale 333Clique, TheI'll Hold Out My Hand4512/13/1969
White Whale 334Turtles, TheLady-O7812/20/1969
White Whale 338Clique, TheSparkle And Shine1002/28/1970
White Whale 353FeatherFriends796/20/1970
White Whale 355Turtles, TheEve of Destruction1006/27/1970
White Whale 360Reivers, TheRevolution In My Soul1129/19/1970
White Whale 364Turtles, TheMe About You10511/14/1970
White Whale 368Liz Damon's Orient Express1900 Yesterday332/13/1971

See also