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Shell Shocked

My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc.
Narrated by: Howard Kaylan
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

If Howard Kaylan had sung only one song, the Turtles' 1967 No. 1 smash hit "Happy Together," his place in rock-and-roll history would still be secure. But that recording, named in 1999 by BMI as one of the top 50 songs of the 20th century, with over five million radio plays, is only the tip of a rather eye-opening iceberg. For nearly five decades, Howard Kaylan has been a player in the rock-and-roll revolution. In addition to his years with the Turtles, Kaylan was a core member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention and the dynamic duo Flo & Eddie, and part of glam rock history with Marc Bolan and T. Rex.

He's also given street cred and harmonies to everyone from John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Alice Cooper to the Ramones and Duran Duran, to name just a few. Howard Kaylan's life has been a dangerous ride that he is only too happy to report on, naming names and shedding shocking tales of sex, drugs and creative excess. Shell Shocked will stand alone as not only one of the best-told music-biz memoirs, but one with a truly candid and unmatchable story of rock-and-roll insanity and success from a man who glories in it all.

©2013 Howard Kaylan (P)2013 Howard Kaylan

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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The Turtles DO Rock...Really!

I rarely give an unqualified 5 star rating...wait, I NEVER give a 5 star rating, but this audiobook rocks! Baby boomers know the Turtles as an iconic MOR pop band that ruled the pop charts in the late '60s (They knocked the Beatles out of the #1 position at one point) and then had a stereotypical breakup due to the usual: musical differences, drugs, changing public preferences, management, etc. It's all told here by Howard Kaylan (with a "Y"!) in an honest and very funny autobiography that grabs you from the first sentence and never lets up.

With a refreshing lack of ego, Mr. Kaylan dishes the whole storyline of the Turtles to the Mothers of Invention to Flo & Eddie and beyond. Be forewarned: YOU WILL LAUGH OUT LOUD so pick your listening times carefully. I often listen in bed before going to sleep but I couldn't do that with this book - I kept waking up my slumbering spouse with my chuckles and laughter. I also had to avoid many concerned looks in the Doctor's office, on public transportation, in the grocery store...you get the idea.

This production shines throughout. Mr. Kaylan provides a perfect wedding of writing and narration. Even my pet peeve about mispronunciation is absent here - a first in 13 years.

If you have the slightest interest in The Turtles, the '60s and '70s or pop music in general you will love this book.

You CAN'T MISS this one!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Donaldo
  • Milton, NH, United States
  • 10-31-13

A delightful listen!

Any additional comments?

I loved The Turtles music growing up in the late 60’s, so I jumped on this audiobook as soon as I saw it and wasn’t disappointed. Howard’s narration is like hanging out with an old friend and swapping rock and roll war stories. The stories of his interactions with rock and roll royalty are worth the price of admission alone. The stories of his personal misbehavior and of the show biz sharks that bit them are riveting. Then there are the Mothers of Invention stories, most notably his firsthand account of the concert in Montreux that was the inspiration for Deep Purple’s immortal Smoke On The Water. All in all a pleasant listen…, that I’ll probably do again in the near future. So if you’re a former child of the sixties, or just love that music, this book is for you.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • b
  • 07-13-13

WARNING: contact buzz and non-controlable laughing

Any additional comments?

If you think having Howard Kaylan sing to you is fun, wait till he reads to you...one of the most incredible personalities in music tells his story with the same exuberance as he lived it, with all the 'warts, stars and ex-wives' included...one of the best current autobiographies available

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Howard and I were always "Happy Together!"

Howard claimed "what a life!" He wasn't kidding! I'd trade my life for his life in a New York minute!! Through all of his ups and downs (many more ups than downs), Howard always manged to turn a chunk o' coal in to a diamond, and "Eddie" always managed to go with the "Flo!" Pun intended! He's mingled with hundreds of musicians and stars, wrote amazing lyrics and music, and I'd go as far to say that most of us have no idea just what a celebratory life he's lived! More than the typical life of a rock star and a loving husband and parent, many rock stars aren't able to balance and achieve! Howard has read his own book with fervor and emotion, and honestly, some of his life's stories are difficult to believe, but you can't make this stuff up! Howard was the mostly productive and quintiscential rock star, far beyond the life of a Turtle! And this one NEVER hid in his shell! Through it all, it's amazing how Mark Volman and Howard managed to remain close friends and a successful duo for nearly 50 years as of this writing in 2013! It's been said that once you reach a certain age, you're lucky enough to have just one close friend. No one, not even these two, would ever become, at least professionally, inseparable. Howard, at the very least, has almost certainly loved his life to the fullest extent! This book is exciting, extremely personal, and for my own part, after absorbing this masterpiece of an autobiography, I have absolutely no questions for this unexpected rock and roll hero, and I would fly to the western part of the country to shake his hand, "roll a fatty," and, just like in his book, fully engulf myself in more of his reminiscing of his charmed life, even if he felt the desire to repeat his wonderous stories and experiences he's already expressed in this book, one of the best autobiographies, audible or otherwise I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of. From beginning to end, Howard makes you feel like he's reading his life story to you, and you only! What a life, indeed!

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I expected greatness...

...and hot damn, I wasn't disappointed!

This is one heck of a rock & roll memoir. Hilarious and brutally honest.

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MY FIRST BAND

I was eight years old when I heard Elenore. The Turtles have always been a favorite of mine. My children know all the songs. I did not know that they had anything to do with Frank Zappa until this book. But I love Zappa and have a shirt with Franks face on it. This book woke me up to these two Howard and Mark. Sure would love a Turtles shirt. Great book took me back on a trip through time.

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If you loved Frank Zappa,Flo and Eddie this rocks

the Turtles story Rocks it.And FZ and. The smoke on the water story makes this book worth a listen.HK tells of Groupies ,drugs,Zappa and everything about the Turtles and 70 and 71 Mothers .

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  • Dann
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 07-15-16

Didn't know ...

I didn't know they were with Zappa's band. After listening to this, I saw a movie on Zappa and there were Flo and Eddie singing for Zappa. Interesting slice of history about a time when rock and roll was in it's birth.

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  • Brian
  • LAKE FOREST, CA, United States
  • 02-15-14

Great and Funny Read and Very Imformative Stories

Would you listen to Shell Shocked again? Why?

No just because I do not read books twice

What did you like best about this story?

I grew up during that time frame so all the stories, crossovers of who knew who, etc and the storyline is hilarious

What does Howard Kaylan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His tone and voice was like listening to a comedian.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The entire book

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SO HAPPY Together

Would you listen to Shell Shocked again? Why?

Imagine a friend sitting comfortably with you and sharing a story from his past, self-aware and with no holds barred, causing you to laugh out loud, REAL HARD, at several points in the story.

Howard is that friend, and he is a skillful storyteller. His voice is so intimate, you don't remember he's reading. Hilarity ensues, I promise you.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It's ALL good.

Which scene was your favorite?

It's all good, but the short advice about "something to fall back on" is startling in its truth & power.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Howls of laughter bordering on joy. I AM from the Sixties, I do remember and this Ambassador of Peace and Love has created a wonderful drive down memory lane.

Any additional comments?

I love this book! I don't know why anyone wouldn't. START LISTENING NOW!

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  • papapownall
  • 05-21-19

Amazing tales from the road from the Mother Turtle

I first became aware of Howard Kaylan through his hilarious performances on some of the Zappa / Mothers albums from the early 70's. I love listening to Just Another Band from LA and Mothers Filmore East June 1971 albums. It was from here that I realised that he and Mark Volman were from the legendary 1960's band The Turtles. Of course I had heard Happy Together, it is an all time classic but I hadn't explored many other of their records or Volman / Kaylan's subsequent work as Flo and Eddie. Howard is, of course, a very funny guy. He has a natural wit and is a great raconteur. And WOW what stories he has to tell. From the early days to meeting Hendrix and Brian Jones in London in the 60s to performing with Zappa and, I didn't know this until hearing this, as background singer on many of Marc Bolan / T Rex hits in the 1970s, performing, meeting the Beatles, Bowie and Dylan and then recording and playing with Bruce Springsteen. This guy has done it all. And he doesn't hold back in telling his story with all the highs (sic) and lows of his career. Many musicians have attempted to chronicle sex drugs and rock and roll but I can recall no one has ever been an candid and honest as Howard. I didn't know that Flo and Eddie has hosted a successful radio show for years either and this goes some way to explain why Howard is such a natural behind the mike. It felt more like he was reciting these stories from memory. I thoroughly enjoyed this and did not want it to end.

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  • sonvagun
  • 04-18-18

Excess, it’s the name of the game

What a life. Touchingly and honestly told.
A must for all Music Fans.

I loved it.

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  • Joseph
  • 02-11-18

A music nerds must read

Had me captivated the whole time. so mamy great stories. will certainly listen too again.

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  • Stuart Penney
  • 08-04-14

A tale of rock & roll excess, wonderfully told

Would you consider the audio edition of Shell Shocked to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version, but I'm guessing the audio version, read by the author, is better

What was one of the most memorable moments of Shell Shocked?

The no-holds barred, explosive intro read by Penn Jillette will live with me forever.

What does Howard Kaylan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Once you tune in to Kaylan's high energy narration style, this is a gripping roller coaster ride through the world of rock & roll like no other

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes absolutely, but at 9 hours, this was not possible.

Any additional comments?

Worth the price of admission for the Turtles and Frank Zappa sections alone, but Howard has done so much more, which by necessity was compressed to fit in the last third of the book. Kaylan has lived enough for three lifetimes and a book three times longer than this.