John Barbata, Turtles and C.S.N.Y. Drummer, Dies at 79

John Barbata, the drummer for the Turtles, Jefferson Airplane, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, who walked away from rock music at the height of his career, has died. He was 79.

His death was announced in a social media post by Jefferson Airplane on Monday. A cause of death was not given and a list of survivors was not immediately available.

Mr. Barbata joined the Turtles after leaving his high school band and enjoyed success almost immediately, drumming on the band’s best-known track, “Happy Together,” released in 1967.

“I heard that the Turtles were looking for a drummer, they called me down to the studio to try me out on some session work, the first song we recorded was ‘Happy Together,’” Mr. Barbata wrote on his now defunct website, archived by

“We got it in one take,” he said.

The song spent three weeks at No. 1 and became a pop classic. It’s been performed by acts as varied as Mel Tormé, Weezer, Miley Cyrus and the punk band Simple Plan.

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