After their previous three singles all hit the Top 30 of the pop charts, The Turtles appeared to be a roll. However this song was to be the first of several flops until "Happy Together" put them back on track.
Vocalist Howard Kaylan told Mojo magazine October 2009 the story behind this song: "After 'You Baby' had become our third national hit in a row, we were feeling pretty cocky as a band. The Beatles were doing drugs and experimenting with Indian instruments - we could too. So we did. Al Nichol and Chuck Portz put together this 5/4 jazz raga with ridiculous lyrics and, as a band, we fought for its release. But of course the record was just too weird to be a mainstream hit. In fact, I'm still shocked that it did as well as it did. It broke our cycle of Top 30 hits, and we didn't rebound until 'Happy Together' a year later."
The Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" was written by the Motown team of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland. The phrase "Sugar pie, honey bunch" was something Dozier's grandfather used to say when he was a kid.