Its writing was co-credited to the five members of the band, Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, Al Nichol, Jim Pons and John Barbata. The song was written as a satire of one of their earlier pop hits, "Happy Together".
By 1968, The Turtles had had a number of successful pop records on the White Whale label, including Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe", "Happy Together" and "She'd Rather Be With Me", both written by Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon. The band members wanted to diversify their musical output, in parallel with more innovative musical groups of the time, and to record their own material. However, their record company were reluctant to allow them to do so.
As a demonstration of their musical versatility, The Turtles recorded the album ...the Battle of the Bands, which featured performances in a wide variety of different musical styles. The band recorded "Elenore" as a parody of the type of happy-go-lucky pop songs they themselves had been performing, but with deliberately clichéed and slapdash lyrics such as: "Your looks intoxicate me/ Even though your folks hate me/ There's no-one like you, Elenore, really"; and "Gee, I think you're swell/ And you really do me well/ You're my pride and joy, et cetera.."