Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Donovan: Sunshine Superman 1966 (Stereo Special Edition) 2011 + Greatest Hits 1969

Donovan Phillips Leitch (born 10 May 1946) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist. He

developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz, pop, psychedelic rock, and world music (notably calypso). He has lived in Scotland, Hertfordshire (England), London, California, and since at least 2008 in County Cork, Ireland, with his family. Emerging from the British folk scene, Donovan reached fame in the United Kingdom in early 1965 with live performances on the pop TV series Ready Steady Go!.
A sensitive Celtic folk-poet with an adventurous musical mind, he was a key figure on the British scene during its creative explosion in the mid-sixties. He wrote and recorded some of the decade’s most memorable songs, including “Catch the Wind,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” and “Atlantis.” He charted a dozen Top Forty hits in the U.S. and a nearly equal number in the U.K.

His songs have been covered by some two hundred artists, notably Jefferson Airplane (“The Fat Angel”), Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield, and Stephen Stills (“Season of the Witch”), and the Allman Brothers Band (whose “Mountain Jam” was based on Donovan’s “There Is a Mountain”)
. Beyond all that, he was a gentle spirit who sang unforgettably of peace, love, enlightenment, wild scenes, and magical visions.
His most successful singles were the early UK hits "Catch the Wind", "Colours" and "Universal Soldier" in 1965, written by Buffy Sainte-Marie. In September 1966 "Sunshine Superman" topped America's Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week and went to number two in Britain, followed by "Mellow Yellow" at US No. 2 in December 1966, then 1968's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" in the Top 5 in both countries, then "Atlantis", which reached US No. 7 in May 1969.

He became a friend of pop musicians including Joan Baez, Brian Jones and the Beatles. He taught John Lennon a finger-picking guitar style in 1968 that Lennon employed in "Dear Prudence", "Julia", "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" and other songs. Donovan's commercial fortunes waned after parting with Most in 1969, and he left the industry for a time.
Donovan continued to perform and record sporadically in the 1970s and 1980s. His musical style and hippie image were scorned by critics, especially after punk rock.

It is now history that Donovan became the tutor of The Beatles on the famous trip to India, where he taught John, Paul and George the finger style guitar and many of his unique chord patterns, that would create many of the best songs and styles of The White Album.
Most notable John’s ‘ Dear Prudence ‘ and ‘ Julia ‘ (which John asked Donovan to help him write), Paul’s ‘ Blackbird ‘ , George’s ‘ While My Guitar Gently Weeps ‘ and many others on The White Album.
George in The Beatles Anthology said, “Donovan is all over The White Album”.

Donovan encouraged and nurtured Harrisons’ songwriting , in particular teaching George Donovan’s other secret descending chord patterns that he did not share with John or Paul, patterns which resulted in George writing the hugely successful song ‘ Something ‘ .

And yet Donovan is much more than the creator of the first Psychedelic Album, "Sunshine Superman" announced Flower Power for the first time and presented to the world the first World Music fusions of

Folk, Classical, Jazz, Indian, Gaelic , Arabic and Caribbean. At the age of 16 Donovan set his artist vision, to return Poetry to Popular Culture and he has done so on a worldwide scale. He was 4 years younger than The Beatles, Dylan and The Rolling Stones when he achieved all this. As if this is not enough to say, he is chiefly responsible for introducing meditation and Eastern Philosophy into Modern Lifestyle and songwriting.
As highly influential and successful as Sunshine Superman album was , Donovan had already scored 4 Top Twenty singles, E.P.’s and two albums in his so-called ‘Folk Period’ of early 1965. Donovan received the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for his very first song Catch The Wind, at 18 years young.

In his first work in early 1965 the seeds of what was to come were sown. This was evident on his Classical – Jazz fusion track on his ‘Fairytale’ album of that year, ‘Sunny Goodge Street’. The lyric was first to describe the coming Bohemian Invasion of popular culture, the return of Gaelic Mythology and True Meditation as the door to The Source. Donovan was oddly compared to Bob Dylan when it was Woody Guthrie that both Donovan and Dylan emulated in their first work. The true similarity between them is that they are Poets of the highest Order.

It cannot be overstated that Donovan has displayed the widest variety of songwriting skill, surpassing any songwriter one can name today. The sheer range of his accomplishment is Bardic, empowering our human journey through all stages of life and, most importantly, he displays a Poets’ true vocation, reuniting us with The Source.

Donovan in his songs of innocence, has been compared to Blake ,his metaphysical songs to Donne and Herbert, his Gaelic – Celtic songs to Yeats, his children’s songs to Stevenson, his Nonsense songs to Carroll and Lear, his Yoga songs to the Vedic Hymns, his Jazz Classical compositions to Ellington and Lewis, his poetic public appeal to Auden. He also is attributed with writing the first ‘Green Songs’ highlighting the threat to the Ecosystem of our Planet Earth.

Sunshine Superman is his third album. It was released in the US in September 1966, but was not

released in the UK because of a contractual dispute. In June 1967, a compilation of the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums was released as Sunshine Superman in the UK. Sunshine Superman was named after Donovan's hit single released in the US in July 1966. The tracks from Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow were not mixed into stereo, with the exception of "Season of the Witch", until the 2011 2-CD deluxe edition issued by UK EMI.

In 2017, Sunshine Superman was ranked the 199th greatest album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.

Donovan ‎– Sunshine Superman (Stereo Special Edition)
Label: EMI ‎– 50999-029095-2-3
Format: 2 × CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered 2011
Country: UK & Europe
Released: 1966
Genre: Rock
Style: Folk Rock, Pop Rock

The 2011 UK Stereo reissue.
In mid-2011, UK EMI issued a 2-CD set containing the entire US album in stereo for the first time.

DISC ONE (All stereo, tracks 1-10 US album plus bonus tracks)
     New US Version Stereo Album

01. Sunshine Superman     3:19
02. Legend Of A Girl Child Linda (Arranged By – John Cameron)  6:52
03. Three Kingfishers     3:19
04. Ferris Wheel     4:13
05. Bert's Blues  (Arranged By – John Cameron)  3:59
06. Season Of The Witch     4:58
07. The Trip     4:38
08. Guinevere     3:44
09. The Fat Angel     4:18
10. Celeste     4:13

Bonus Tracks

Breezes Of Patchuli     4:39
12. Museum (1st Version)     2:53
13. Superlungs (1st Version, Unissued Alternative Take)     4:14
14. The Land Of Doesn't Have To Be     2:43
15. Sunny South Kensington     3:57
16. Epistle To Dippy (Early Alternative Arrangement)     3:12

UK Sunshine Superman Stereo Tracks

17. Writer In The Sun     4:33
18. Hampstead Incident     4:51
19. Sunshine Superman (Long Version)     4:42

MP3 @ 320 Size: 181 MB
Flac  Size: 434 MB


(All mono, 1-12 UK album plus bonus tracks) Original UK Mono Album

01. Sunshine Superman     3:17
02. Legend Of A Girl Child Linda     6:54
03. The Observation     2:25
04. Guinevere     3:42
05. Celeste     4:12
06. Writer In The Sun     4:31
07. Season Of The Witch     4:59
08. Hampstead Incident     4:44
09. Sand And Foam     3:21
10. Young Girl Blues     3:48
11. Three Kingfishers     3:18
12. Bert's Blues     4:03

US Sunshine Superman Mono

13. Ferris Wheel     4:15
14. The Trip     4:38
15. The Fat Angel     4:11

MP3 @ 320 Size: 142 MB
Flac  Size: 312 MB

Donovan – vocals, guitar, organ
Bobby Ray – bass guitar
Eddie Hoh – drums
Shawn Phillips – sitar

On "Sunshine Superman" and other tracks recorded in England:

Donovan – vocals, acoustic guitar
Jimmy Page, Eric Ford – electric guitar
John Cameron – keyboards, arrangement
Spike Heatley – bass guitar
Bobby Orr – drums
Tony Carr – percussion


Donovan's Greatest Hits is a distinct entry in Donovan's discography for several reasons. First, it collects three singles that were previously unreleased on any album: "Epistle to Dippy"; "There Is a

Mountain"; and "Laléna." It also presents the unedited "Sunshine Superman" (one minute and fifteen seconds longer than the original 1966 single and LP release), and most of the songs appear for the first time in stereo. Lastly, Donovan's Greatest Hits contains re-recordings of "Catch the Wind" and "Colours" with Big Jim Sullivan playing guitar, John Paul Jones on bass and keyboards and Clem Cattini on drums. Epic Records could not obtain the right to release the original recordings of these two songs, so Donovan recorded new versions in May 1968 with a full backing band and a lavish production by Mickie Most.


Donovan's Greatest Hits marked the high point of Donovan's popularity in both the United States and United Kingdom. It also most likely had the effect of keeping many of Donovan's recordings on the shelf to avoid oversaturating the market. Nearly all of Donovan's next studio album was already recorded by the time of this release but remained unreleased until August 1969.


01. Epistle To Dippy     3:08
02. Sunshine Superman     4:32
03. There Is A Mountain   2:33
04. Jennifer Juniper     2:40
05. Wear Your Love Like Heaven     2:23
06. Season Of The Witch     4:54
07. Mellow Yellow     3:37
08. Colours     4:10
Hurdy Gurrdy Man     3:15
10. Catch The Wind     5:01
11. Lalena     2:54

MP3 @ 320 Size: 91 MB
Flac  Size: 244 MB