Sunshine Superman as Performed by Donovan (1966)

Donovan – Sunshine Superman (1966)

“Sunshine Superman” is one of my favorite Donovan tunes besides “Atlantis”, “Mellow Yellow” “Wear Your Love Like Heaven”.  It took me a while to decide which one to post today. All have sing-song hooks that keep the song long in your mind long after you have listened to it.

The 1966 number one pop hit “Sunshine Superman” won out. Composed by Scottish born Donovan Phillips Leitch, this catchy tune is a great example of what was called “Psychedelic Pop” of the era. It may have been a product of the hippie/flower-power movement —  but it sure just sounds like good music today!

Donovan began his musical journey when he recorded his first demo at age 18. Right after that, in 1965, he became a regular on the UK television pop showcase Ready, Steady, Go! performing live on the show (although most of the other artists lip synched). Next he issued his debut single “Catch the Wind” that became a hit for him and the rest is musical history as the proverbial “they” might say!

Americans met folk singer/songwriter Donovan when her appeared at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

By 1966, Donovan had shed the overt Dylan/Guthrie influences and become one of the first British pop musicians to adopt a “flower power” image. More importantly, his music was developing and changing rapidly as he immersed himself in jazz, blues, Eastern music, and the new generation of US West Coast bands such as Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. He was now entering his most creative and original phase as a songwriter and recording artist, working in close collaboration with Mickie Most and especially with arranger, musician, and jazz fan John Cameron.

Their first collaboration was “Sunshine Superman”. One of the first overtly psychedelic pop records, it was an innovative and eclectic blend of folk, rock, pop and jazz. The arrangement was augmented by prominent harpsichord, and set against a funky conga-driven backbeat. It also contained subtle but unmistakable references to LSD — notably, the line, “I could’ve tripped out easy, but I’ve changed my ways”. (SOURCE)

The LP [also titled “Sunshine Superman”] followed [in August,] preceded by advance orders of 250,000 copies, and reached 11 on the US album charts.

The US version of the Sunshine Superman LP is probably the best, most consistent, and durable of Donovan’s albums; it remains one of the keynote records of the psychedelic era. It features some of Donovan’s strongest material in restrained but imaginative chamber-style folk-jazz arrangements. It also features an eclectic range of instruments including acoustic bass, sitar, saxophone, tablas and congas, harpsichord, strings and oboe. Highlights include the swinging “The Fat Angel”, which (Donovan’s book confirms) was written for “Mama” Cass Elliott of The Mamas and the Papas. The song is also notable for name checking the cult San Francisco acid rock band Jefferson Airplane, well before they became known internationally. Other notable tracks include “Bert’s Blues” (a tribute to guitar hero Bert Jansch), the stately “Guinevere”, and “Legend of a Girl Child Linda”, an innovative track featuring voice, acoustic guitar and a small orchestra, and which runs for over six minutes.

The album is also probably the first pop recording to feature extensive use of the sitar, which was played by American folk singer Shawn Phillips. (SOURCE)

Sunshine Superman – Composed by Donovan

Sunshine came softly through my a-window today
Could’ve tripped out easy a-but I’ve a-changed my ways
It’ll take time, I know it but in a while
You’re gonna be mine, I know it, we’ll do it in style
‘Cause I made my mind up you’re going to be mine

I’ll tell you right now
Any trick in the book now, baby, all that I can find
Everybody’s hustlin’ just to have a little scene
When I say we’ll be cool I think that you know what I mean
We stood on a beach at sunset, do you remember when?
I know a beach where, baby, a-it never ends
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine

Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm
I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
‘Cause I made my mind up you’re going to be mine
I’ll tell you right now
Any trick in the book now, baby, all that I can find

Superman or Green Lantern ain’t got a-nothin’ on me
I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea, yeah!
A you-you-you can just sit there a-thinking on your velvet throne
’bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine
I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine

I’ll pick up your hand
I’ll pick up your hand

You may read more details on Donovan’s musical journey by clicking on the (SOURCE) links above.

Donovan’s Official Web Site is currently under construction but there is some information there under “News”.

Thanks for stopping by.

NOTE: This is Wednesdays intended post. My DSL has been down since Wednesday am. The story can be found here. I am so sorry for the delay.


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