Colours (Donovan song)
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UK (Pye) sleeve
|Single by Donovan|
|from the album Fairytale|
|B-side||"To Sing for You" (UK)
|Released||May 28, 1965 (UK)
June 1965 (US)
|Length||2:44 (Side A)
2:46 ("To Sing For You")
|Label||Pye 7N15866 (UK)
Hickory 45-1324 (USA)
|Producer||Terry Kennedy, Peter Eden, Geoff Stephens|
|Donovan UK singles chronology|
"Colours" is a song written and recorded by British singer-songwriter Donovan. The "Colours" single was released in the United Kingdom on May 28, 1965 through Pye Records (Pye 7N 15866) and a few months later in the United States through Hickory Records (Hickory 45-1324). The "Colours" single was backed with "To Sing for You" (previously included on What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid) on the United Kingdom release and "Josie" (from What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid) on the United States release.
Donovan followed up the success of "Catch the Wind" with "Colours", which featured a similar folk style. The single matched the success of "Catch the Wind" in the United Kingdom, reaching No.4 on the charts. In the United States, "Colours" reached No.61 and marked a decline in the artist's popularity relative to "Catch the Wind". A different mix of the song (without harmonica) was released on his second album Fairytale.
When Epic Records was compiling Donovan's Greatest Hits, they were either unable or unwilling to secure the rights to the original recordings of "Catch the Wind" and "Colours". Donovan re-recorded both songs with a full backing band, and the re-recordings were included on the greatest hits album.
A live duet with Joan Baez from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival is included on the 1995 compilation Folk Music at Newport, Part 1. (Baez also included a solo version of "Colours" on her 1965 album Farewell, Angelina.)
In 1968 Van Dyke Parks created a (loose) instrumental adaption of this song titled "Donovan's Colours", which was released as a single (credited to George Washington Brown) and on Parks' first album Song Cycle, respectively. This version features mostly the original chord progression, albeit in completely different ragtime arrangement.
American folk/punk-rock band The Buddies, covered "Colours" on their 2010 EP, Leprechaun to the Right. The line "show me the way to the next whisky bar" from the Doors' "Alabama Song" was added to The Buddies version of "Colours." As well as an ad libbed line, "whiskey's a word i rarely use without thinking of the times that i've been drunk."