|Single by Donovan|
|B-side||"Aye My Love"|
|Donovan USA singles chronology|
|Single by Deep Purple|
|from the album Deep Purple|
|Released||21 June 1969 (US)
November 1969 (UK)
|Recorded||January - March 1969 at De Lane Lea, London|
|Label||Harvest Records (UK)
In 2004 Donovan would reveal that the song was entitled for the actress Lotte Lenya and that the song's lyric, addressed to a societally marginalized woman, was Donovan's reaction to Lenya's character in the film version of The Threepenny Opera: "she's a streetwalker, but in the history of the world, in all nations, women have taken on various roles from priestess to whore to mother to maiden to wife. This guise of sexual power is very prominent, and therein I saw the plight of the character. Women have roles thrust upon them and make the best they can out of them, so I'm describing the character Lotte Lenya is playing, and a few other women I've seen during my life, but it's a composite character of women who are outcasts on the edge of society."
"Laléna" was recorded in a September 1968 session at Olympic Studios produced by Mickie Most, session personnel being Harold McNair on flute, Bobby Orr on drums, Danny Thompson on bass with the Royal Philharmonic strings; John Cameron was the arranger. Donovan was not working toward an album when he recorded "Laléna", having completed the tracks which would comprise his The Hurdy Gurdy Man album in April 1968; that album and the single "Laléna" both were issued in the US in October 1968 (Donovan was at this time unable to have product released in the UK due to a contractual dispute). The single was also a hit in France reaching #22.
"Laléna" made its first album appearance in 1969 on Donovan's Greatest Hits and was a bonus track on the 2005 CD release of The Hurdy Gurdy Man.
In 1978 a bootleg emerged which featured Donovan performing "Laléna" in a studio with Paul McCartney on acoustic guitar: this tape was likely made November 1968 at EMI Studios London where McCartney was producing tracks for Mary Hopkin's Postcard, an album on which Donovan played guitar.
The song has also been recorded by Deep Purple on their 1969 Deep Purple album, by Helena Vondráčková (in Czech) on her 1970 album Ostrov Heleny Vondráčkové and by Jane Olivor on her 1977 album Chasing Rainbows.
- A televised performance of Donovan's "Laléna" included with Season 3, Episode 8 (Original Air Date: 12/08/1968) on the DVD: "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour – Best of Season 3": 2 other Donovan tunes: "Happiness Runs", "I Love My Shirt".
- John C. Winn That Magic Feeling: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy Vol Two 1966-1970 (2009) ISBN 978-0-307-45239-9 p.225
- Lalena (Single) - Donovan Unofficial Site
- "Laléna" at Discogs (list of releases)
- http://www.sabotage.demon.co.uk/donovan/disco/singles.htm Donovan discography