Sunshine Superman (album)

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Sunshine Superman
Studio album by Donovan
Released 26 August 1966
Recorded January – May 1966
Columbia Recording Studios, Hollywood
EMI Studios, London
Genre Folk rock, psychedelic rock, raga rock, psychedelic pop[1]
Length 42:59
Label Epic LN24217 (Mono)/ BN26217 (Rechanneled Stereo)
Producer Mickie Most
Donovan chronology
Fairytale
(1965)
Sunshine Superman
(1966)
Mellow Yellow
(1967)
UK version (1967)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [2]
Sputnik Music 5/5 stars [3]
Independent 5/5 stars [4]

Sunshine Superman is the third album from British singer-songwriter Donovan. It was released in the US in September 1966,[5] 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[6] released in the US in July 1966. (Most of the tracks from this and the Mellow Yellow albums were not mixed into stereo, with the exception of those marked + below, until the 2011 2-CD deluxe edition issued by UK EMI).

History[edit]

These recordings mark a distinct change in Donovan's music, representing some of the first psychedelia released. A full rock band backs up Donovan on many of the songs, and the instrumentation has been expanded to include sitar and other unique musical instruments. This change is partially the result of working with producer Mickie Most, whose pop sensibilities led to chart hits for many other artists at the time.

Donovan's lyrics began to encompass his increasing ability to portray "Swinging London" and give listeners an insider's look into the mid-sixties pop scene. He was known to be close to The Beatles and Brian Jones at this time, and he became widely known after "Sunshine Superman" became a chart-topper in the US,[6] and hit #2 in the UK. Donovan's penchant for name-dropping in songs such as two influenced by his travel to Los Angeles,[6] "The Trip" and "The Fat Angel" (written for Mama Cass) coupled with his chart success helped elevate him to superstar status. In addition to noting the people in the pop scene, Donovan recorded "Bert's Blues" for his friend and folk music notable Bert Jansch.

Contrasting this modern bent was Donovan's fascination with medieval themes in such songs as "Legend of a Girl Child Linda" (written for Brian Jones' girlfriend Linda Lawrence) and "Guinevere". The rich descriptions of colour and environment that Donovan developed in individual songs on Fairytale were now evident throughout his writing.

Several other songs were recorded for Sunshine Superman, but did not make the cut. These include "Museum" (later rerecorded and released on Mellow Yellow), "Superlungs My Supergirl" (later rerecorded and released on Barabajagal) and "Breezes of Patchulie" (originally called "Darkness of My Night" and released on Donovan's 1964 demo collection Sixty Four). The Sunshine Superman recordings of these songs were all included on Troubadour The Definitive Collection 1964–1976.

In the video for the Beatles' "A Day in the Life", a close up of a spinning turntable shows the Epic Records version of Sunshine Superman playing. The film was shot at the recording sessions for the song, which was included on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

A cover version of "The Fat Angel" was recorded by Jefferson Airplane for their 1968 live album Bless Its Pointed Little Head.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Donovan Leitch.

Original album (US)[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Sunshine Superman" (Single edit) – 3:15
  2. "Legend of a Girl Child Linda" – 6:50
  3. "Three King Fishers" – 3:16
  4. "Ferris Wheel" – 4:12
  5. "Bert's Blues" – 4:00

Side two[edit]

  1. "Season of the Witch" – 4:56+
  2. "The Trip" – 4:34
  3. "Guinevere" – 3:41
  4. "The Fat Angel" – 4:11
  5. "Celeste" – 4:08

2005 EMI version (UK) bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Breezes of Patchulie" – 4:35
  2. "Museum" – 2:52
  3. "Superlungs" – 3:17
  4. "Land of Doesn't Have to Be" – 2:42
  5. "Sunshine Superman" – 4:44+
  6. "Good Trip" – 1:37
  7. "House of Jansch" – 3:47

The UK version[edit]

Due to the contractual dispute between Pye Records and Epic Records, Donovan's releases were held back in the UK throughout 1966 and early 1967. During this time, Donovan released Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow in the US. To catch up to the Epic Records schedule in America, Pye Records compiled a cross-section of both albums and titled it Sunshine Superman.

It was released in the UK (Pye NPL 18181) in June 1967 and reached #25 in the British charts.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Sunshine Superman"
  2. "Legend of a Girl Child Linda"
  3. "The Observation"
  4. "Guinevere"
  5. "Celeste"
  6. "Writer in the Sun"

Side two[edit]

  1. "Season of the Witch"
  2. "Hampstead Incident"
  3. "Sand and Foam"
  4. "Young Girl Blues"
  5. "Three Kingfishers"
  6. "Bert's Blues"
(Titles in italics are from Mellow Yellow)

Reissues[edit]

  • On 5 October 1990, Epic Records reissued the US version of Sunshine Superman (Epic EK 26217) in the US on compact disc.
  • On 24 October 1994, EMI released Four Donovan Originals (EMI 7243 8 30867 2 6) in the UK. Four Donovan Originals is a compact disc box set containing four Donovan albums that were not previously released in the UK. The US version of Sunshine Superman is disc one of that set.
  • On 7 October 1996, EMI reissued the US version of Sunshine Superman (EMI CDGOLD1066) on compact disc.
  • On 12 March 1998, Beat Goes On Records reissued the UK version of Sunshine Superman (BG0CD 68) in the UK on compact disc.
  • On 24 May 2005, EMI reissued the US version of Sunshine Superman (EMI 8735662) on compact disc in the UK with seven bonus tracks.

The 2011 UK Stereo reissue[edit]

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

Disc one[edit]

(All stereo, tracks 1-10 US album plus bonus tracks)

  1. "Sunshine Superman!" - 3:19
  2. "Legend to a Girl Child Linda" - 6:52
  3. "Three Kingfishers" - 3:19
  4. "Ferris Wheel" - 4:13
  5. "Bert's Blues" - 3:59
  6. "Season of the Witch" - 4:58
  7. "The Trip" - 4:38
  8. "Guinevere" - 3:44
  9. "The Fat Angel" - 4:16
  10. "Celeste" - 4:13
  11. "Breezes of Patchuli" - 4:39
  12. "Museum (First version)" - 2:53
  13. "Superlungs (First version)" - 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)" - 3:19
  17. "Writer in the Sun" - 4:33
  18. "Hampstead Incident" - 4:51
  19. "Sunshine Superman" - 4:42

Disc two[edit]

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

  1. "Sunshine Superman" - 3:17
  2. "Legend to a Girl Child Linda" - 6:54
  3. "The Observation" - 2:25
  4. "Guinevere" - 3:42
  5. "Celeste" - 4:12
  6. "Writer in the Sun" - 4:31
  7. "Season of the Witch" - 4:59
  8. "Hampstead Incident" - 4:44
  9. "Sand and Foam" - 3:21
  10. "Young Girl Blues" - 3:48
  11. "Three Kingfishers" - 3:18
  12. "Bert's Blues" - 4:03
  13. "Ferris Wheel" - 4:15
  14. "The Trip" - 4:38
  15. "The Fat Angel" - 4:11

Personnel[edit]

On "Sunshine Superman":

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bush, John (2009). "Sunshine Superman (album)". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  2. ^ John Bush. "Sunshine Superman [US] - Donovan | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  3. ^ "Donovan - Sunshine Superman (album review )". Sputnikmusic. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  4. ^ Andy Gill (2011-06-03). "Album: Donovan, Sunshine Superman Stereo Special Edition (EMI) - Reviews - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  5. ^ Greenblatt, Mike (27 April 2011). "The case for Donovan belonging in the Rock Hall". Goldmine. Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Show 48 - The British are Coming! The British are Coming!: With an emphasis on Donovan, the Bee Gees and the Who. [Part 5] : UNT Digital Library

External links[edit]