There Is a Mountain

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"There Is a Mountain"
Single by Donovan
B-side "Sand and Foam"
Released Aug 1967 (USA)
October 1967 (UK)
Format 7" single
Recorded July 1967, CBS Studios, London
Genre Psychedelic pop
Label Epic 5-10212 (USA)
Pye 7N17403 (UK)
Writer(s) Donovan Leitch
Producer(s) Mickie Most
Donovan (UK) chronology
"Mellow Yellow"
"There Is a Mountain"
"Jennifer Juniper"
Donovan (USA) chronology
"Epistle to Dippy"
"There Is a Mountain"
"Wear Your Love Like Heaven"

"There Is a Mountain" is a song and single by British singer/songwriter Donovan,[1] released in 1967. It charted in the USA (Billboard: No.11) and UK (No.8).

Featured musicians are Donovan (vocals and acoustic guitar), Tony Carr on percussion, Harold McNair on flute and arrangement and Danny Thompson on bass.

Chart positions: # 11 (USA Billboard), # 9 (USA Cashbox), # 11 (USA Record World), # 8 (UK)

The Allman Brothers Band's "Mountain Jam" (from Eat a Peach, 1972) is a long, improvised jam song based on this song.

The Allman Brothers were inspired to improvise on "There is a Mountain" after hearing the Grateful Dead jam on the song's main riff. The Dead can be heard quoting a few bars of "There Is a Mountain" in their song "Alligator," from the Dead's Anthem of the Sun album, released in 1968. An example of the Dead jamming live on the "There Is a Mountain" riff can be heard at the 4:53 mark on the version of "Alligator" they performed at their Aug. 21, 1968 show at the Fillmore West. The song was also covered by Dandy Livingstone on his album Rocksteady with Dandy (1967, Giant)

The lyrics refer to a Buddhist saying originally formulated by Qingyuan Weixin, later translated by D.T. Suzuki in his Essays in Zen Buddhism, one of the first books to popularize Buddhism in Europe and the US. Qingyuan writes

Before I had studied Chan (Zen) for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it's just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and rivers once again as rivers.[2]

Kenny Loggins covered the tune in 2009 with his youngest daughter Hana on his album All Join In.

Dandy Livingstone covered the song in 1967.


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Buddhism & Science: A Guide for the Perplexed Donald S. Lopez, P. 227

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