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Single by Donovan
B-side"Aye My Love"
ReleasedOctober 1968
Format7",45 rpm
RecordedSeptember 1968
LabelEpic Records
Producer(s)Mickie Most
Donovan USA singles chronology
"Hurdy Gurdy Man"
"Do You Hear Me Now?"
Song by Deep Purple
from the album Deep Purple
Released21 June 1969 (US)
November 1969 (UK)
RecordedJanuary - March 1969 at De Lane Lea, London
LabelHarvest Records (UK)
Tetragrammaton (US)
Polydor (Canada)
Producer(s)Derek Lawrence

"Laléna" (also spelled "Lalena") is the title of a composition by Donovan for whom it was a Top 40 single in the autumn of 1968, reaching #33 on the Hot 100 in Billboard.


In 2004, Donovan revealed that the song was inspired by the actress Lotte Lenya and that the song's lyrics, addressed to a societally marginalized woman, were Donovan's reaction to Lenya's character in the film version of The Threepenny Opera:

"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.

Donovan's performed the song on December 8, 1968, on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,[2] along with two other tunes: "Happiness Runs" and "I Love My Shirt".[3]

"Laléna" made its first album appearance in 1969 on Donovan's Greatest Hits and was a bonus track on the 2005 CD reissue of The Hurdy Gurdy Man.

In 1975 Donovan recorded a version of the song with Marc Bolan in Munich which has been lost.[4][5]

In 1978 a bootleg emerged which featured Donovan performing the song 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.[6]

Other versions[edit]

The song has also been recorded by Deep Purple on their 1969 Deep Purple album, as well as by Helena Vondráčková (in Czech) on her 1970 album Ostrov Heleny Vondráčkové, and by Jane Olivor on her 1977 album Chasing Rainbows. Trini Lopez recorded a cover of the song on his album The Whole Enchilada.


  1. ^ "Laléna". Donovan Unofficial. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  2. ^ Season 3, Episode 8, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour – Best of Season 3 (Time Life).
  3. ^ "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967–1970) : Episode #3.7". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  4. ^ "Interview: Donovan – Hit Channel". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  5. ^ "Index of /~ikocmarek/". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  6. ^ John C. Winn That Magic Feeling: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy Vol Two 1966-1970 (2009) ISBN 978-0-307-45239-9 p.225

External links[edit]