Season of the Witch (song)

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"Season of the Witch"
Song by Donovan from the album Sunshine Superman
Released 26 August 1966 (1966-08-26)
Recorded May 1966, Columbia Studios, Hollywood, California
Length 4:46
Label Epic
Writer(s) Donovan
Producer(s) Mickie Most
ISWC T-010.162.798-8

"Season of the Witch" is an early example of psychedelic rock, written by Donovan[3] and first released in September 1966 on his Epic Records (USA) album, Sunshine Superman.

Background and recording[edit]

Although originally written and recorded by Donovan, in the United Kingdom a cover version by The Pandamonium was released as a single in November 1966 (CBS 202462),[4] while Donovan's version was finally released in June 1967 on the Pye Records compilation Sunshine Superman.[citation needed] (The song was never released as a single but it became a very popular song with fans, enough so that Donovan himself played it live more than most of his other hits.)

The recording features Bobby Ray on bass and "Fast" Eddie Hoh on drums.[5] The hauntingly eerie guitar is provided by Jimmy Page, then a noted session guitarist working in England.

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by many artists:

  • Julie Driscoll covered the song in 1967 along with Brian Auger and the Trinity on their album Open.[citation needed]
  • Al Kooper and Stephen Stills covered the song on their album Super Session in 1968; the album's other featured guitarist, Mike Bloomfield, performed a version with Kooper at a New York "Super Session" concert eventually released on disc in 2003 as The Lost Fillmore Concert Tapes 12-13-68, though a subsequent bootleg concert recording features Bloomfield declining requests for the song saying he disliked the song. The Kooper-Stills version has been sampled in a number of hip-hop songs. This version also features "Fast" Eddie Hoh on drums, who played on Donovan's original recording.[citation needed]
  • Sam Gopal covered the song on their album Escalator.
  • The acid rock band Vanilla Fudge achieved mild success with a cover of "Season of the Witch" on their album Renaissance in 1968.
  • Terry Reid performed a ten-minute cover of this song on his 1968 debut album, Bang Bang, You're Terry Reid.
  • Pesky Gee! (pre-Black Widow psychedelic rock band) covered the song on their album Exclamation Mark in 1969.
  • Covered regularly by Alan Hull, Doug Griffin and John the Baptist on N.E. Folk Circuit in 1969-70.
  • South-African psychedelic band Suck recorded a version of the song on their album Time to Suck in 1970.[6]
  • Hole covered "Season of the Witch" during their MTV Unplugged session.[citation needed]
  • Boston band Heretix covered the song on their EP AD in 1990.
  • The alternative rock band Luna released it as a single (1996).
  • The phony 'supergroup' The Masked Marauders performed the song on their lone LP, with vocals by Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger impersonators.
  • A demo of the song appears on Jellyfish's Bellybutton & Spilt Milk Deluxe Reissues as well as the Fan Club (From the Rare to the Unreleased... And Back Again) box set.
  • Covered by Robert Plant several times live. The first was in the medley "That's Why I'm In The Mood" in 1993, and in 1999 when he toured with his short lived project Priory of Brion.
  • Covered By Dr. John on the Blues Brothers 2000 Soundtrack; Dr. John's version plays during the scene in which the band arrives at the swamp lands, and is featured on the soundtrack album.[citation needed]
  • Lou Rawls recorded the song for his 1999 album Brotherman!: Lou Rawls Sings the Hits.
  • Covered by the darkwave band Babylonian Tiles.
  • Covered by Joan Jett on her released-in-Japan album Naked.
  • Covered by Richard Thompson on the Crossing Jordan soundtrack album Jordan Crossing; this version was used in opening sequence of an episode of the television series, Crossing Jordan.
  • Covered by Jenny Devivo on the Hed Kandi Nu Cool 4 album in 2000.
  • Covered by Vanilla Fudge on the album The Return from 2002.
  • Covered by Bobby Hughes (remix from Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper, Stephen Stills Super Session album) in May 2005
  • The Strangelings included a cover of "Season of the Witch" on their album of the same name in 2007.
  • Covered by Karen Elson as a b-side to her first single from her 2010 debut album
  • Covered by poet and musician, Alan Pizzarelli as "Boneyard, Ghoul of the Blues" on his 2010 debut album, Voices from the Grave.
  • Covered by the band Tea Leaf Green many times live.[citation needed]
  • Covered by Mundy.
  • Covered by the Chicago protopunk garage band Little Boy Blues, flip side to their 1967 release "Great Train Robbery".
  • Covered by the folk singer Cindy Lee Berryhill on Straight Out of Marysville 1996.
  • Covered by the Minneapolis-based alternative hip hop artist Astronautalis on the album Gazing with Tranquility: A Tribute to Donovan.

Background music in television and film[edit]


The song's title has been reused for three films:

Season of the Witch was also used as a working title for three different films:

It is also used as the title of four books:

The song title inspired record producer Joe Boyd to name his company Witchseason Productions.[citation needed]


External links[edit]