Season of the Witch (song)
|"Season of the Witch"|
|Song by Donovan|
|from the album Sunshine Superman|
|Released||26 August 1966|
|Recorded||May 1966, Columbia Studios, Hollywood, California|
|Songwriter(s)||Donovan, Shawn Phillips (uncredited)|
Background and recording
Originally recorded by Donovan for U.S. release, a version by The Pandamonium was released in the United Kingdom as a single in November 1966 (CBS 202462), while Donovan's version was finally released in the U.K. in June 1967 on the Pye Records compilation Sunshine Superman. (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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- South-African psychedelic band Suck recorded a version of the song on their album Time to Suck in 1970.
- Hole covered "Season of the Witch" during their MTV Unplugged session.
- 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 time was in the medley "That's Why I'm In The Mood" in 1993; also in 1999, when he toured with his short lived project Priory of Brion and in 2001, when he toured with his (then) backing band Strange Sensation.
- 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.
- Lou Rawls recorded the song for his 1999 album Brotherman!: Lou Rawls Sings the Hits.
- 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 Lovewood on the album Halloween (Live at the Kings Arms) from 2001
- 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 Mundy.
- Covered by the folk singer Cindy Lee Berryhill on Straight Out of Marysville in 1996.
- Covered by the Minneapolis-based alternative hip hop artist Astronautalis on the album Gazing with Tranquility: A Tribute to Donovan.
- Covered by The Stone Coyotes on their album Situation Out Of Control in 2000.
- Covered often by Buzzy Linhart live, as part of "That's the Bag I'm In" as on his album Live at The Cafe Au GoGo (1971).
Background music in television and film
- The song played faintly during a scene in the 1998 TV series From the Earth to the Moon – Episode 2.
- The song appears in the 1978 film More American Graffiti and appears on the soundtrack album as well.
- The song was played over the end credits of the Gus Van Sant film To Die For.
- The song was used repeatedly in the series Crossing Jordan.
- It was featured in the House episode "Words and Deeds".
- It played at the end of the Grimm episode "The Thing with Feathers".
- The song was used in the witchcraft-themed Simpsons episode "Rednecks and Broomsticks".
- The song was featured in the closing of True Blood, cover by Karen Elson, season 4, episode 3, "If You Love Me, Why Am I Dyin'?" (2010).
- It was included in the 2010 film The Other Guys at 1:12 into the film.
- It was used in a 2010 ad for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.
- It was also featured in the HBO documentary Reagan during a montage of footage of demonstrations in California during the late sixties.
- The song is also featured in the first official teaser trailer for the 2012 animated film ParaNorman, and is sung by the cast during a school play.
- The song is on the soundtrack of Tim Burton's Dark Shadows.
- The song appears in the TV show My Name Is Earl on the episode "Witch Lady".
- The song appears in the 2008 film The Wackness.
- The song appears in the 2012 movie Sightseers, performed by Vanilla Fudge.
- The song appears in the 2004 Japanese movie Lakeside Murder Case.
- The song was featured in a 2013 episode of American Horror Story: Coven.
- The song appears in the 2014 film Better Living Through Chemistry.
- The Al Kooper, Stephen Stills cover version of the song appears in episode 10 of the first season of Better Call Saul.
- The original song was played during the episode 8 season 3 of American Horror Story, "The Sacred Taking".
- This song is used in the Hocus Pocus Villain Show at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
- This song is used in Mr. Mercedes, season 1 episode 2 "On Your Mark"
- This song played over the closing credits of episode 3 of Back (2017).
- Donovan's version is used in the end scene for the Riverdale S2E2- Nighthawks.
The song's title has been reused for three films:
- George A. Romero's Season of the Witch (1972)
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
- Dominic Sena's Season of the Witch (2011)
Season of the Witch was also used as a working title for three films:
- Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973)
- Adam McKay's The Other Guys (2010)
- Tim Burton's Dark Shadows (2012)
It is also used as the title of four books:
- Season of the Witch, a 1968 science fiction novel by Hank Stine
- The Season of the Witch, a 1971 novel by James Leo Herlihy
- Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, a 2014 non-fiction book by Peter Bebergal
- Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love, a 2013 non-fiction book about the cultural history of San Francisco, by David Talbot
- Timothy J. O'Brien; David Ensminger (April 2, 2013). Mojo Hand: The Life and Music of Lightnin' Hopkins. University of Texas Press. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-292-75302-0.
- Editors Rolling Stone (November 8, 2001). Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll: Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. Touchstone. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9.
- Gilliland, John (1969). "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" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
- Evans, Rush. "Follow the ever-changing ballad of singer-songwriter Shawn Phillips". Goldmine: The Music Collector's Magazine. GoldmineMag. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
- The Pandamonium releases
- Donovan sessions
- "Time to Suck". AllMusic.com.
- IMDB reference
- Baker, Dann (6 July 2007). "A Few Good White Men". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 12 October 2018.