Sunshine Superman

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"Sunshine Superman"
Donovan-Sunshine Superman single.jpg
Single by Donovan
from the album Sunshine Superman
B-side"The Trip"
Released1 July 1966 (1966-07-01)
Format7-inch single
Length3:15, 4:34 (extended version)
Producer(s)Mickie Most
Donovan singles chronology
"Remember the Alamo"
"Sunshine Superman"
"Mellow Yellow"

"Sunshine Superman" is a song written and recorded by Donovan. The "Sunshine Superman" single was released in the United States through Epic Records (Epic 5-10045) in July 1966, but due to a contractual dispute the United Kingdom release was delayed until December 1966, where it appeared on Donovan's previous label, Pye Records (Pye 7N 17241). The "Sunshine Superman" single was backed with "The Trip" on both the United States and United Kingdom releases. It has been described as "[one of the] classics of the era,"[1] and as "the quintessential bright summer sing along".[2]

"Sunshine Superman" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and subsequently became the title track of Donovan's third album, Sunshine Superman.[3] Chart positions were No. 1 (US),[3] and No. 2 (UK) (the single was released in December 1966 in the UK). It was Donovan's only single to reach No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100. A different mix of "The Trip" (without harmonica) is also included in the album. It was the first product from the highly successful three-year collaboration between Donovan and producer Mickie Most and is generally considered to be one of the first examples of the musical genre that came to be known as psychedelia.[4] The song features styles of psychedelic folk,[5][6] psychedelic pop[7][8] and folk rock.[9]

Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, later of Led Zeppelin, play on the recording.

In popular culture[edit]

Various incarnations of a Sunshine Superman have appeared in comics produced by DC Comics, the publishers of the Superman character. Writer Grant Morrison referenced the song in a 1990 issue of Animal Man by creating Sunshine Superman, an African American version of Superman whose S-shield is sun-shaped and who was a member of the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld, from a world based on the drug culture of the 1960s.[10] Sunshine Superman and his world were wiped out by the Crisis on Infinite Earths, only to be brought back by the Psycho-Pirate before fading away again. Sunshine Superman returned for a brief, non-speaking cameo in Final Crisis #7, in an army of alternate Supermen.[11] In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, the Dreamworld Earth is reintroduced as Earth-47, where an iteration of Sunshine Superman and the Love Syndicate exist.[12]

A small excerpt of the song is featured in a season 8 episode of the television drama Criminal Minds.

Chart performance[edit]

The Sports version[edit]

"Sunshine Superman"
Single by The Sports
from the album The Sports Play Dylan (and Donovan)
B-side"Cargo Cult"
ReleasedNovember 1981 (1981-11)
Format7" vinyl
StudioAAV Studios, Melbourne
GenrePop rock
LabelMushroom Records
Producer(s)James "Jimbo" Barton
The Sports singles chronology
"When We Go Out Tonight"
"Sunshine Superman"
"Black Stockings (For Chelsea)"

Australian rock band The Sports released a version as the lead single from their extended play album, The Sports Play Dylan (and Donovan). The song peaked at number 22 on the Australian Kent Music Report.[29]

Track listing[edit]

Australian 7" Vinyl K-8497
  • Side A "Sunshine Superman" - 3:11
  • Side B "Cargo Cult" - 2:30


Chart (1981) Position
Australian Kent Music Report 22

Other cover versions[edit]

A French cover version "C'est un secret" was released in 1967 by Jenny Rock.

Folk singer, Jewel, recorded her own cover for the 1996 movie, I Shot Andy Warhol.

Seattle band Telekinesis performed a version of the song in July 2013 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover: Summer Break series.[30]

Punk band Husker Du recorded a fast-paced version of the song on their 1983 album Everything Falls Apart.



  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Donovan's Greatest Hits", Allmusic.
  2. ^ Bush, John (2002). Bogdanov et al., eds. Allmusic guide to rock, p.330. ISBN 0-87930-653-X. Sunshine Superman (US)
  3. ^ a b 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]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  4. ^ "British Psychedelia". Allmusic. 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  5. ^ Davud Burger (23 January 2012). "Sundance music: Donovan to headline BMI Snowball with Dawes". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 18 July 2013. "Donovan will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this spring and is best known for psychedelic folk songs such as "Sunshine Superman" and "Catch the Wind.""
  6. ^ Marvin E. Paymer (1993). Garland Publishing Inc. (ed.). Facts behind the songs: a handbook of American popular music from the nineties to the '90s. p. 248. ISBN 978-0824052409. "[Donovan] later proved himself a talent with the release of his original psychedelic folk [single] "Sunshine Superman""
  7. ^ Robin Bell (13 February 2016). The History of British Rock and Roll: The Beat Boom 1963 - 1966. Robin Bell. p. 263. ISBN 978-91-981916-6-0.
  8. ^ C.Grunenberg and J.Harris, Summer Of Love: Psychedelic Art, Social Crisis And Counterculture In The 1960s, (Liverpool University Press), p.140, ISBN 0853239193
  9. ^ Editors Rolling Stone (8 November 2001). Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll: Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. Touchstone. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-7432-0120-9.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Animal Man #23
  11. ^ Final Crisis #7
  12. ^ Multiversity Guidebook: January 2015
  13. ^ "Sunshine Superman in Australian Chart". Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  14. ^ " – Donovan – Sunshine Superman" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Sunshine Superman in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 28 December 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Sunshine Superman in French Chart" (in French). Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. 18 July 2013. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013. You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Donovan"
  17. ^ "Sunshine Superman in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 18 July 2013. Only one result when searching "Sunshine Superman"
  18. ^ "Indice per Interprete: D". HitParadeItalia (it). Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Donovan" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  20. ^ " – Donovan – Sunshine Superman" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  21. ^ "NZ Listener". Flavour of New Zealand, 4 November 1966. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  22. ^ "1966 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 31st December 1966". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  23. ^ "Donovan awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  24. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, September 3, 1966
  25. ^ " – Donovan – Sunshine Superman". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 26 March 2019. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON Donovan"
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 24, 1966
  29. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 288. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. NOTE: Used for Australian singles and albums charting from 1970 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  30. ^ "Telekinesis covers Donovan". Archived from the original on 20 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.

External links[edit]