Sunshine Superman (album)

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Sunshine Superman
Donovan-Sunshine Superman.jpg
Studio album by
Released26 August 1966 (1966-08-26)
RecordedJanuary – May 1966
StudioColumbia Studios, Hollywood
EMI Studios, London
GenrePsychedelic folk
ProducerMickie Most
Donovan chronology
Sunshine Superman
Mellow Yellow
UK version (1967)
Donovan-Sunshine Superman UK.jpg
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[2]
The Independent5/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2.5/5 stars[2]

Sunshine Superman is the third album from British singer-songwriter Donovan. It was released in the US in September 1966,[5] but was not released in the UK because of a contractual dispute. In June 1967, a compilation of the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums was released as Sunshine Superman in the UK. Sunshine Superman was named after Donovan's hit single[6] released in the US in July 1966. The tracks from Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow were not mixed into stereo, with the exception of "Season of the Witch", until the 2011 2-CD deluxe edition issued by UK EMI.

In 2017, Sunshine Superman was ranked the 199th greatest album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.[7]


Whilst still incorporating folk music, these recordings mark a distinct change in Donovan's music, representing some of the first psychedelia released.[citation needed] A full rock band backs up Donovan on many of the songs, and the instrumentation had been expanded, being one of the first pop albums to extensively use the sitar and other unique musical instruments.[8] This change is partially the result of working with producer Mickie Most,[citation needed] whose pop sensibilities led to chart hits for many other artists at the time.

Donovan's lyrics began to encompass his increasing ability to portray "Swinging London" and give listeners an insider's look into the mid-sixties pop scene. He was close to The Beatles and Brian Jones at this time, and he became widely known after "Sunshine Superman" became a chart-topper in the US,[6] and hit number 2 in the UK. Donovan's penchant for name-dropping in songs such as two influenced by his travel to Los Angeles,[6] "The Trip" and "The Fat Angel" (written for Cass Elliot) coupled with his chart success helped elevate him to superstar status. In addition to noting the people in the pop scene, Donovan recorded "Bert's Blues" for his friend and folk music notable Bert Jansch.

Contrasting this modern bent was Donovan's fascination with medieval themes in such songs as "Legend of a Girl Child Linda" (written for Brian Jones' girlfriend Linda Lawrence[citation needed]) and "Guinevere".

Several other songs were recorded for Sunshine Superman, but did not make the cut. These include "Museum" (later rerecorded and released on Mellow Yellow), "Superlungs My Supergirl" (later rerecorded and released on Barabajagal) and "Breezes of Patchulie" (originally called "Darkness of My Night" and released on Donovan's 1964 demo collection Sixty Four). The Sunshine Superman recordings of these songs were all included on Troubadour The Definitive Collection 1964–1976.

In the video for the Beatles' "A Day in the Life", a close up of a spinning turntable shows the Epic Records version of Sunshine Superman playing. The film was shot at the recording sessions for the song, which was included on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

A cover version of "The Fat Angel" was recorded by Jefferson Airplane for their 1968 live album Bless Its Pointed Little Head. Monster Magnet covered "Three King Fishers" (as "Three Kingfishers") on their 2013 album Last Patrol, with a live version included on 2014's Milking the Stars: A Re-Imagining of Last Patrol.

Track listing[edit]

Original album (US)[edit]

All tracks written by Donovan.

Side A
1."Sunshine Superman"3:15
2."Legend of a Girl Child Linda"6:50
3."Three King Fishers"3:16
4."Ferris Wheel"4:12
5."Bert's Blues"3:56
Side B
6."Season of the Witch"4:56
7."The Trip"4:34
9."The Fat Angel"4:11

2005 EMI Reissued CD Version[edit]

11."Breezes of Patchulie"4:34
12."Museum" (First Version)2:50
13."Superlungs" (First Version)3:15
14."The Land of Doesn't Have to Be"2:40
15."Sunshine Superman" (Stereo Version)4:42
16."Good Trip" (Demo)1:35
17."House of Jansch" (Demo)3:45

The UK version[edit]

Due to the contractual dispute between Pye Records and Epic Records, Donovan's releases were held back in the UK throughout 1966 and early 1967. During this time, Donovan released Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow in the US. To catch up to the Epic Records schedule in America, Pye Records compiled a cross-section of both albums and titled it Sunshine Superman.

It was released in the UK (Pye NPL 18181) in June 1967 and reached #25 in the British charts.

Side one

  1. "Sunshine Superman"
  2. "Legend of a Girl Child Linda"
  3. "The Observation"
  4. "Guinevere"
  5. "Celeste"
  6. "Writer in the Sun"

Side two

  1. "Season of the Witch"
  2. "Hampstead Incident"
  3. "Sand and Foam"
  4. "Young Girl Blues"
  5. "Three Kingfishers"
  6. "Bert's Blues"
(Titles in italics are from Mellow Yellow)


  • On 5 October 1990, Epic Records reissued the US version of Sunshine Superman (Epic EK 26217) in the US on compact disc.
  • On 24 October 1994, EMI released Four Donovan Originals (EMI 7243 8 30867 2 6) in the UK. Four Donovan Originals is a compact disc box set containing four Donovan albums that were not previously released in the UK. The US version of Sunshine Superman is disc one of that set.
  • On 7 October 1996, EMI reissued the US version of Sunshine Superman (EMI CDGOLD1066) on compact disc.
  • On 12 March 1998, Beat Goes On Records reissued the UK version of Sunshine Superman (BG0CD 68) in the UK on compact disc.
  • On 24 May 2005, EMI reissued the US version of Sunshine Superman (EMI 8735662) on compact disc in the UK with seven bonus tracks.
  • On 1 October 2018, The state51 Conspiracy reissued Sunshine Superman (CON223LP) in the UK and Ireland on LP.

The 2011 UK Stereo reissue[edit]

In mid-2011, UK EMI issued a 2-CD set containing the entire US album in stereo for the first time.

Disc one (All stereo, tracks 1-10 US album plus bonus tracks)

  1. "Sunshine Superman" - 3:19
  2. "Legend of a Girl Child Linda" - 6:52
  3. "Three Kingfishers" - 3:19
  4. "Ferris Wheel" - 4:13
  5. "Bert's Blues" - 3:59
  6. "Season of the Witch" - 4:58
  7. "The Trip" - 4:38
  8. "Guinevere" - 3:44
  9. "The Fat Angel" - 4:16
  10. "Celeste" - 4:13
  11. "Breezes of Patchuli" - 4:39
  12. "Museum" (First version) - 2:53
  13. "Superlungs" (First version) - 4:14
  14. "The Land of Doesn't Have to Be" - 2:43
  15. "Sunny South Kensington" - 3:57
  16. "Epistle to Dippy" (Early alternative arrangement) - 3:19
  17. "Writer in the Sun" - 4:33
  18. "Hampstead Incident" - 4:51
  19. "Sunshine Superman" - 4:42

Disc two (All mono, 1-12 UK album plus bonus tracks)

  1. "Sunshine Superman" - 3:17
  2. "Legend of a Girl Child Linda" - 6:54
  3. "The Observation" - 2:25
  4. "Guinevere" - 3:42
  5. "Celeste" - 4:12
  6. "Writer in the Sun" - 4:31
  7. "Season of the Witch" - 4:59
  8. "Hampstead Incident" - 4:44
  9. "Sand and Foam" - 3:21
  10. "Young Girl Blues" - 3:48
  11. "Three Kingfishers" - 3:18
  12. "Bert's Blues" - 4:03
  13. "Ferris Wheel" - 4:15
  14. "The Trip" - 4:38
  15. "The Fat Angel" - 4:11


On "Sunshine Superman" and other tracks recorded in England:


  1. ^ Bush, John (2009). "Sunshine Superman [US]". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Donovan Sunshine Superman". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  3. ^ Andy Gill (3 June 2011). "Album: Donovan, Sunshine Superman Stereo Special Edition (EMI) - Reviews - Music". The Independent. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  4. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 355. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Greenblatt, Mike (27 April 2011). "The case for Donovan belonging in the Rock Hall". Goldmine. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  6. ^ a b c 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
  7. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 1960s". Pitchfork. 22 August 2017.
  8. ^ Barry Miles (2009). The British Invasion. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 273. ISBN 978-1-4027-6976-4. Retrieved 14 November 2015.

External links[edit]