Top 10 Donovan Songs

Donovan Songs

Photo: Joost Evers / Anefo [CC0]

Our Top 10 Donovan songs list presents 10 great Donovan songs released during his mid to late 1960s period. The 1960s were Donovan’s most successful commercial period. However, Donovan did not stop releasing singles and albums after his string of number one hits had ended. Throughout the course of his career, Donovan (Donovan Leitch) has released twenty nine studio albums, eight live albums, and thirty three singles. His record companies that he has recorded for have gone overboard with the compilations as Donovan has almost seventy compilation albums released in his name.

# 10 – Riki Tiki Tavi

We open up our top 10 Donovan songs list with the great track “Riki Tiki Tavi.” The song was released on the album Open Road. It was Donovan’s eighth studio album. The record was released in 1970.

# 9 -Poorman’s Sunshine

While most of the Donovan songs that are on this list will hail from the 1960s, one of the songs we have chosen for this article stems from the 2000s. In 2004, Donovan released his twenty third studio album. The album entitled Beat Cafe presented Donovan fans with twelve great new original songs. The fantastic song “Poorman’s Sunshine” which was obviously a play on the words “Sunshine Superman,” was placed as the second track on the LP. This is a great one!

# 8 -Turquoise

Continuing with our top 10 Donovan songs we turn to the singer’s great single “Turquoise.” The single was released in 1967. It had followed a string of very successful singles including “Catch the Wind,” “Colours,” and “The Universal Soldier.”

# 7 – Universal Soldier

The 1960’s song “Universal Soldier” was originally recorded by Buffy Sainte-Marie who had also composed the song. It was not a commercial hit for Buffy Sainte-Marie, but its message did strike a chord with other musical artists including Donovan. He would record the song and have great success with it in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

# 6 -Colours

Donovan’s song “Colours,” serves as the follow up single to Donovan’s debut release “Catch The Wind.” The song reached the United Kingdom’s top 10. The song was released in 1965.

# 5 -There Is a Mountain

As we enter the second half of our Top 10 Donovan songs list we turn to the classic Donovan song “There Is a Mountain.” The song was released as a single in 1967. The song became a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom. It was also a top 20 hit in the United States. The song inspired the classic Allman Brothers Band song “Mountain Jam,” which was originally released on the Eat A Peach album.

# 4 – Catch The Wind

Donovan’s song “Catch the Wind,” was the songwriter’s first single release of his career. The song was released in 1965. The song became a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom and Australia. It was a top 40 hit in the United States. “Catch the Wind,” has become one of the most covered songs in the Donovan catalog. It has been covered by hundreds of artists including Sammy Hagar, Bruce Springsteen’s first band The Castiles, The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs and Rickie Lee Jones.

# 3 -Hurdy Gurdy Man

I wonder how many rock and roll fans since the 1960s have tried to figure out the meaning behind “Hurdy Gurdy.” The song was originally written by Donovan for his friends band called Hurdy Gurdy. However, Donovan decided to record it himself. It was a smart move because it became one of Donovan’s biggest hits. The song hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. making it Donovan’s third and final top 10 hit in the United States.

# 2 – Mellow Yellow

Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow,” has always been one of his most popular songs. The song “Mellow Yellow,” was originally released as a single in 1966. The song hit number two on the United States Billboard Hot 100. It was eventually released on Donovan’s fourth album also entitled Mellow Yellow. The album was never released in the United Kingdom.

Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones played bass on the track “Mellow Yellow,”. Legendary jazz guitarist John McLaughlin played rhythm guitar on the song. Paul McCartney also contributed backing vocals on the record although he was not given credit for it.

# 1 – Sunshine Superman / Season Of The Witch

We close out our Top 10 Donovan songs list with a tie between the great Donovan songs “Sunshine Superman, ” and “Season of the Witch.”

The song “Sunshine Superman, ” was a huge hit for Donovan. The song “Sunshine Superman” hit number one on The United States Billboard Top 100 in 1966. It also hit number one on the Cash Box Hot 100 in the United States. Donovan came close to number ONE in the United Kingdom also as the song hit number two in the U.K. The song was first released as a single but then was eventually released on the album Sunshine Superman.

A fun fact about the song “Sunshine Superman” is that half of Led Zeppelin or what would become Led Zeppelin played on the song. Future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones played on the recording. Not doesn’t that just make this song even more cool!

“Season of the Witch,” was never released as a single. However it’s become one of the most famous classic rock songs of all time. It had been covered by many artists. The standout cover version was done by Al Kooper and released on the legendary Super Session album that also featured Stephen Stills, Mike Bloomfield and Harvey Brooks.

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