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#AbbeyRoad85 Track Highlight: Donovan’s Sunshine Superman

#AbbeyRoad85 Track Highlight: Donovan’s Sunshine Superman

10th May 2017

To celebrate 85 years of music at Abbey Road Studios, we launched three playlists on Spotify and Apple Music of tracks recorded over the years in Studio One, Studio Two and Studio Three.

As the playlists continue to grow, we are sharing the stories behind some of the most famous recordings.

Donovan’s title track for his third album psychedelic singalong masterpiece Sunshine Superman could not have dropped at a better time when it was released in the US at the start of Summer on 1st July 1966, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and giving the Scottish singer-songwriter his first ever #1 record.

Due to a contractual dispute it would be another 5 months before it was released in the UK, where it still fared well nonetheless entering the singles charts at #2.

A melting pot of rock, pop and folk beneath Donovan’s trademark whimsical vocal line, the track was recorded on Sunday 19th December 1966 between 2pm and 5pm in Studio Three at Abbey Road by some unusually high profile session musicians, including future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones on guitar and bass respectively.

The first of a string of collaborations between Donovan and producer Mickie Most, with its kaleidoscopic lyrics and colourful instrumentation it is widely considered to be one of the first examples of the genre that would go on to be known as psychedelia , arriving a whole year before The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper and Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow.

A love song first and foremost, the lyric “It will take time I know it. But in a while, you’re going to be mine. I know it. We’ll do it in style” was directed at Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones’ then girlfriend Linda Lawrence, who Donovan, only 20 years at the time of writing, would go on to marry after the couple broke up a few years later.

Stream the track as part of our Studio Three playlist now on Spotify and Apple Music.