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Donovan — Hurdy Gurdy Man
Album: Hurdy Gurdy Man
Avg rating:
6.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1461









Released: 1968
Length: 3:06
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I opened my eyes to take a peek
To find that I was by the sea
Gazing with tranquility

'Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love

"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang

Histories of ages past
Unenlightened shadows cast
Down through all eternity
The crying of humanity

'Tis then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love

"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurd
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang

"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
Here comes the Roly Poly Man
He's singing songs of love
"Roly poly, roly poly, holy poly poly" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
Comments (236)add comment
Butthole Surfers do an excellent cover of this...
 garyalex wrote:

I 've heard this song hundreds of times.  I never thought of it as creepy until I heard it in the film "Zodiac".


I've always thought it a bit creepy
the drumming kicks

Although Donovan has over the years said that it was  Jimmy Page who played the famous guitar solo on Hurdy Gurdy Man,
John Paul Jones, who arranged and played bass on the track (and also booked the session musicians), Clem Cattini (on the drums here), and Jimmy Page himself, have said that it was actually Alan Parker.

A Hurdy Gurdy Man, and Friend :
 













I 've heard this song hundreds of times.  I never thought of it as creepy until I heard it in the film "Zodiac".
 MrsTom wrote:
the only thing i like about this track is the drums
 

funny, the only thing I hate about the track is the drums!  I kept wondering how the track would sound without all those boring, cliched  endless rolls around the tom toms and a more tasteful restrained approach from say a Bill Bruford, Mick Fleetwood, Vinnie Colaiuta, Bonham if he'd been available, and of course Phil Collins would have really nailed it.
 peter_james_bond wrote:
{#Clap} Yes! Early FM radio, the internet radio of it's age.
 
Actually this was AM radio back in the day, at least in SoCal.
what was it like back then?
the only thing i like about this track is the drums
I was introduced to this by the Butthole Surfers version which I loved - then when I heard the original I realised it blows their version away.  The psychedelic solo is majestic.
I was very young when this came out and always wondered how this guy was taken seriously. I would laugh out loud when he sang "Hail Atlantis!" In retrospect, I find him "of the time" and still chuckle. This song is certainly fun and unique.
More Donovan please
Donovans' music takes me back mentally to my high school days, which ended in May, 1972.  He was one of my favorite musicians back then, and I'm glad to hear it sounds as great today as it did when I first heard it.
Would be interesting to hear more hurdy gurdy music... not a common instrument these days!
Donovan - Accoustic Guitar
John Paul Jones - Arrangement/Musical Director and Bass Guitar
Alan Parker - Electric Lead Guitar
Clem Cattini - Drums

{#Crown}
Im gonna smoke a ton of kush, you cockroachessss
Can I get a 0?
Passage of 50 years and I finally learn that a hurdy gurdy is a musical instrument.  And that odd sound on this song is one being played.  Thank you, RP people.
You can play Donovan anytime. 
 Elroweho wrote:
Oh Man! I'm Trippin'!  {#Jump}

In case your wondering- This is a Hurdy Gurdy (without the man)

 

 

Spencer Tracy played a hurdy gurdy in the 1937 film Captains Courageous, (which is an absolutely fabulous movie from a sailor's point of view).
Peace, love, dove and don't forget the flowers
 ShaunJ wrote:

Far out......man! {#Cool}

 
It was a groovy scene...{#Cowboy}
many moons ago I loved Donovan and his music.   "Essence to Essence" and "Cosmic Wheels" are absolutely fantastic albums.

now, I cant stand the phecker.    trite lyrics, musically repetitive and some songs like "season of the witch" just seem to go on and on with all the charm of a corset made of sandpaper.

i dont know what to rate this...... for now.


A towering psychedelic achievement. Who are we to judge?
 Steely_D wrote:

Gooble gobble we accept you. One of us. One of us.

Set your single next to my "In the Ghetto" and "Hey Jude" and "In the Year 2525" and "Space Oddity" singles. 

 
I  guess  my  "Oh  Well" 45  fits  in  there  too?
gorgeous song!  (Rebecca's sultry voice afterwards is the cherry on top : )
 Skydog wrote:
okay i am going to keep it a 100% real
i had 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' and 'Atlantis' singles
can i still stay and listen to RP?
 
Gooble gobble we accept you. One of us. One of us.

Set your single next to my "In the Ghetto" and "Hey Jude" and "In the Year 2525" and "Space Oddity" singles. 
 coloradojohn wrote:
Was blessed to have seen Donovan play a fabulous show at Boulder Theater a couple months ago. He sat on a cushion and interspersed his ageless songs with anecdotes of his friendships and collaborations with The Beatles. He blew us all away with this.

 
Yes, quite the raconteur. Sadly, the singing voice is gone.
Grinding base even back then. LOVE IT. Was raised on it...and whom ever else was, we were lucky kids.
Was blessed to have seen Donovan play a fabulous show at Boulder Theater a couple months ago. He sat on a cushion and interspersed his ageless songs with anecdotes of his friendships and collaborations with The Beatles. He blew us all away with this.
despite descrepencies on whos playing what is still out standing
very nice singing style
okay i am going to keep it a 100% real
i had 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' and 'Atlantis' singles
can i still stay and listen to RP?
 
I find him very hit and miss, but after watching a documentory about him, you got to feel for him.  he is the real deal, but no one wanted flowers and hippies in the 80s.   Im not fussed on this one, along with mellow yellow and others, but one of my fav tracks of all time is Devine Daze of Deathless Delight from Esscence to Esscence.   Everyone had Cosmic Wheels, this one is rarer.
 funkyalfonso wrote:

The Beatles sang a song about him.....' The fool on the hill ' I guess about his commune in Scotland in the 60's. I always thought that was a bit unfair for Mr. Mellow-Yellow. He was always himself and not a British Bob Dylan clone as he was accused of.

 
WHAT?   I read that song was written about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, with whom the Beatles, Donovan and a huge entourage spent weeks living, meditating, doing drugs with, etc.
 LowPhreak wrote:

Ok, if this can be believed to be from JPJ, from your link:

"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I have been contacted by Clem Cattini with regard to Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man
I would like to confirm that the musicians on the record were as follows

Donovan Accoustic Guitar
John Paul Jones Arrangement/Musical Director and Bass Guitar
Alan Parker Lead (electric) Guitar
Clem Cattini Drums

No other musicians were involved in this session
The session was produced by Mickie Most and engineered by Eddie Kramer.

John Paul Jones
London 05/2005"

 

BTW as a drummer, I've never thought this sounded like Bonham on drums, or Page on guitar for that matter as some have claimed.



 
Far out......man! {#Cool}
 Proclivities wrote:

I don't think Jeff Beck played on this album; he and his group played on Donovan's next album ("Barabajagal") but it's still disputed whether or not Jimmy Page is playing on this either.  Apparently, it was a guy named Alan Parker playing electric guitar.

 
Ok, if this can be believed to be from JPJ, from your link:

"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I have been contacted by Clem Cattini with regard to Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man
I would like to confirm that the musicians on the record were as follows

Donovan Accoustic Guitar
John Paul Jones Arrangement/Musical Director and Bass Guitar
Alan Parker Lead (electric) Guitar
Clem Cattini Drums

No other musicians were involved in this session
The session was produced by Mickie Most and engineered by Eddie Kramer.

John Paul Jones
London 05/2005"

 

BTW as a drummer, I've never thought this sounded like Bonham on drums, or Page on guitar for that matter as some have claimed.


Great nostalgia value but...
This really dated poorly
Eeeeww.  For some reason, this one throws me a pucker factor of 9.5.  There are one or two Donovan songs that work for me but this thing completely twanks me out.   Running away now.
 
Wow - this holds up well after 45 years. This was once on the cutting edge of psychedelic rock. Quite a cast on this one too!
 jdjeannelle wrote:
Donovan - Singing
John Bonham - Drums
John Paul Jones - Bass
Jimmy Page - Guitar

 
wow! never knew that . . . now that you told us, i definitely hear Bonham and the others ... thanks
thanks for showing us the hurdy gurdy man image -- I was thinking this must be like how surreal the ice cream truck always is in the neighborhood, or is that just me? hmm.
This song fits so well into the creepy plot of one of my fave movies of the aughts ----- The Zodiac
Oh Man! I'm Trippin'!  {#Jump}

In case your wondering- This is a Hurdy Gurdy (without the man)

 
An  absolutely brilliant work of art. Dark Psychedelia at its very best. Still sounds as good as ever. Used to wonderful effect in the  film L.I.E.
Saw Donovan perform in Santa Fe, New Mexico a couple of years ago.  Pure magic.  Too bad this is such a love/hate song on RadioParadise.  (12% of listeners hate it, 24% love it.).
 jdjeannelle wrote:
Donovan - Singing
John Bonham - Drums
John Paul Jones - Bass
Jimmy Page - Guitar

 
Thanks for sharing - had no idea!
 LowPhreak wrote:

Jimmy's not on guitar here. It was Jeff beck. JPJ was on bass.

 
I don't think Jeff Beck played on this album; he and his group played on Donovan's next album ("Barabajagal") but it's still disputed whether or not Jimmy Page is playing on this either.  Apparently, it was a guy named Alan Parker playing electric guitar.



The Beatles sang a song about him.....' The fool on the hill ' I guess about his commune in Scotland in the 60's. I always thought that was a bit unfair for Mr. Mellow-Yellow. He was always himself and not a British Bob Dylan clone as he was accused of.
Well, it's better than the usual handful of Donovan hits you hear on classic rock stations. Kudos to RP for playing it. I wouldn't mind if I never heard it again, though.
 jdjeannelle wrote:
Donovan - Singing
John Bonham - Drums
John Paul Jones - Bass
Jimmy Page - Guitar

 
Jimmy's not on guitar here. It was Jeff beck. JPJ was on bass.



Yes!

love this marvelous song...
More cosmic weirdness.

I love it!


Play it John Paul....






                                                                                                 No.








Everybody in my church loves this song...
 
If there were a sonic representation of the Chinese water torture, I'm certain it a would sound something like this whiney  performance.
I like  some of REM's offerings a lot, but this would also make an effective emetic.
Always makes me think of this:

 

(wonderfully creepy and thought-provoking movie, btw)
 
the guitar solo is the only element of this song that lifts it from a 1 to a 2 for me.  otherwise, no thanks
 a_genuine_find wrote:
never 'got' donovan
 



..funny, i always found him hard to miss..
Oahh delicious!! The 60ties all alive again!!
 Ericocean wrote:
Demographics are showing this morning - lots of ancient stuff that was never that good getting played
 
This ancient one is appreciating it. :)
 a_genuine_find wrote:
never 'got' donovan
 
i just got donovan
only took me 40 years {#Smile} 
Demographics are showing this morning - lots of ancient stuff that was never that good getting played

Good heavy stuff.


If I'm not mistaken Neil from the Young Ones did the "Hurdy Gurdy Mushroom Man"
Very groovy.
Woa. Like, wow. That drum lick. Remember as a kid air-drumming that sucker to death.
never 'got' donovan
I wish he'd stepped off that earthquake simulator before he'd started singing. That tremolo is seriously irritating. Mute and back after making a cuppa.
Just the thing for a  rainy Friday afternoon! Man, I'm once again a hi skul junior trying to figure out what it's all about!
yeah, right, we are trippin' here in Gothenburg, Sweden,,,,,love it :)
uh....
Shoot, Bill,  if you are going to present a 60's-70's era song featuring the words "Hurdy Gurdy," why not play "China Doll" by the Dead?

This blows...

oh yeah... Donovan   trip on..
Check out " The Butthole Surfers", version
Donovan - Singing
John Bonham - Drums
John Paul Jones - Bass
Jimmy Page - Guitar
No. Uh.

No.

Dude just got the word stuck in his head and sang a song about it. Yech. Mute Button Engage.
 LastChance wrote:
Makes me want to slam my head repeatedly into a brick wall.
 
Now how many songs can make a person want to do that?  Quite an accomplishment - especially just for recording some music 40-some-odd years ago.  Perhaps you should discuss this affliction with a mental health specialist...  If I had the ability to write songs that could make people want to slam their heads against walls I would go broke trying to keep up my supplies of pens, paper, and guitar strings.

Reminded of sublime times
Not among his best but still pretty good.
 Lrobby99 wrote:
How many people are left who know what a hurdy gurdy even was or is? Cetainly very few under 50.
 
Why do you need to be 50 or older? The hurdy gurdy is an ancient instrument, with its roots in the Byzantine Roman Empire.

I don't know about you, but (being nearly 50 myself) I can't remember that far back. {#Wave}
One of my favourite "not on the Sunshine Superman album" songs by Donovan.
Nope.  Not this one by Donovan.  Could never quite like it.
Oh, man, excelent choice!! What about 'Atlantis'?
Makes me want to slam my head repeatedly into a brick wall.
How many people are left who know what a hurdy gurdy even was or is? Cetainly very few under 50.
Great, haven't heard this for years.
you gotta be freeking kidding me
{#Music}
Just a keeeewwwwwwlllllll song!{#Cool}
 Giselle62 wrote:
sometimes that verse just comes to me, sadly, "Histories of ages past unenlightened shadows cast down through all eternity the crying of humanity" —-music has very much been something that helps with the suffering inherent in living.
I read somewhere that Donovan, George Harrison and someone else were hanging out in India around the Maharishi when they came up with these lyrics.
 
Regarding music's healing effect, truer words were never spoken.  And I wouldn't be surprised if this song had been written as you say, Giselle62.

Love some of the other comments here, like Parrothead's and Nagsheadlocal especially.{#Daisy}

 nagsheadlocal wrote:
Oh, this has always been a confusing story -  

because they were all heavily dosed! ;)
Oh, this has always been a confusing story - there's also a version of the tale that has Beck originally playing the riff, then it was wiped by producer Mickie Most because he didn't like it.

Drummer Clem Cattini says it was Allan Parker (https://www.coda-uk.co.uk/clem_cattini.htm) and has an email from John Paul Jones saying the same.

Allan Parker's wife, Claire, says it was someone named Ollie Halsell (who is, alas, dead, so can't be queried).

According to the always-astounding Led Zep fan boys and their ability to look up anything and everything, Page wasn't in the UK at the time the song was recorded. He was in the US working with Jerry Wexler.

I think the weight of the evidence points to Parker.
Can we have 'Intergalactic Laxative' please Bill?
God, I always thought it was Jeff Beck who played guitar on this. It really rips. I never heard of Alan Parker.


 The_Enemy wrote:

I tried to find out online who played guitar but there seems to be a lot of debate whether it's Parker or Jimmy Page.  Donovan credits Page, John Paul Jones (who booked the session musicians) says it's Parker.  There's different documentaries crediting one or the other.  There's also an urban legend saying that Led Zeppelin (minus Plant) was formed during the recording.

Cool song all the same. 8.
 
Funny, I never heard debate - thought it was always well-known fact to be Page.  Sure sounds like him to me.

Anyway, I'm with you on the 8.  Always loved this tune. 
 Giselle62 wrote:
sometimes that verse just comes to me, sadly, "Histories of ages past unenlightened shadows cast down through all eternity the crying of humanity" —-music has very much been something that helps with the suffering inherent in living.
I read somewhere that Donovan, George Harrison and someone else were hanging out in India around the Maharishi when they came up with these lyrics.
 
Indeed, Donovan was in Rishikesh with the Beatles and others.  He taught John Lennon a fingerpicking technique, which Lennon used on "Julia" and other tunes.  The Beatles wrote many tunes in India that showed up on the White Album.  So it's possible that Donovan and some of the Beatles collaborated.

I ask for more Donovan and I got it..... THANKS
Ah, from the same era when you could hear "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Sunshine of Your Love" on AM radio.

This was one of those songs that made me reach forward, from the back seat, to turn up the radio in my Dad's Pontiac. He'd always say "turn that crap down" and my Mom would shoot him a look. He'd relent and I'd have my few minutes of musical bliss.
 guthrieandme wrote:
I don't know what it is about it, but this song has always creeped me out... since I was quite young.  {#Think}.
 

Me, too!!  Gives me shivers...{#Eek}
sometimes that verse just comes to me, sadly, "Histories of ages past unenlightened shadows cast down through all eternity the crying of humanity" —-music has very much been something that helps with the suffering inherent in living.
I read somewhere that Donovan, George Harrison and someone else were hanging out in India around the Maharishi when they came up with these lyrics.
I always thought that if John Lennon had never met Paul McCartney the path that Lennon's musical career would have closely matched that of Donovan. I have read that Lennon and Donovan where friends.
 j7 wrote:
Oh my god....Dylan could only dream of having this kind of talent.....who started comparing them?
 
I challenge you to take a printed copy of the lyrics to this song, the lyrics to any Dylan song, compare them, and then decide who has more talent. Sorry, but I didn't like this song back in the day, and it hasn't aged well for me.
Always loved this song.... hasn't lost anything in my view - not in 40+ years.
Why is this listed as a 1998 release date?  Maybe 1968.
 mirland wrote:
The Butthole Surfers made a very nice cover of this... 
 
I should listen to that cause right now its hard to imagine this song not sucking!

Oh my god....Dylan could only dream of having this kind of talent.....who started comparing them?
The Butthole Surfers made a very nice cover of this... 
 felix_the_man wrote:
Guitar by Alan Parker.
 
I tried to find out online who played guitar but there seems to be a lot of debate whether it's Parker or Jimmy Page.  Donovan credits Page, John Paul Jones (who booked the session musicians) says it's Parker.  There's different documentaries crediting one or the other.  There's also an urban legend saying that Led Zeppelin (minus Plant) was formed during the recording.

Cool song all the same. 8.

Yes, this is Godlike.
You know what makes this song a ten? Jeff Beck.  {#Notworthy}
This song sounded dated the first time I heard it back in the 80's. Now it just sucks.

wow.  this song reminds me of the zodiac movie, the scene where the kids were murdered.
 jagdriver wrote:

And some flower power? Don't forget the "mellow yellow!"

{#Daisy} {#Daisy} {#Daisy} {#Daisy} {#Daisy} {#Daisy} {#Daisy} {#Daisy} {#Daisy} 

(This **SURE** beat listening to Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond, et al., on the AM dial whilst eating my corn flakes before heading off to school! And by the time Neil Young appeared—by way of Buffalo Springfield—I had already made the FM transition.)
 
{#Clap} Yes! Early FM radio, the internet radio of it's age.

 Ahnyer_Keester wrote:
It sucks. It sucks hard and it sucks loud.
Blurted out as you sift through your Korn and Celine Dion LP's ... silly person.

My fave Donovan tune.  {#Daisy}
Tis THEN when the hurdy gurdy man came singing songs of love........
Yes hurdy gurdy man, now we need you more than ever....

I don't know what it is about it, but this song has always creeped me out... since I was quite young.  {#Think}.
 sutcliff wrote:
Hurdy gurdy woman too.
 
started to learn to play the hurdy gurdy some time ago. It's an amazing instrument.

too bad that this song has no hurdy gurdy in it. could at least have replaced the electric guitar.