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The Hurdy Gurdy Man is the sixth studio album (seventh overall) by Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. It was released in the US in October 1968 (Epic Records BN 26420 (stereo)), but not in the UK, because of a continuing contractual dispute that also prevented Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow from being released there. A songbook of lead sheets to the album was nonetheless issued in both countries.

The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Donovan-The Hurdy Gurdy Man.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1968
RecordedNovember 1967 - April 1968
GenreRock, psychedelic rock, raga rock, folk rock
ProducerMickie Most
Donovan chronology
Donovan in Concert
The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Singles from "The Hurdy Gurdy Man"
  1. "Hurdy Gurdy Man" b/w "Teen Angel"
    Released: August 1968
  2. "Jennifer Juniper" b/w "Poor Cow"
    Released: October 1968



Donovan wrote and recorded much of The Hurdy Gurdy Man in late 1967, not long after recording the songs that would form A Gift from a Flower to a Garden. The rest of The Hurdy Gurdy Man was recorded in April 1968, after he visited Rishikesh in India to study Transcendental Meditation under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon, George Harrison, Pattie Boyd, Paul McCartney, Jane Asher, Ringo Starr, Mia Farrow, Prudence Farrow and Mike Love were there as well. Harrison wrote a verse for "Hurdy Gurdy Man" when they were in India, but it was cut from the studio version in order to ensure that the song was not overly long for a single.[1] On his 1973 live album Live in Japan: Spring Tour 1973 and his 1990 live album Rising, Donovan explains the story and sings the previously omitted verse. The last verse of "Hurdy Gurdy Man", written by Harrison, is: "When the truth gets buried deep / Beneath a thousand years of sleep / Time demands a turn around / And once again the truth is found".[2]

Donovan's songwriting for The Hurdy Gurdy Man centered on drones on such songs as "Peregrine", "The River Song" and "Tangier" (the latter two being compositions by his friend "Gypsy Dave" (Gyp Mills), and pop music on most of the other tracks. "As I Recall It" continued Donovan's infatuation with jazz. "Jennifer Juniper" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man" were both released as singles well before the album was released.

The recording sessions for the album are purported to have included future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. Page was in The Yardbirds at the time and was actively looking to rebuild that band.[3] The album credits John Bonham for percussion on the song[which?] and Clem Cattini as the drummer.


  • On 25 October 1990, Epic Records reissued The Hurdy Gurdy Man (Epic 26420) on CD in the US.
  • On 24 October 1994, EMI released Four Donovan Originals (EMI 7243 8 30867 2 6) in the UK. Four Donovan Originals is a CD box set containing four Donovan albums that were not previously released in the UK. The Hurdy Gurdy Man is disc three of that set.
  • On 24 May 2005, EMI reissued The Hurdy Gurdy Man (EMI 8735682) on CD in the UK with seven bonus tracks.
  • On 1 October 2018, The state51 Conspiracy reissued The Hurdy Gurdy Man (CON235LP) on LP in the UK and Ireland.
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic (Original release)      [1]
Allmusic (2005 reissue)      [2]
Trax Magazine     

Track listingEdit

Original album (US) on LPEdit

All tracks credited to Donovan Leitch. According to BMI,[4] "A Sunny Day" and "The River Song" were collaborations with David J. Mills, but "Tangier" was written solely by Mills under its original title of "In Tangier Down a Windy Street".[5]

Side one

  1. "Hurdy Gurdy Man" - 3:13
  2. "Peregrine" - 3:34
  3. "The Entertaining of a Shy Girl" - 1:39
  4. "As I Recall It" - 2:06
  5. "Get Thy Bearings" - 2:47
  6. "Hi It's Been a Long Time" - 2:32
  7. "West Indian Lady" - 2:15

Side two

  1. "Jennifer Juniper" - 2:40
  2. "The River Song" - 2:14
  3. "Tangier" - 4:10
  4. "A Sunny Day" - 1:52
  5. "The Sun is a Very Magic Fellow" - 3:31
  6. "Teas" - 2:29

2005 CD (EMI, UK) bonus tracksEdit

All tracks by Donovan Leitch.

  1. "Teen Angel"
  2. "Poor Cow"
  3. "Laléna"
  4. "Aye My Love"
  5. "What a Beautiful Creature You Are" (Duet with Lulu)
  6. "Colours"
  7. "Catch the Wind"

Cover versionsEdit


  1. ^ Leitch, Donovan (2005). The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press. pp. 210, 219. ISBN 978-0-312-35252-3.
  2. ^ Leitch 2005, p. 219.
  3. ^ Donovan's Greatest Hits
  4. ^
  5. ^ Donovan

External linksEdit