50 Essential Albums of 1967

From the Doors' debut to Aretha Franklin's first smash

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Donovan, 'Mellow Yellow'
Donovan - MELLOW YELLOW Album Cover15/50

Donovan, 'Mellow Yellow'

"Mellow Yellow," a Number Two hit in the U.S., was a burlesque-brass grind a la Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 and 35," scored by John Paul Jones (later of Led Zeppelin) with whispering vocals by Paul McCartney. The rest of Mellow Yellow is gently magnificent introspection, rooted in the modern acoustic folk scene then emerging in Britain ("House of Jansch" refers to guitarist Bert Jansch) and draped in John Cameron's pastoral-jazz arrangements. Donovan later noted that "Hampstead Incident" was partly inspired by Nina Simone and the chord progression in "Anji," by British guitarist Davy Graham. Ironically, the beauty of Mellow Yellow was obscured by the rumor that the title single advocated smoking banana peels as a legal alternative to marijuana. In fact, the "electrical banana" in the third verse is a vibrator.

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