Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sunny Goodge Street

Let me be clear that although there are a couple of songs I absolutely love (this one and Wear Your Love Like Heaven), my favorite recordings are not his versions. I am not really a Donovan fan, though he penned some good lyrics from time to time. Too Hurdy-Gurdy. Any comparisons that have been made to Dylan are, of course, ridiculous. Shame on you people.

Nonetheless, as I was stealing a lyric for a title of another post, I decided to post the words for this tune. Amazingly, after comparing four websites, I came up with no agreement on two of the lines. I'm posting it as I've heard Judy Collins sing it since I was knee high.

On the firefly platform of sunny Goodge Street
Violent hash-smokers shook a chocolate machine
Involved in an eating scene
Smashing into neon lights* in their stonedness**
Smearing their eyes on the crazy coke*** goddess
Listening to sounds of Mingus mellow fantastic.
"My, my", they sigh.

In dull house rooms with coloured lights swinging
Strange music boxes sadly tinkling
Drink in the sun shining all around you.
"My, my", they sigh.

The magician, he sparkles in satin and velvet,
You gaze at his splendour with eyes you've not used yet.
I tell you his name is Love, Love, Love.
"My, my", they sigh.
"My, my", so high.
"My, my" they sigh.

- Donovan Leitch, 1965

(here's where I give you the multiple alternate lyrics, since I can find no authoritative version:

* streets/lights - either works.
** stillness/stonedness - are the still lights (or streets) being disrupte, or are stoners disrupting because they are smashed. again, either is possible. i prefer the stonedness.
*** kerb/kali/coke ok, so a kerb is a curb, but whats a kerb goddess? not quite so poetical as Kali, who is a goddess and apropos to the Hindu-obsessed 60s. coke is thematically a relevant choice, though it became much more popular and available in the 70s.)


steve said...

I remember saying the 2nd line from your title last week to myself..."Ice Cream Castles in the Air", right?
I tell my Daughter that that song is her song from where I stand.
I liked "Season of the Witch".
I was in the 6th Grade when "Atlantis" seemed to stay at #1 for months.
As another alternative for the Lyric in question, would Cocoa work? they are ripping off a Candy Machine...ylldrd

kissyface said...

um well, i posted on 12/26: "rows and floes of angel hair/and ice cream castles in the air..." those words are from Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." I'd say that this song could've been written by Mitchell, really a lot of similarities, but I don't think Donovan could have quite written like Joni. Joni is a deity in my good book, and so sorely lacking in popular consciousness. Joni had so much more impact than people realize, a musician's musician, a poet's poet, if ever there was one.

that you use that line for your daughter is entirely endearing. is she familiar with the artist? if not, educate her. Blue (one of the all time greatest works), Ladies of the Canyon, and Song to a Seagull are my favorite of her albums, and in that order, though 2 and 3 bob and weave. Then comes Clouds, on which you will find your daughter's song, along with the great Chelsea Morning, I Don't Know Where I Stand, and That Song About the Midway (which you might know from an old Bonnie Raitt recording).

Season of the Witch is okay, it's kinda cool, but too much pinch-nosed whiney vocal for my taste.

Cocoa always works for me! what does 'ylldrd' stand for? i can never keep up with the language of you young'uns (I wasn't alive when Atlantis was released).

steve said...

The cryptic yllrd is the word verification...I have developed a habit of rushing from the comments box...
Court and Spark was my favorite w/ Free man and Help me being played on the radio alot...
I liked don Juans Restless Daughter as well.
All of Mitchells stuff is very smart, she is a musicians musician as you say...
I have had a lot of influence on my daughters music- but these days she is going her own I will post something concerning Both Sides and also copy to her Blog and she will have it forever.

Riva said...

Donovan will be performing, doing workshops and talking at this event over memorial day weekend. It's called the "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity." If you're interested the website is :