This song was
written in the mid-1960s and released by Donovan in 1966. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard
chart in 1966 with “Sunny South Kensington” on the B-side and
early the following year it peaked on the UK singles chart at No. 8 with “Preachin’ Love” on the B-side. It appeared on Donovan’s 4th
album of the same name.
were occasions on when it was thought to be a song by The Beatles, the
actual link to the group is that Paul McCartney performed some backing
vocals as one of the revelers The arrangements were made on
the song by John Paul Jones.
It gained a
slight amount of controversy in the fact that firstly it was rumoured to be
about the false idea of hallucinogenic effect of smoking banana skins,
which was brought about Country Joe McDonald in 1966. Secondly, as has since been
confirmed by Donovan, the phrase “electric banana” referred to
women’s vibrators as he and John Lennon used to look at the back
pages of newspapers and pick out novelty items that often found their way
Over the years
it has been covered by several different artists that include Georgie Fame, Family of the Year featuring Donovan,
Amanda Lear, the Medium Wave Band and Young Holt Unlimited as well as being
referenced in Frank Zappa’s “Absolutely Free” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold as Love”.
It has also
been a popular song used in various guises for commercials for Coca
Cola’s Mello Yello, Cadbury’s Caramello Koala chocolates, The
Gap and Lipton among others.
Medium Wave Band recordings
Mellow Yellow (Donovan Leitch)