Eight Cool Things About The Mellow Yellow Singer Donovan

At a child’s birthday party last weekend, a relative described a freshly opened garment as mellow yellow. The remark reminded me of the singer Donovan Leitch, who scored a huge hit with a song with that rhyming two word title.

That name evoked recollections of the years I spent listening to all of Donovan’s stuff, ranging from his folk-rock onset to his psychedelic late Sixties material to his more down to earth recordings of the following decade. Nearly as interesting as his great music, however, is the list of details about his relationships with other musicians and his family

Here are eight cool things about the artist who gave us the “Sunshine Superman” and the “Hurdy Gurdy Man.”

1. He sang on the long refrain in the last half of “Hey Jude” by The Beatles, which in 1968 was a number one hit for the band. Paul McCartney returned the favor by providing the classic background vocal on Donovan’s smash single “Mellow Yellow”, allegedly whispering the phrase “quite rightly” between the repetitions of the two rhyming title words.

2. In the early Seventies Donovan provided the backing vocal on the title track of Billion Dollar Baby by Alice Cooper, repeating the refrain beginning “We go dancing nightly in the attic while the moon is rising in the sky.” When the refrain reappears toward the end of the song, Donovan sings the lead while Alice Cooper provides the backing vocal.

3. He appeared in the 1967 Bob Dylan film Don’t Look Back, performing the tune “To Sing For You” before Dylan himself plays “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” from the Bringing It All Back Home album.

4. Future Led Zeppelin members John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page played on all of the Donovan albums produced by Mickie Most, classic LPS such as Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow and Hurdy Gurdy Man.

5. Donovan wrote a satirical version of his Top Ten single “Atlantis” to use on the animated sitcom Futurama in an episode titled “The Deep South.” Instead of the mythical town described in the original hit of the late Sixties, however, the parody mentions the Lost City of Atlanta.

6. His son of the same name and daughter Ione Skye Leitch are both well-known Hollywood stars. Leitch, Jr. gained his first fame as a lead role in the 1989 movie The In Crowd, and Skye scored her first big part in the classic film Say Anything with John Cusack.

7. He is the stepfather of the Julian Jones Leitch, the son of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. Donovan began a romantic relationship with the former girlfriend of Jones, Linda Lawrence, whom he later married in 1970.

8. For the album Wear Your Love Like Heaven, the folk-rock artist composed psychedelic music to the William Shakespeare poem “Under the Greenwood Tree.”

Seven Films to Watch If You Love Car Chases

Nothing compares to watching a great action movie, especially one with an absolutely epic car chase. When it comes to film to watch that make the car chase an art form, though, you’re talking about some of the most legendary films ever put on celluloid.

It’s hard to explain, but car chases, when done well, put you in the driver’s seat, right at the forefront of the action. You can feel the force of gravity throw you around every corner or the height of the dip as you hit it at top speed. Instinctively, you may even look down at your hand & realize you’re trying to change gears.

This list breaks down seven of the best movies of all-time which happen to include the greatest car chases ever put on film. Some of you may balk at the list, and some of you may even gripe that one movie in particular didn’t make the list, but with a few Academy Awards on the mantle & inclusions for preservation in the National Film Registry, it’s safe to say these movies more than answer the call for car chase masterpieces.

Here they are:

Smoked and the Bandit (1977) – Bell-bottoms, basset hounds, beer, a car chase that lasts the whole movie, and a lot of cop cars out of service – this movie has it all, including a classic theme song.

The Italian Job (1969) – The original version of this movie had some of the most amazing driving ever put on film, and the final cliffhanger scene in and of itself is worth a place on this list (we’re waiting, Michael Caine).

The Seven-Ups (1973) – Before taking on Bruce the shark, Roy Scheider took on criminals, and getting the bad guy was all that mattered, even if you turned your car into a convertible via a tractor-trailer.

Bullitt (1968) – Steve McQueen takes on organized crime in San Francisco, California. The car chase in this movie could make this the only necessary entry on this list, and the movie poster is mandatory in the garage of every car aficionado.

The French Connection (1971) – A heroine smuggling ring connects France and New York City, but it’s the Pontiac LeMans and a man named Popeye chasing an elevated train that makes it legendary.

The Blues Brothers (1980) – Destroying 103 cars during filming and including a car chase inside of a shopping mall make this movie a must-see for any car junkie.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) – When you need money to buy a race car to go legit, you rob a supermarket, right? This movie is perhaps known for one of the most memorable endings in film.

These films to watch (must watch!) have stood the test of time, but admittedly, there are easily others that were left off that are making car chase fans scream. That said, watch these seven movies to understand their lineage in today’s action movies as their influence practically jumps off the screen.