Donovan – Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)

9th November 2023 · 1960s, 1969, Music

Donovan teamed up with the Jeff Beck Group and producer Mickie Most in 1969 to make the album Barabajagal, spawning his last hit single.

This is an oddity. It’s by Donovan, who never really entered my musical universe beyond the annoying novelty song Mellow Yellow and always seemed the epitome of hippiedom to me. If there was more than that, it probably involved sitars, which would have sent me running for the hills. Now I discover this.

It’s still pretty hippieish, especially the fey vocals and the nonsense lyrics (adapted from The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus), but the music is far raunchier than I would have imagined – because it’s by the Jeff Beck Group.

That’s Beck on guitar, Ronnie Wood on bass, Micky Waller on drums and Nicky Hopkins on piano. And the backing vocals are by Lesley Duncan, Madeline Bell and… wait for it… Suzi Quatro.

Her presence is probably explained by the fact the recording was produced by Mickie Most, who had first spotted her in her first group, The Pleasure Seekers, and brought her to London to make her a star.

Donovan made an entire album with the Jeff Beck Group, who are jointly credited with him for the songwriting of this song – originally released under the unwieldy title Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot) in 1969.

It would be his last hit single on either side of the Atlantic, reaching No.12 in the charts here and No.36 in America.