Saturday, February 20, 2016

Donovan – "Atlantis" (1969)

Way down below the ocean 
Where I want to be 
She may be

I won’t lie to you, boys and girls.  I absolutely loved this song when it was released in 1969.

All of Donovan’s songs (with the possible exception of “Season of the Witch”) were hippy-dippy in the extreme, and “Atlantis” was the hippiest-dippiest of them all.  But I didn’t care – the song may have been a hot mess, but I loved it regardless.  

“Atlantis” was released in the U.S. as the b-side of “To Susan on the West Coast, Waiting.”  It somehow became a top ten single.  

The first third of the five-minute-long song was a bunch of spoken-word nonsense about the lost continent of Atlantis.  (In case you've got a lot of time on your hands, you can click on this link to be taken to a website that discusses all the mistakes in "Atlantis.")

The last two-thirds of the song consisted of the lyrics quoted above being sung over and over – by my count, the chorus was repeated 14 times.

Like “Atlantis,” “Hey Jude” by the Beatles and “I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)” by Grand Funk Railroad were very long songs that closed with choruses that were sung over and over.  I loved those songs, too.

“Atlantis” got a surprising amount of radio play back in the day.  When I was in high school, there were AM radio stations in Springfield, Missouri and Little Rock, Arkansas and other unlikely spots that I listened to that regularly played long songs like “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin, and “Midnight Rambler” by the Rolling Stones, and “Monster” by Steppenwolf.

“Atlantis” is featured in a scene in Goodfellas where Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro beat the crap out of a gangster nicknamed Billy Batts, shoot him in the head, and then drive him way out into the country to bury him.  (I took my older son to see Goodfellas when he was barely seven years old, and I vividly remember the look of horror on his face during this scene.)

So have you figured out the theme of this year’s “29 Songs in 29 Days”?  No?  Geez Louise, it's as plain as the nose on your face.  (If it was a snake, it would have bit you.)

Here’s “Atlantis”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon: 

No comments:

Post a Comment