Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Donovan’s Color-Your-Own Cover

Artsy-craftsy types might find connect-the-dot album covers to be a bit stultifying — where’s the creativity?  Connect these dots – and in this precise order, commands the album cover.  Sorry, I prefer to make my own decisions.

One Donovan album I have had a hard time finding in second-hand shops is one that tickled my brain as a youngster with its D-I-Y concept:  Inside the gatefold of 1973’s Cosmic Wheels, as the Unofficial Donovan website points out, “there’s a copy of The Flammarion woodcut (an anonymous wood engraving) with the note, ‘Get your cosmic crayons, kids, and colour in’.”

Black & white gatefold cover for Donovan’s 1973 LP, Cosmic Wheels

Donovan's Cosmic Wheels-aa

With a bit of grit and a modicum of talent, you, too, can transform this monochromatic image into a dazzling cosmological work of wonderment.  Clearly, no half measures will do — full and total commitment is required the moment your colored pencil is pressed into service:

Donovan's Cosmic Wheels-bb

Hard to believe that Cosmic Wheels hit the Top 30 on this side of the Atlantic [20 weeks on Billboard‘s album chart, peaking at the #25 position], given the challenge of locating a used copy.  An edited version of “I Like You” from Cosmic Wheels would reach #66 in the US and became the last charting single Donovan would have.  Billboard‘s “From the Music Capitals of the World” column reported in their April 14, 1973 edition that “Gramophone Record Company held an unusual promotion announcing the new Donovan album, Cosmic Wheels, with a slide and music presentation at the Johannesburg Planetarium.”
Donovan LP
Thanks to brother Bryan for pointing out the quality of musical personnel who helped bring these songs to life:  Chris Spedding, JohnRabbitBundrick, Cozy Powell, Alan White, Jim Horn, Bobby Keys, Phil Chen, and even Suzi Quatro, among others.
In a bizarre artistic move, Donovan Leitch would release the most scatological recording ever associated with almighty Columbia Records, “Intergalactic Laxative” — a song that would almost certainly incur fines from the FCC if played on radio, even today.  I had originally intended to feature this album track (and B-side) as an oddball Dr. Demento-like selection … until I actually heard the song.  But since I’m trying to run a clean website, regrettably I must go with the A-side instead:

Maria Magenta

Donovan (1973)

Record World

August 12, 1967

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