Electrical Banana Is Gonna Be A Sudden Craze

I had BBC World Service on as I drove home. Donovan Leitch is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a very successful pop star with a string of hits. There’s a story about one of them I want to tell.

It’s 1966, maybe ’67. I’m living in Queens in a bus-to-the-subway apartment complex called Electchester. Fifth floor apartment. Two tiny bedrooms. Northern exposure.

By then my hair was begging to grow long. I was questioning the War and listening to lots of music with my friends.

In 1966 Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow” went to number two. Big hit!

Electrical banana
Is gonna be a sudden craze
Electrical banana
Is bound to be the very next phase

They call it mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow
(Quite rightly)
They call me mellow yellow

Some friends heard the song then heard a rumor Donovan was cryptically saying you should smoke bananas to get high!

I stood in a friend’s kitchen as he scraped the banana then smoked it. I’m no choirboy, but none for me. He told me it was harsh. He didn’t get high.

The whole smoking banana thing was an urban legend. Donovan says the electrical banana in the song was actually a vibrator.

Congratulations on your election to the hall. Job well done.

4 thoughts on “Electrical Banana Is Gonna Be A Sudden Craze”

  1. Ah the music of the late 1960’s! But congratulations to Donovan on his election to the Hall of Fame.
    “Atlantis” was another great song of his.

  2. I like bananas because they have no bones.

    Thanks for the personal insight, Geoff. I’m from the Bronx, lived in Levittown and still have family in Bellerose, Queens, where I spent a lot of great summers as a kid.

    But not smoking bananas.

  3. I like bananas because they have appeal…..still love the music and easiness of the era…..Donovan, The Turtles, The Monkees…..were things easier then or did it just seem so????? Thanks foe the memory/giggle…

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