100 Great Songs From The British Invasion: 1963-1966. ‘Mellow Yellow’- Donovan. Donovan’s follow up single to his only #1 hit in the US- “Sunshine Superman’- nearly went to #1 itself. ‘Mellow Yellow’ peaked at #2. There was a rumor at the time that smoking dried banana skins-had hallucinogenic effects- it turns out that it was a rumor made up by County Joe McDonald. I wonder how many people tried doing that back in the mid to late 60’s? Donovan of course was hanging out with The Beatles and Dylan at this time- he had a small part in helping with the lyrics to “Yellow Submarine’- and Paul McCartney- appeared on this song- you can hear him in the background- and he played some bass on the Yellow Mellow album. And then there is this- concerning the ‘electrical banana’ reference in the song.
According to The Rolling Stone Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, he admitted later the song made reference to a vibrator; an “electrical banana” as mentioned in the lyrics. Donovan stated, “I was reading a newspaper and on the back there was an ad for a yellow dildo called the mellow yellow,” he said. “Really, you know the ‘electric banana’ was right in there and gave it away. And that’s what the song’s about.” This definition was re-affirmed in an interview with NME magazine: “it’s about being cool, laid-back, and also the electrical bananas that were appearing on the scene – which were ladies’ vibrators.”
Single: ‘Mellow Yellow’-Donovan/ Written by Donovan/ Record Company- Epic/ Time: 3:42/ Produced by Mickie Most/ Recorded October 1966- Released October 24, 1966 in US-February 1967 in UK/ Peaked at #2 in US Billboard Hot 100, #8 in UK Singles Chart.