Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)

Album: Barabajagal (1969)
Charted: 12 36

Songfacts®:

  • With the refrain, "Goo goo Barabajagal was his name now," this was one of Donovan's last big songs of the 1960s. The title is a made-up name for a seductive lover mentioned in the song.
  • Donovan was backed by the Jeff Beck Group on this track. Rod Stewart was a member of the group but didn't perform on the song. Mickie Most, who was producing both Donovan and Beck, explained to The Record Producers in 1982, "One of Donovan's problems was that he never really had a band. He'd go on tour and say, 'This is going to be a flute tour,' and he'd take a flute player, an upright bass player, and he'd play acoustic guitar himself. And then he'd say he was going to do a rock tour, and he'd pick up some rock musicians, but he never had anybody he could bring into the studio, there was never that sort of working relationship, so I always used to use the people who I'd used on the Herman's Hermits records, the session guys. But when Jeff Beck had his group buzzing away, I thought it might be an idea to put the two things together after Donovan sang me this song called 'Barabajagal.' It was partly all right, and partly a mess. I don't really know, but if somebody played it to me now, I'd probably feel it was a mess – at the time, it was a real attempt to get other influences into both their musics, because I wanted Donovan to get a little more heavyweight, and Jeff a little more lyrical. Rod Stewart was writing more lyrically, and he's done it even more since then – his big hit songs have had much more passion than just simple blues, and they've been sort of good love songs, and Donovan was good at that."
  • Donovan did an odd spoken monologue on this song. The album also included the hit "Atlantis" which also had a spoken part. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sara - Silver Spring, MD, for all above
  • When Donovan put "Barabajagal" together with Mickey Most and Beck it was a total experimental piece. He explained to Uncut magazine: "There was a lot of power and a certain amount of anger in it, but it was controlled mayhem; I knew there was something extraordinarily powerful that could be made with these two chords. What was going through my mind with the lyrics was that it was time to relate the shamanic, tribal history of humanity, where through the use of powerful plants like an ayahuasca, strong changes could be placed inside us that maybe we needed."

Comments: 1

  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdBarbajagal is a seller of wild herbs. Ironic because Donovan was busted for hashish posession a few years bach.
    This was covered by a band called Dope Smugglarz
    lead by Shaun Ryder, Donovan's son in law.
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