Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I opened my eyes to take a peek
To find that I was by the sea
Gazing with tranquility

'Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love

"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang

Histories of ages past
Unenlightened shadows cast
Down through all eternity
The crying of humanity

'Tis then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love

"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurd
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang

"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
Here comes the Roly Poly Man
He's singing songs of love
"Roly poly, roly poly, holy poly poly" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang
"Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy gurdy" he sang


Lyrics submitted by Willowbear

"Hurdy Gurdy Man" as written by Donovan Leitch

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

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Hurdy Gurdy Man song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think that in the first verse, Donovan is dreaming of the way he wishes the world and humans were. Peaceful. Tranquil. In the second verse, I think he's saying what they reall are.

    Histories of ages past
    Unenlightened shadows cast
    Down through all eternity
    The crying of humanity

    I think he's saying here that throughout history, mankind hasn't changed. 500 years ago we fought wars and now 500 years later, we still fight. The shadow of previous eras cast on us. We are no different than the way people were a 500 yrs ago.

    Since this song emerged during the, peace, love, and war era. I think the hurdy gury man is the hippies. Preaching that love is the answer and not war. Idk. Maybe not though. Great song otherwise.
    flipFLOPpitajon August 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenta little trivia......Jimmy Page plays the guitar riff on hurdy gurdy man
    nyseon November 23, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"What does this song mean to you?"
    I agree with besame's post (good Beatles song btw) about it being "creepy in a pretty, happy way" but I also agree that I have no idea what it was supposed to mean. On a side note, however, the song is on the soundtrack for the movie Spun (2002) and is played during a scene when the two main characters are confessing their undying love for what they value the most, her son and his girlfriend. Ironically, they are also subliminally declaring their love for meth (the subject of the film)...
    jimi1337on January 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentjimmy page and john paul jones both played on this song
    zeppelin123on May 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationDude, there is no way that this song isn't about a Pschedelic trip. Kind of the same thing with The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows. LSD a hell of a drug.
    Gingerkid923on August 07, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Hurdy Gurdy Man and his sidekick the Roly Poly Man were inspired by the Maharishi in India, where Donovan wrote the song. I've always thought Donovan tokk Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man as a starting point and took off in a slightly different direction. The tambourine man brings music which breaks the monotony of a guy on the streets at 4;00 a.m. The hurdy gurdy man inspires peace and love.
    dylaniteon February 22, 2018   Link
  • +1
    General Commentok i read your posts yet again and would like to add...
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    "Hurdy Gurdy Man"
    Single by Donovan
    B-side "Teen Angel"
    Released May 1968 (UK)
    June 1968 (U.S.)
    Format 7" 45 RPM
    Recorded April 3, 1968, CBS Studios, London, England[1]
    Genre Psychedelic rock, folk rock, Acid Rock
    Length 3:15
    Label Pye
    Epic (USA)
    Writer(s) Donovan
    Producer Mickie Most
    Donovan UK singles chronology
    "Jennifer Juniper"
    (2/1968) "Hurdy Gurdy Man"
    (1968) "Atlantis"
    (1968)

    Donovan USA singles chronology
    "Jennifer Juniper"
    (3/1968) "Hurdy Gurdy Man"
    (1968) "Laléna"
    (10/1968)




    "Hurdy Gurdy Man" is a song by the Scottish musician Donovan. It was written and recorded in early 1968 and released in May as a single and gave name to the album The Hurdy Gurdy Man, which was released in October of that year. It reached #5 in the U.S. and #4 in the UK pop charts. The song was written for Donovan's old friend and guitar mentor Mac MacLeod. MacLeod was in a Danish band at the time called Hurdy Gurdy.[2][3] The song features a harder rock sound than Donovan's usual material. It also features an Indian influence with the use of a tambura in it.

    In the booklet that came with Donovan's 1992 double CD, Troubadour: The Definitive Collection 1964-1976, Allan Holdsworth and Jimmy Page are listed as the electric guitar players and John Bonham and Clem Cattini as drummers on the recording. However, according to John Paul Jones, who arranged and played bass on the track (and also booked the session musicians), Clem Cattini played the drums and Alan Parker played the electric guitar.[4] The song was an anthem for free-spirited hippies at the time due to its psychedelic sound.

    Chart positions were #4 UK Singles Chart; #5 Billboard Pop Singles (US); #3 Cash Box (US)

    John Paul Jones, who with Page and Bonham later formed Led Zeppelin, was the musical director for the session. According to drummer Clem Cattini, the musicians who played on the song were:

    Donovan - acoustic guitar
    John Paul Jones - arrangement, musical director and bass guitar
    Alan Parker - electric guitar
    Clem Cattini - drums.
    [5]

    The session was produced by Mickie Most and engineered by Eddie Kramer.

    In interviews with Keith Altham for the NME and Hit Parader, and Tony Wilson for Melody Maker,[2] Donovan explained he wrote "Hurdy Gurdy Man" as a gift for his friend and early guitar mentor Mac MacLeod. Donovan wanted MacLeod's band Hurdy Gurdy to record it. However, Donovan changed his mind about giving the song as gift and recorded his own version. Donovan claimed in an interview with Little Steven Van Zandt that he had originally hoped Jimi Hendrix would play on the song, but as he was unavailable, Jimmy Page played instead. Page has often been credited as playing electric guitar, which Donovan still maintains: Page, Jones and Cattini assert that it was Parker. Donovan's claim is documented in Hannes Rossacher's 2008 documentary Sunshine Superman: The Journey of Donovan, where he asserts that "Hurdy Gurdy Man" ushered in the Celtic rock sound which would lead to Page, Jones, and Bonham going on to form Led Zeppelin soon afterwards.

    ok here is some of my info.. now go call or visit one of your old friends :)

    what a great song! i dedicate this post to my old fried buddy g.parker i forget your true name but we spent many a night blazin in the attic of yer mam & paps log cabin home in douglas bro! what haunts me about this song is what i found on the net...

    The hurdy gurdy in Eastern Europe
    The hurdy-gurdy has a well developed tradition in Eastern Europe, in particular in Hungary, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. In Ukraine it is known as the lira or relia. It was and still is played by professional, often blind, itinerant musicians known as lirnyky. Their repertoire is primarily para-religious in theme, although it includes many historic epics known as dumy and folk dances. Lirnyky were categorised as beggars by the Russian authorities and underwent harsh repressive measures if they performed in the streets of major cities until 1902, when the authorities were asked by ethnographers attending the 12th All-Russian Archaeological conference to stop persecuting them. In the 1930s this tradition was almost totally eradicated by the Soviet authorities when some 250-300 lirnyky were rounded up for an ethnographic conference and executed as a socially undesirable element in contemporary Soviet society. Today the instrument is undergoing a revival and is also being used in various ethnographic ensembles.


    as my ol gramps used to say " jesus h frikin christ!!" ok i left out a curse word..
    and furthermore...
    Terminology
    A person who plays the hurdy gurdy is called a hurdy gurdyist, hurdy gurdy player, or (particularly for players of French instruments) viellist.

    Due to the prominence of the French tradition, many instrument and performance terms used in English are commonly taken from the French, and players generally need to know these terms to read relevant literature. Such common terms include the following:

    trompette: the highest-pitched drone string that features the buzzing bridge
    mouche: the drone string pitched a fourth or fifth below the trompette
    petit bourdon: the drone string pitched an octave below the trompette
    gros bourdon: the drone string pitched an octave below the mouche
    chanterelle(s): melody string(s), also called chanters or chanter strings in English
    chien: (literally "dog"), the buzzing bridge
    tirant: a small peg set in the instrument’s tailpiece that is used to control the sensitivity of the buzzing bridge
    sic Encyclopedia: Hurdy-gurdy
    Top Home > Library > Entertainment & Arts > Music Encyclopedia
    A string instrument bowed mechanically, with three main elements: a set of melody and drone strings, a resin-coated wooden wheel which acts as a bow, and a keyboard with tangents that bear on the strings when depressed.


    In the Middle Ages the hurdy-gurdy (organistrum) was used in the teaching and performance of religious music. 12th-century pictures show it as fiddle-shaped with three strings, up to 2 m long, resting on the laps of two players (one operated the tangents, the other turned the wheel). Eight tangents provided a diatonic octave (with Bâ™­ as well as B) from C. The drone strings were an octave apart with the centre melody string a 4th or 5th below the higher. In the 13th century the instrument was smaller and played by one musician, often to accompany songs. It became established as a popular minstrel instrument. Its social standing has varied; in the 17th century it was a beggar's instrument. During the 18th, when ‘rusticity’ was in vogue, it saw an upsurge of popularity among the French aristocracy (as the vielle à voue), and pieces were written specially for it (e.g. Mozart's four German dances, k 602). Haydn wrote for a related instrument, the lira organizzata.

    The hurdy-gurdy is usually viol-shaped, with two melody strings passing through the box housing the tangents. One of the drones causes its bridge to rattle. The instrument is slung around the neck and held so that the keys fall back into place after being released. The player can articulate rhythm with minute interruptions of the wheel's rotation while pressing the keys with the left-hand fingers.

    The hurdy-gurdy is still played in parts of Europe as a folk instrument; variant forms include the Swedish nyckelharpa, played with a bow in place of the wheel.

    have to say i love the ability to surf the net, wikipedia and this great forum where i can say what i want (hope you read it right and it don't get deleted)!
    kush64on May 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song makes me happy.. it's so - weird. haha i don't know. i'm not really sure what it's about except that its creepy in a pretty, happy way.
    besame-muchoon May 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta little trivia......Jimmy Page plays the guitar riff on hurdy gurdy man
    nyseon November 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta hurdy gurdy is some kind of instrument.
    jtucker7on April 06, 2006   Link

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