Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” Lyrics Meaning

The lyrics of “Season of the Witch” are very ambiguous, even when being studied now, well over 50 years after its original dropping. But as implied by Donovan in his explanation of this piece, what he was speaking to is the youth culture of that day – i.e. the mid-1960s – and how everything was not as copacetic as it may have appeared to participants on the surface. 

In other words, he is not referring to ‘witches’ as we commonly understand the term, as pointing to women who practice dark magic. Rather, he is poetically noting how suddenly, if you will, there were “so many different people” popping up on the scene that it was becoming increasingly difficult to know who was actually who, as in which of them had ill intentions and which didn’t.

And going back to his above explanation, to illustrate this point Donovan referenced the fact that he got knocked on weed charges shortly after this track came out. This was back in the days when weed was still very controversial and before the public became aware of just how pervasive drug use is amongst professional musicians.

Indeed, Donovan proved to be a trailblazer as far as British rockers getting caught with illegal drugs were concerned. And it just so happened that the officer who arrested him was ‘a plain-clothed policewoman posing as a partygoer’.

Final Thoughts

So in looking back, Donovan actually referred to “Season of the Witch” as being “prophetic” in terms of his personal situation. So perhaps we can close by putting forth that this piece is akin to our grandparents’ version of Snow’s “Informer“. 

But Donovan’s piece is more comprehensive in that, in a roundabout way, he is advising listeners not only to be on the lookout for the likes of snitches but indeed all types of ‘witches’ who appear as everyone else on the scene but are actually out to exploit them in one way or another.

Donovan, "Season of the Witch" Lyrics


Donovan is an old school musician from Scotland. He is a musician who experienced his heyday during the 1960s, which was his first decade of professional activity.  

“Sunshine Superman”, an LP he released through Epic Records, marks the highest Donovan ever reached on the Billboard 200, where the album peaked at number 11. It is from that project, his third studio album, that we get “Season of the Witch”.

Release Date of “Season of the Witch”

“Season of the Witch” along with its album came out in 1966.


Donovan composed “Season of the Witch” alongside Shawn Phillips. The track was produced by the late Mickie Most (1938-2003). 

Season of the Witch

Famous Covers of “Season of the Witch”

Artists who have famously covered this song throughout the years include:

  • Lou Rawls (1969)
  • Hole (1997)
  • Joan Jett (2004)
  • Lana Del Rey (2019)

Usage by Microsoft

This song experienced an uptick in popularity during the 21st century when, in 2010, Microsoft utilized it to advertise their Windows Phone 7.

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