Essence to Essence

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Essence to Essence
Donovan-Essence to Essence.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 1973
RecordedSeptember–October 1973
Studio Morgan Studios
Genre folk-rock
Label Epic
Producer Donovan Leitch
Andrew Loog Oldham
Donovan chronology
Live in Japan: Spring Tour 1973
Essence to Essence
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [1]

Essence to Essence is the eleventh studio album, and thirteenth album overall, from British singer-songwriter Donovan. It was released in both the UK (Epic SEPC 69050) and the US (Epic KE 32800) in December 1973.



By late 1973, Donovan abandoned the style of glam rock featured on his Cosmic Wheels album earlier that year. Andrew Loog Oldham was brought in (replacing Mickie Most) to co-produce Donovan's next album, which would highlight the subdued style of his previous work. Many of the songs were released on Live in Japan: Spring Tour 1973 , but that album was not released outside Japan.

In a clear sign of Donovan's waning popularity, Essence to Essence became the third Donovan album after H.M.S. Donovan and earlier Fairytale to fail to reach the top 25 in the U.S. charts. Essence to Essence missed the UK album charts altogether and peaked at No. 174 in the United States.

On Essence to Essence, Donovan focuses on spirituality and meditative lyrics. The album art features Donovan clothed in white robes, kneeling as in meditation. While the album was derided as a critical failure at the time of its release, many of the songs went on to form a major part of Donovan's live repertoire throughout the 1970s and 1980s.


Track listing

All tracks by Donovan Leitch.

Side one

  1. "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth" – 3:29
  2. "Lazy Daze" – 4:44
  3. "Life Goes On" – 2:38
  4. "There is an Ocean" – 4:50
  5. "Dignity of Man" – 5:20

Side two

  1. "Yellow Star" – 3:04
  2. "Divine Daze of Deathless Delight" – 3:12
  3. "Boy for Every Girl" – 4:15
  4. "Saint Valentine's Angel" – 3:57
  5. "Life is a Merry-Go-Round" – 4:00
  6. "Sailing Homeward" – 2:59


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