Song Lyric Sunday — Atlantis

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us “above,” “below,” and “between” for our theme. My choice for this week comes from way down below the ocean. It’s “Atlantis” by Donovan.

“Atlantis” was written and recorded by Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch. Released as a single in 1968, it became a worldwide hit. The song was not deemed likely to be a hit in the U.S. because of its length and the fact that the first third of the song is spoken prose and was, therefore, not “radio-friendly,” which is why it was demoted to B-side status to “To Susan on the West Coast, Waiting.” However, the song was quite successful, reaching number 7 on the Billboard charts, and it became an anthem of the hippie movement. Interestingly, the only sung line in the song are Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be.

The song begins as a long narrative poem in which Donovan tells of the legendary island of Atlantis. Exotic and mythological images were on the minds of many hippies in the ’60s, and Atlantis was the symbol of the conterculture moment with the hope that, if true love is found, Atlantis will be reached.

Here are the lyrics to “Atlantis.”

The continent of Atlantis was an island
Which lay before the great flood
In the area we now call the Atlantic Ocean.
So great an area of land,
That from her western shores
Those beautiful sailors journeyed
To the South and the North Americas with ease,
In their ships with painted sails.
To the East Africa was a neighbour, 
Across a short strait of sea miles. 
The great Egyptian age is 

But a remnant of The Atlantian culture.
The antediluvian kings colonised the world
All the Gods who play in the mythological dramas
In all legends from all lands were from far Atlantis.

Knowing her fate,
Atlantis sent out ships to all corners of the Earth.
On board were the Twelve: 

The poet, the physician, The farmer, the scientist,
The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends.
Though Gods they were –
And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind 
Let us rejoice 
And let us sing 
And dance and ring in the new Hail Atlantis!

Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be,
Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be,
Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be.
Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be,
Way down below the ocean where I wanna be she may be.
My antediluvian baby, oh yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah,
I wanna see you some day
My antediluvian baby, oh yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah,
My antediluvian baby, 
My antediluvian baby, I love you, girl,
Girl, I wanna see you some day. 
My antediluvian baby, oh yeah
I wanna see you some day, oh My antediluvian baby.
My antediluvian baby, I wanna see you
My antediluvian baby, gotta tell me where she gone
I wanna see you some day Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up,
oh yeah Oh club club, down down, yeah
My antediluvian baby, oh yeah yeah yeah yeah

12 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Atlantis

  1. Maggie August 23, 2020 / 7:10 am

    Loved listening to this. So lovely. It has been a long time since I have heard this one. Perfect choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. newepicauthor August 23, 2020 / 8:09 am

    Who are those antediluvian kings, as I tried to write a book about Plato telling the story of Atlantis, but I burned out on it. I always liked this song Fandango, thanks for sharing it. I think Aquaman came from Atlantis, so I can see the connection with mermaids.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. J-Dub August 23, 2020 / 9:23 am

    The whole story of Atlantis is intriguing. The song seemed familiar at first but it’s a new song for me. Very cool vibe. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lisa Coleman August 23, 2020 / 8:45 pm

    First time I’ve heard this. I found it very interesting and enjoyed it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 23, 2020 / 11:13 pm

      You must be too young to have been a hippie in the late 60s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa Coleman August 24, 2020 / 5:29 pm

        I was born in 65 but I grew up listening to the 50-60 in the 70s. I kinda skipped over all of that. I’ve been learning the past 15 years because my hubby is 10 years older than me. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. leigha66 August 26, 2020 / 11:39 pm

    Have to admit that is a new one for me. Pretty good though!

    Liked by 1 person

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