The Lovin' Spoonful

Do You Believe in Magic?

Song Review by

"Do You Believe in Magic" was the first hit for the Lovin' Spoonful, reaching the Top Ten in 1965. Not only did that establish them as one of the first and most important folk-rock groups, but the song itself has also lasted as one of the very best rock songs to celebrate rock'n'roll itself. Although it, and the Lovin' Spoonful, have been classified as folk-rock, "Do You Believe in Magic" also owed a lot to pop, soul, and the British Invasion in its magical blend. The folk elements, perhaps, were in the jug band sense of fun that was a Lovin' Spoonful specialty, as well as singer and composer John Sebastian's autoharp, an instrument mostly associated with folk music. The autoharp could be heard on the catchy opening series of chords, which owed something to the British Invasion in its cheery mix of cheery major and minor chords. Sebastian has said, though, that the chord progressions of the song were largely based on some of the ones being used by Motown in the mid-1960s. It was a catchy tune, as many mid-1960s hits were, but it was different from much else in the hit parade in its veneration of rock'n'roll as an almost spiritual healing force. This reflected, of course, the joy of dancing to rock'n'roll experienced by the teenagers that were the group's primary fan base. But it also, if only indirectly, also reflected the joy that folkies such as those in the Lovin' Spoonful were discovering when they were led back to rock'n'roll by the Beatles and other British groups. That's not to diminish the quality of the music itself, highlighted by almost countryish flecks of electric guitar responding to the lyrics throughout; a brief but memorable low, almost growling guitar solo; and hauntingly bittersweet backup harmonies by the group during the last parts of the verses.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Do You Believe in Magic 1965 Sundazed 2:06
The Best of the Lovin' Spoonful 1967 Kama Sutra
Greatest Hits [Kama Sutra] 1970 Hollywood 2:02
No Image 1979 51 West
No Image 1983 Buddah
Classic Rock: 1965 1987
Various Artists
2:06
No Image 1988 Castle Music Ltd. 2:08
No Image 1988 Pair 0:00
American Rock 'N' Roll Classics, Vol. 6 1988
Various Artists
Roulette Records
Best of 60's Sunshine Rock 1988
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:04
No Image 1988
Various Artists
Pair
Anthology 1990 Rhino 2:04
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Era Records
AM Gold: 1965 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:04
History of Rock, Vol. 8 [Collectables 1992] 1990
Various Artists
Collectables 2:05
The Buddah Box 1993
Various Artists
Essex 2:03
20 Greatest Hits of 1966 1994
Various Artists
Deluxe 2:06
The Best of the Lovin' Spoonful [Rhino] 1994 Rhino 2:07
Do You Believe in Magic/Hums 1995 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2:04
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Buddah
I Shot Andy Warhol 1996
Original Soundtrack
TAG Recordings / Atlantic 2:06
Only Rock 'N Roll 1965-1969: #1 Radio Hits 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / JCI Associated Labels 2:04
18 Free & Easy Hits from the '60s 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex 2:01
The Very Best of the Lovin' Spoonful [Music Club] 1996 Music Club Records
Do You Believe in Magic & Other Hits [Rhino] 1997 Rhino Flashback 2:07
Best of Buddah [BMG] 1997
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:02
Whole Lotta Rock: 1964-1965 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 2:04
Summer In The City 1997 BMG Special Products 2:03
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1960-1969 1997
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 2:06
No Image 1997
Various Artists
2:02
The Number Ones: The 60's 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 2:04
Greatest Hits [Delta] 1998 Delta Distribution 2:03
The Very Best of Lovin' Spoonful [Camden] 1998 DJ Specialist 2:03
The Parent Trap [1998 Original Soundtrack] 1998
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 2:06
Orlando Magic Greatest Hits 1998
Various Artists
Alphabet City Sports Records / Alphabet City 1:58
The 60's [Original Television Soundtrack] 1999
Original TV Soundtrack
Mercury 2:04
Collector's Edition, Vol. 1-3 1999 Platinum Disc 2:02
Collector's Edition, Vol. 2 1999 Platinum Disc 2:02
Greatest Hits of the 60s, Vol. 2 [Platinum Disc #1] 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:05
Chartbusters USA, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Ace 2:05
Soundtracks of Love: Hooked on a Feeling 1999
Various Artists
Unison 2:01
Treasury of Folk: Folk Rock 1964-1968 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:07
Greatest Hits of the 60's [Platinum] 2000
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:04
Positively 60's 2000
Various Artists
Capitol 2:06
Greatest Hits [Buddha] 2000 Buddha Records 2:08
The Official American Bandstand Library of Rock & Roll 2000
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:00
Battle of the Bands: The Turtles Golden Hits/The Lovin' Spoonful Greatest Hits 2000 Delta Distribution 2:03
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1965 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 2:06
Cosmic Grooves: Aries 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:06
A Year in Your Life: 1965, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 2:05
The Best of the Lovin' Spoonful [Paradiso] 2001 Paradiso 2:08
Do You Believe in Magic/Daydream 2002 American Legends 2:07
The Folk Years: Reason to Believe 2002
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:06
The Very Best of 60's Gold 2003
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:06
1965: The Soundtrack 2003
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:02
Peace Protest: 20 Sixties Classics 2003
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:02
The Folk Years [Box Set] 2003
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:06
Platinum & Gold Collection 2003 BMG Heritage / Buddha Records 2:07
WCBS FM: Motown, Soul and Rock N Roll: Motown 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 0:00
I Love Rock & Roll, Vol. 8 2004
Various Artists
Collectables 2:06
Dance Party Classics [BMG Special Products] 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:06
The Best of the Lovin' Spoonful 2004 BMG International 2:08
Very Best of the Lovin' Spoonful [BMG] 2004 BMG 2:05
Legends: Pluggin' In 2004
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:07
The '60s Rock Experience 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:05
Singles As & Bs 2006 Repertoire 2:06
Sensational Sixties [BMG Special Products] 2006
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:03
Life and Times 1964-1999 2007 Raven 2:04
Legends Informercial Set 2007
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:07
Sugar, Sugar: 60s Pop 2007
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:06
Playlist: The Very Best of Lovin' Spoonful 2008 Legacy / Playlist 2:07
Super Hits 2008 Sbme Special Mkts. 2:06
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:04
Lo Esencial de Jugo de Hits 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music Entertainment 2:06
Singers & Songwriters: Troubadours 2010
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:03
Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:03
Pure... 60s 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:06
'60s Music Revolution 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:07
Romancing the '60s [Time] 2013
Various Artists
StarVista / Time / Life Music 2:03
The 60s: The Lovin' Spoonful 2014 BMG / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment 2:05
100 Hits: Pop Essentials
Various Artists
DMG TV 2:05
Do You Remember 1965
Various Artists
Pop Anthology
Feel-Good Favorites
Various Artists
Avalon 2:04
Feel-Good Favorites: Pop Hits of the '60s & '70s, Vols. 1-2
Various Artists
Ultimate Mix 2:04
Feelin' Groovy [Mood]
Various Artists
Mood Media Entertainment 2:06
The California Sound of the 60's
Various Artists
Scana 2:01
No Image
Various Artists