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Donovan

Upon his emergence during the mid-'60s, Donovan was anointed "Britain's answer to Bob Dylan," a facile but largely unfounded comparison which compromised the Scottish folk-pop troubadour's own unique vision. Where the thrust of Dylan's music remains its bleak introspection and bitter realism, Donovan fully embraced the wide-eyed optimism of the flower power movement, his ethereal, ornate songs radiating a mystical beauty and childlike wonder; for better or worse, his recordings remain quintessential artifacts of the psychedelic era, capturing the peace and love idealism of their time to perfection. Donovan Leitch was born May 10, 1946 in Glasgow and raised outside of London; at 18 he recorded his first demo, and in 1965 was tapped as a regular on the television pop showcase Ready, Steady, Go! He soon issued his debut single "Catch the Wind," earning the first round of Dylan comparisons with his ramshackle folk sound and ragamuffin look; the single nevertheless reached the U.K. Top Five, with a subsequent meeting between the two singer/songwriters captured in the classic D.A. Pennebaker documentary Don't Look Back.

Donovan's follow-up single, "Colours," was also a hit, and after making his American debut at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, he issued Fairytale, his second and last LP for the Hickory label. Signing with Epic in 1966, he released his breakthrough album, Sunshine Superman, which in its exotic arrangements and pointedly psychedelic lyrical outlook heralded a major shift from his previous work; the title track topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, with the enigmatic "Mellow Yellow" reaching the number two spot a few months later. Donovan remained a chart fixture throughout 1967, generating a series of hits including "Epistle to Dippy," "There Is a Mountain," and "Wear Your Love Like Heaven"; that year he traveled to India alongside the Beatles to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a journey which inspired him to renounce drug use and encourage his listeners to turn to meditation. The ambitious double album A Gift from a Flower to a Garden followed, and in 1968 Donovan resurfaced with The Hurdy Gurdy Man, scoring a Top Five smash with the hallucinatory title cut; the record also yielded the hit "Jennifer Juniper."

Barabajagal from 1969 generated Donovan's final Top 40 hit, "Atlantis"; for the title track, he collaborated with the Jeff Beck Group, with whom he also worked on 1970s Open Road. He then retreated to Ireland, emerging from a period of seclusion by starring in and scoring the 1972 film The Pied Piper; a pair of new LPs, Cosmic Wheels and Essence to Essence, appeared the following year to disappointing reviews and little commercial interest. Following 1974's 7-Tease, he spent the next years living quietly in California's Joshua Tree desert, mounting only a small club tour to promote 1976's Slow Down; a self-titled LP appeared a year later, and in the wake of 1983's Jerry Wexler-produced Lady of the Stars, he essentially retired from writing and recording altogether. The Donovan revival began in earnest in 1991 when Happy Mondays titled a song in his honor for their groundbreaking Pills 'n' Thrills & Bellyaches; he later toured with the group as well. Five years later, Donovan released his comeback LP, Sutras, helmed by producer du jour Rick Rubin. (The album had the misfortune to be released after Rubin's landmark Johnny Cash record, American Recordings and was virtually ignored or misunderstood by critics.) Donovan toured briefly to support Sutras and then went missing once again, playing out only sporadically. In 2004, however, he reappeared with the intimate and stylish Beat Cafe, a collection of nearly all-original songs produced by keyboardist John Chelew. Donovan also enlisted bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Jim Keltner to round out his quartet. The album featured a pair of covers, a spoken word rendition of poet Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle," and a startling rendition of the traditional tune "The Cuckoo." ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Try For The Sun: The Journey Of Donovan

Comments

suzan_philli p s
The Origional Hurti Gurti Man!!!!
Listen to Dylan's Spanish Boots of Spanish Leather...th i s is an exact copy...
Love this guy ! Hurdy Gurdy man rules , among others .
bard.ninja09
The comparison to Dylan is not an apt one....Donov a n is WAY BETTER.
Underrated!! ! !
I quote myself: Donovan's rise and fall paralleled that of the 1960s counter-cult u r e , and he will undoubtedly be forever associated with naive psychedelia. This is unfortunate because he was a consistently imaginative lyricist who pioneered novel sounds such as Caribbean forms long before such work became fashionable. His popular music career may have fit the typical rock star paradigm, but the best of his work remains sui generis.
Sunshine superman��
@ JUSTIN MICHAEL HARRIS, WHAT TIME YOU GETTIN UP TOMORROW, LOL
officialunit e d s t a t e s :
i’m that friend that has to swim through the mud when the path isn’t big enough. i’m that friend that gets left behind enemy lines when i asked for them to wait for me. i’m that friend that doesn’t get invited to my own birthday party. i’m that friend that if i want to go to the army recruitment center or the hoover dam with a friend i have to be the one to invite people to make sure i get included. i’ll always be that friend.
this track is Dylan...not donovan!!!
I'm glad that he was finally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year. Although that museum makes a lot of questionable induction choices, Donovan's was well-deserve d .
Did Donovan do once you've made your mind up your going to be mine?
Poetic and Musical Genius
For once, I've foind a singer that's actually a little hot...
So I learned the other day that my aunt dated Donovan before he became famous... I felt like I was going to pass out from excitement and frustration at her for NOT marrying him.
Soooo under rated love all his songs
Dylan riled people up Donovan calmed them down. Sand in the toes, a bit of whatever tonic you like and an entire day could wash away with Donovan.
I was unfamiliar with Donovan before I turned on Pandora, didn't know he did Mellow Yellow, and I tend to be a mellow fellow, so it is fitting.
Funny, I was just singing 'I Love My Shirt' to my 18-year-old son a week or two ago... Donovan could be a mite precious at times, but had a nice, weirdly gentle vibe that I can still enjoy.
The 60s rocked...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . !
He looks like that b**ch from twilight. Good song tho
~~~ sigh ~~~
starwarskid2 0 0 0
Dononvan is one of the greatest songwriters of the psychedelic era. Season of the Witch is perfectly arranged
Donovan released some great songs but he was still a Dylan clone - the hat, the harmonica, the harmonica holder, the style...
Donavan was a sweetie. I loved him as a teen and he still makes me smile as a grandmother
fatheadbrenn a n
oh please. I was there when this dip first started. Dylans early stuff still holds up but lets be real this crap was a joke in the UK then and has only got worse as the years roll by.
Hey Hunems, U R A f**king moron... Now off to bed like a little boy you go!
cherrypieeye d
if i could hug him i'd hold on for awhile!
shoppersteve
Wasn't he inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame last year? He performed at any rate. Lots of memories. Like someone previously wrote, Eee-lectrica l banana, ha!
bdaigle54
The bio leaves out Donovan's beautiful scoring of Zeffirelli's 1973 film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, the story of the early life of St. Francis of Assisi.
nothing makes me happier then kicking back looking out the window with a fresh cup of coffee and a nice stinky doobie while Donovan harmonizes my thoughts..
Old brit
Great writer and singer and I believe that his work has not been recognized as much as it should have been , maybe it will be in the future .
Donovan was great. He also surrounded himself with some of the best session musicians of the 60's and they added a lot to his unique sound.
Listen to Catch The Wind and Colours. He was only in his early 20's when he wrote such beautiful poetry.
And today, people consider Rap to be music. Ptui !
kvons1
Donovan Leitch----gr e a t artist of the times.
nik_dangr
Eeeelectrica l banana. Yes!
jalepard
They play a lot of different Donovan songs here. Some I've never even heard, so not the typical hits. Very cool
kvons1
Donovan ----timeless
art.resnick1 3 2
Saw him in 2004,2006, and a couple of months ago all in the DC area. Been a fan since 1965. He is older but still performing well and as moving and beautiful as ever.
one of the best
deb286
I've always loved this guy since I was 12 yrs old ...hope he is alive and well. I still sing his beautiful songs to my horses and named one of them Jennifer Juniper
Donovan is a gentle spirit transending the viscious, selfish fascism of Renee Cantrell!
I heard stuff I'd never heard before just a couple of years ago,and now I am a BIG fan of Donovan. I didn't realize just how much good stuff he put out.
Where is he now? I think he is great! His bio stops at 2004.
I sat cross-legged on a beach on Martha's Vinyard and listed to my crystalAM radio playing Sunshine Superman, and suddenly music was never the same...
As an early fan I have satisfying memories of Donovan
I've said it before and I'll say it again, If you were there, no explanation is necessary, if you weren't, no explanation will do. The 60's were a crazy time and the music reflects all the love, hate, freedom, repression, black, white, north, south, establishmen t , hippie, war, peace, Nixon, McGovern, Yankees, Red Sox, We lived through it and changed the world.
Donovan was a fine writer/compo s e r . Still love to listen to him, still revavent.
Man what a cool cat. Cuttin out, Josie, Season of the Witch...I remember the scene in goodfellas where Tommy whacks Billy Bats to Atlantis
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