Biography

Donovan (born Donovan Philips Leitch, 10 May 1946 in Maryhill, Glasgow) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist. Originally a folk artist in 1965, Donovan quickly developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz, pop, psychedelia, and world music (notably calypso). He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

Donovan came to fame in the United Kingdom in early 1965 with a series of live performances on the television pop series, Ready Steady Go!. He first hit the charts in 1965 with his single “Catch the Wind”. He produced hit after hit throughout the sixties and his Sunshine Superman album was considered an innovative breakthrough to a new psychedelic pop sound. His 1967 double album A Gift From A Flower To A Garden completed the transition from beat poet folkster to hippie troubadour. After splitting with producer Mickie Most after his album Barabajagal, his career struggled though the 1970s, but he has regained popularity with re-issues of his old songs in the 1990s.

Songfacts reports that Donovan first met Linda Lawrence in 1965, when she was recovering from a broken relationship with Brian Jones. The pair dated briefly, but not wanting the scrutiny and uncertainty of being a pop’s star girlfriend all over again, Lawrence broke it off at the end of the year. They continued to have an on-off romantic relationship over the next five years, and Linda exerted a huge influence on Donovan’s music. They finally married on October 2, 1970 at Windsor Registry Office.

As a close friend of The Beatles, he travelled to India with them during their famous trip, and taught them how to fingerpick.

Donovan continued to perform and record sporadically in the 1970s and 1980s, but gradually fell from favour. His gentle musical style and hippie image was scorned by critics, especially after the advent of punk rock. Donovan withdrew from performing and recording several times during his career, but he underwent a revival in the 1990s with the emergence of the rave scene in Britain. Late in the decade, he recorded the 1996 album Sutras with producer and long-time fan Rick Rubin and in 2004 released a new album, Beat Cafe. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

Edited by KeithJones on 21 Jan 2013, 22:19

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Formed in
  • 1965
Founded in
  • Glasgow

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