Donovan developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz, pop, psychedelic rock and world music.
61 Facts About Donovan
Donovan began a long and successful collaboration with leading British independent record producer Mickie Most, scoring multiple hit singles and albums in the UK, US, and other countries.
Donovan became a friend of pop and folk musicians including Joan Baez, Brian Jones, and the Beatles.
Donovan's backing musicians included the Jeff Beck Group, and John Bonham, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, who later rose to fame as members of Led Zeppelin.
Donovan continued to perform and record sporadically in the 1970s and 1980s.
Donovan's performing and recording became sporadic until a revival in the 1990s with the emergence of Britain's rave scene.
Donovan recorded the 1996 album Sutras with producer Rick Rubin and in 2004 made a new album, Beat Cafe.
Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.
Donovan was born on 10 May 1946, in Maryhill, Glasgow, to Donald and Winifred Leitch.
Donovan's family moved to the new town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England.
Donovan enrolled in art school but soon dropped out, to live out his beatnik aspirations by going on the road.
In late 1964, Donovan was offered a management and publishing contract by Peter Eden and Geoff Stephens of Pye Records in London, for which he recorded a 10-track demo tape, which included the original of his first single, "Catch the Wind", and "Josie".
Donovan had recently met Jones' ex-girlfriend, Linda Lawrence, who is the mother of Jones' son, Julian Brian Leitch.
Donovan influenced Donovan's music but refused to marry him and she moved to the United States for several years in the late 1960s.
Donovan isn't too bad a singer but his stuff sounds like Dylan's.
Donovan is the undercurrent In D A Pennebaker's film Dont Look Back documenting Dylan's tour.
Donovan finally appears in the second half of the film, along with Derroll Adams, in Dylan's suite at the Savoy Hotel despite Donovan's management refusing to allow journalists to be present, saying they did not want "any stunt on the lines of the disciple meeting the messiah".
When confronted with lifting his tune, Donovan said that he thought it was an old folk song.
Once the camera rolled, Donovan plays his song "To Sing For You" and then asks Dylan to play "Baby Blue".
Donovan immersed himself in jazz, blues, Eastern music, and the new generation of counterculture-era US West Coast bands such as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.
Donovan was entering his most creative phase as a songwriter and recording artist, working with Mickie Most and with arranger, musician, and jazz fan John Cameron.
Donovan toured the US and appeared on episode 23 of Pete Seeger's television show Rainbow Quest in 1966 with Shawn Phillips and Rev Gary Davis.
Donovan met Phillips in London in 1965, and he became a friend and early collaborator, playing acoustic guitar and sitar on recordings including Sunshine Superman as well as accompanying Donovan at concerts and on Pete Seeger's TV show.
Donovan's version is in the closing sequence of the Gus Van Sant film, To Die For.
On 9 February 1967, Donovan was among guests invited by the Beatles to Abbey Road Studios for the orchestral overdub for "A Day in the Life", the finale to Sgt.
In mid-1966, Donovan became the first high-profile British pop star to be arrested for possession of cannabis.
Donovan's arrest proved to be the first in a long series involving the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
In early 1967, Donovan was subject of an expose in the News of the World.
Donovan had mistaken Brian Jones for Jagger, and Jagger sued the newspaper for libel.
The first, "Wear Your Love Like Heaven", was for people of his generation who would one day be parents; the second, "For Little Ones", was songs Donovan had written for coming generations.
In late 1967 Donovan contributed two songs to the Ken Loach film Poor Cow.
Donovan developed interest in eastern mysticism and claims to have interested the Beatles in transcendental meditation.
Donovan tried to get Hendrix to play, but he was on tour.
Since John Bonham and John Paul Jones played, Donovan said perhaps the session inspired the formation of Led Zeppelin.
The heavier sound of "Hurdy Gurdy Man" was an attempt by Most and Donovan to reach a wider audience in the US, where hard-rock groups like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience were having an impact.
The Beck group was under contract to Most and it was Most's idea to team them with Donovan to bring a heavier sound to Donovan's work, while introducing a lyrical edge to Beck's.
On 7 July 1969, Donovan performed at the first show in the second season of free rock concerts in Hyde Park, London, which featured Blind Faith, Richie Havens, the Edgar Broughton Band and the Third Ear Band.
Donovan said he wanted to record with someone else, and he and Most did not work together again until Cosmic Wheels.
Donovan's plan for Open Road was to tour the world for a year, beginning with a boat voyage around the Aegean Sea, documented in the 1970 film There is an Ocean.
Donovan dropped out of the round of tour promotion and concentrated on writing, recording and his family.
The 1978 LP, Donovan was on Most's RAK Records in the UK and on Clive Davis' new Arista Records in the US; it reunited him for the last time with Most and Cameron, but was not well received at the height of the new wave and did not chart.
The punk era provoked a backlash in Britain against the optimism and whimsy of the hippie era, of which Donovan was a prime example.
Donovan was in the performance of Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" for the show's finale.
Donovan appeared at the Glastonbury Festival on 18 June 1989 with the band Ozric Tentacles accompanying him onstage.
In 1990 Donovan released a live album featuring new performances of his classic songs.
Donovan found an ally in rap producer and Def Jam label owner Rick Rubin and recorded the album Sutras for Rubin's American Recordings label.
In 2000, Donovan narrated and played himself in the Futurama episode "The Deep South" on 16 April with a parody of the song "Atlantis".
At a series of Beat Cafe performances in New York, Richard Barone joined Donovan to sing and read passages from Allen Ginsberg's Howl.
In May 2004, Donovan played "Sunshine Superman" at the wedding concert for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark.
Donovan released his early demo tapes, Sixty Four, and a re-recording of the Brother Sun, Sister Moon soundtrack on iTunes.
In January 2007, Donovan played at the Kennedy Center, in Washington, DC, at Alice Tully Hall, in New York City, and at the Kodak Theatre, in Los Angeles, in conjunction with a presentation by filmmaker David Lynch supporting the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and world peace.
Donovan appeared at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, in May 2007, and toured the UK with Lynch in October 2007.
In March 2007, Donovan played two shows at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.
Donovan had planned a spring 2007 release of an album, along with a UK tour, but announced the tour was cancelled and the album delayed.
Donovan said was in good health and gave no reason for the cancellation.
In October 2007, he announced plans for the "Invincible Donovan University" focusing on Transcendental Meditation, to be near Glasgow or Edinburgh.
On 6 October 2009, Donovan was honoured as a BMI Icon at the 2009 annual BMI London Awards.
On 10 May 2021, the day of his 75th birthday, Donovan released the new track "I Am the Shaman".
Donovan had a relationship with American model Enid Karl, and they had two children: actor-musician Donovan Leitch in 1967, and actress Ione Skye in 1970.
Donovan is the adoptive father of Lawrence's and Brian Jones's son, Julian Brian Leitch.
On 14 April 2012 Donovan was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.