Donovan, ‘60s legend, icon, poet and one of our most enduring singer-songwriters, is returning this year to mark his 50th year in the music business. This most auspicious anniversary will prompt a major renaissance for the man whose fingerprints can be seen throughout the last half century of popular music.
Union Square Music join Donovan in his 50th anniversary celebrations with representation by NS&A. Donovan will spend the year in a hive of activity, releasing a two disc anthology called ‘Donovan Retrospective’ on June 8th, which will be made up of selections from his ‘60s catalogue chosen by Donovan and a brand new reggae-style single ‘One English Summer’.
He was 18 years old when he had his first hit, ‘Catch The Wind’, for which he received the prestigious Ivor Novello Award, and since then the man born Donovan Leitch in Scotland in 1946 has been pop star and folk troubadour, a flag bearer for all things psychedelic, and one of the early adopters (and subsequent promoters) of Transcendental Meditation, now one of the most recognized, and practiced, meditation techniques in the world.
Following his first Top 5 record, Donovan scored 10 other hit singles ‘Colours’, ‘Universal Soldier’, ‘Sunshine Superman’, ‘Mellow Yellow’, ‘The Hurdy Gurdy Man’ ‘Lalena’, Jenifer Juniper’, ‘There is a Mountain’; Wear Your Love Like Heaven’, ‘Barabajagal’ and ‘Atlantis’
Donovan has recently been inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2012) and The Songwriters Hall of Fame (2014 ), and received The Mojo Maverick Award from Jimmy Page.
In many ways, his career has been a series of firsts. In addition to creating the first psychedelic album (Sunshine Superman in 1966), he was the first ‘Rolling Stone Interview’ in the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine in 1967. He was the first solo artist to sell out Madison Square Garden, and coined the phrase ‘Celtic Rock’.
And he is surely the first, and arguably the only, artist to have influenced both Led Zeppelin and Belle and Sebastian, among so many others. Thousands of cover versions of his songs attest to his importance as a songwriter and recording studio innovator.
His unique work continues to influence new bands and singers. That’s quite a breadth of accomplishment. But then breadth was what he always did best. His album Sunshine Superman (1965/1966) introduced Flower Power to the world and influenced his friends The Beatles to create their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper, and he contributed lyrics to their songs. He taught John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison to finger pick the guitar on their famous trip to India to study Transcendental Meditation. George Harrison later said of their friend, “Donovan is all over The White Album“.
For over 45 years and up to the present day, his evocative songs are consistently requested for major films , hit TV series and top commercials, spreading his work further into new audiences.
It’s all a long way from that heady decade that birthed him, but 2015 will confirm Donovan as so much more than a mere heritage act. He is the history of British rock and pop distilled into one man. He is an institution, and his legacy and influence will ensure that he is part of its future, too.
Donovan will mount a UK & Ireland Tour in October 2015 starting in his home town of Glasgow: The Pavilion Theatre – October 3rd and Manchester: Royal Northern College Of Music – October 17th followed by dates in Europe, North America and the East in November /December (details on Donovan’s website). He will also be the subject of a BBC 2 radio special.
Donovan says “I am delighted to be celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of my work. It has always been my wish to offer as many as possible an alternative. See you in a concert soon!”