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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 comparisonwhichcompromised the Scottish folk-pop troubadour's own unique vision. Where the thrust of Dylan's music remains its bleak introspection andbitterrealism, Donovan fully embraced the wide-eyed optimism of the flower power movement, his ethereal, ornate songs radiating a mysticalbeauty andchildlike wonder; for better or worse, his recordings remain quintessential artifacts of the psychedelic era, capturing the peace andlove idealism oftheir time to perfection ...read more

Upon his emergence during the mid-'60s, Donovan was anointed "Britain's answer to Bob Dylan," a facile but largely unfounded comparisonwhichcompromised the Scottish folk-pop troubadour's own unique vision. Where the thrust of Dylan's music remains its bleak introspection andbitterrealism, Donovan fully embraced the wide-eyed optimism of the flower power movement, his ethereal, ornate songs radiating a mysticalbeauty andchildlike wonder; for better or worse, his recordings remain quintessential artifacts of the psychedelic era, capturing the peace andlove idealism oftheir time to perfection. Donovan Leitch was born May 10, 1946 in Glasgow and raised outside of London; at 18 he recorded hisfirst demo, and in1965 was tapped as a regular on the television pop showcase Ready, Steady, Go! He soon issued his debut single "Catch theWind," earning the firstround of Dylan comparisons with his ramshackle folk sound and ragamuffin look; the single nevertheless reached the U.K.Top Five, with a subsequentmeeting 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,hissecond and last LP for the Hickory label. Signing with Epic in 1966, he released his breakthrough album, Sunshine Superman, which in itsexoticarrangements and pointedly psychedelic lyrical outlook heralded a major shift from his previous work; the title track topped the charts onboth sides ofthe Atlantic, with the enigmatic "Mellow Yellow" reaching the number two spot a few months later. Donovan remained a chartfixture throughout 1967,generating a series of hits including "Epistle to Dippy," "There Is a Mountain," and "Wear Your Love Like Heaven"; thatyear he traveled to Indiaalongside the Beatles to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a journey which inspired him to renounce drug use andencourage his listeners to turnto meditation. The ambitious double album A Gift from a Flower to a Garden followed, and in 1968 Donovanresurfaced 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 whomhe alsoworked on 1970s Open Road. He then retreated to Ireland, emerging from a period of seclusion by starring in and scoring the 1972 filmThe Pied Piper;a pair of new LPs, Cosmic Wheels and Essence to Essence, appeared the following year to disappointing reviews and littlecommercial interest.Following 1974's 7-Tease, he spent the next years living quietly in California's Joshua Tree desert, mounting only a smallclub tour to promote 1976'sSlow Down; a self-titled LP appeared a year later, and in the wake of 1983's Jerry Wexler-produced Lady of theStars, he essentially retired fromwriting and recording altogether. The Donovan revival began in earnest in 1991 when Happy Mondays titled asong in his honor for theirgroundbreaking Pills 'n' Thrills & Bellyaches; he later toured with the group as well. Five years later, Donovan releasedhis comeback LP, Sutras,helmed by producer du jour Rick Rubin. (The album had the misfortune to be released after Rubin's landmark JohnnyCash record, AmericanRecordings and was virtually ignored or misunderstood by critics.) Donovan toured briefly to support Sutras and thenwent missing once again, playingout only sporadically. In 2004, however, he reappeared with the intimate and stylish Beat Cafe, a collection ofnearly all-original songs produced bykeyboardist John Chelew. Donovan also enlisted bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Jim Keltner toround out his quartet. The album featured a pairof covers, a spoken word rendition of poet Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle," and a startlingrendition of the traditional tune "The Cuckoo." « hide

Similar Bands: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jefferson Airplane, The Zombies, Bill Fay

LPs
Shadows of Blue
01/01/2013

Ritual Groove
2010

Brother Sun, Sister Moon
2005

Beat Cafe
2004

2
1 Votes
Sixty Four
2004

Pied Piper
2002

Sutras
1996

3.5
2 Votes
One Night in Time
1993

Lady of the Stars
1984

Love Is Only a Feeling
1981

Neutronica
1980

1.5
1 Votes
Donovan
1977

Slow Down World
1976

7-Tease
1974

Essence to Essence
1973

Cosmic Wheels
1973

2.8
2 Votes
H.M.S. Donovan
1971

4
1 Votes
Open Road
1970

3.9
4 Votes
Barabajagal
1969

3.4
14 Votes
The Hurdy Gurdy Man
1968

3.9
31 Votes
A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
1967

4.1
35 Votes
Mellow Yellow
1967

4.2
29 Votes
Sunshine Superman
1966

4
77 Votes
Fairytale
1965

3.8
5 Votes
What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid
1965

3.5
15 Votes
Compilations
The Essential Donovan
04/17/2012

The Best of Donovan-Sunshine Superman
2006

4.2
3 Votes
Troubadour: The Definitive Collection 1964-1976
1992

4
1 Votes
Donovan's Greatest Hits
1969

4.1
21 Votes

Contributors: brochenski, ThomasTheCure, rockandmetaljunkie, Veldin, Oldfield, SgtPepper, Rocksta71, PowerBlitz, ThomasTheCure, Voivod, TwigTW, SgtPepper,

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