Song 34 - - Donovan

Donovan had a whole bunch of hits, mostly in the heart of the Dylan-folk wave in the mid-1960s. He was often compared to Dylan - - and sometimes more or less referred to as Dylan's clone. Donovan, of course, said that, although he was influenced by Donovan, he was "not a copyist." 

His first big hit in the United States was Sunshine Superman, which reached number 1 on the pop charts in 1966. But the Donovan song that caught my attention in 1966 was Mellow Yellow. I bought the single (but not the album that it was on). It was one of my favorite songs in junior high. It reached number 2 on the U.S. pop charts. After that, Donovan had a series of hits, including Hurdy Gurdy Man, Jennifer Juniper and others. 

In addition to his folk / psychedelic pop hits, Donovan was a very accomplished guitar player. In 1968, when Donovan, along with Brian Wilson and Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and the Beatles, traveled to Rishikesh (in India) to visit Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Donovan taught John Lennon and Paul McCartney certain guitar finger picking styles, including the "clawhammer." Lennon famously used this method on Dear Prudence, Julia, Happiness is a Warm Gun and other songs, and McCartney used it on Blackbird and Mother Nature's Son

 

Donovan more or less epitomized the look of the flower power pop era. With his English good looks (along with his stereotypical English teeth) and colorful, psychedelic clothes, and long, dark locks, he could have come from central casting to play the part of the English pop star. 

He also famously started his big hit Atlantis with a well known speaking introduction - - which inspired me (as recommended by Matt Lyons who plays lead guitar on my new album) to do a speaking opening to the last song (When You No Longer Cry) on my new EP (which "drops" on April 1). So I kind of feel like I owe a little debt to Donovan. You know. 

In any event, let's get to this post's song. No, it's not Mellow Yellow. And it's not Atlantis. Both which would have been great choices. But the Donovan song that I like most these days is Catch the Wind, which is a beautiful, classic folk song that Donovan first released way back in 1965. And here it is: A version of Catch the Wind from 1972, which will give you the flavor of the times back then. 

 

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