Donovan (Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist)

~ Person

Legal name: Donovan Philips Leitch


Donovan (born Donovan Philips Leitch; 10 May 1946) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist. He developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz, pop, psychedelia, and world music (notably calypso). He has lived in Scotland, London and California, and, since at least 2008, in County Cork, Ireland, with his family. Emerging from the British folk scene, Donovan reached fame in the United Kingdom in early 1965 with live performances on the pop TV series, Ready Steady Go!.

Having signed with Pye Records in 1965, he recorded singles and two albums in the folk vein, but after a new contract with US CBS/Epic Records his popularity spread to other countries. After extricating himself from his original management contract, he began a long and successful collaboration with Mickie Most, a leading British independent record producer, with hits in the UK, the US and other countries.

His most successful singles were the early UK hits "Catch the Wind", "Colours" and "Universal Soldier" in 1965. "Sunshine Superman" topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart (number two in Britain), and "Mellow Yellow" reached US number two the following year, with "Hurdy Gurdy Man" in the Top 5 in both countries in 1968. He was the first artist to be signed to CBS/Epic Records by the new administrative vice-president, Clive Davis. Donovan and Most collaborated on hit albums and singles between 1965 and 1970. He became a friend of pop musicians including Joan Baez, Brian Jones and The Beatles. He taught John Lennon a finger-picking guitar style in 1968. Donovan's commercial fortunes waned after parting with Most in 1969, and he left the industry for a time.

Donovan continued to perform and record sporadically in the 1970s and 1980s. His musical style and hippie image were scorned by critics, especially after punk rock. He stopped performing and recording several times but had a revival in the 1990s with the emergence of the rave scene in Britain. He 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.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1965 What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid 2
1965 Fairytale 5
1965 Catch the Wind 2
1965 Colours 1
1966 Sunshine Superman 8
1967 A Gift From a Flower to a Garden 6
1967 For Little Ones (Record number two of the deluxe Donovan package "A Gift From A Flower To A Garden".) 1
1967 Wear Your Love Like Heaven (Record number one of the deluxe Donovan package "A Gift From A Flower To A Garden".) 1
1967 Mellow Yellow 3
1968 The Hurdy Gurdy Man 3
1969 Barabajagal 4
1970 Open Road 3
1971 HMS Donovan 2
1973 Cosmic Wheels 1
1973 Essence to Essence 3
1974 7-Tease 3
1976 Slow Down World 2
1977 Donovan 3
1981 Love Is Only Feeling 2
1981 Neutronica 2
1984 Lady of the Stars 1
1989 Banzani-! 1
1994 Mellow yellow 1
1996 Sutras 2
2002 Pied Piper 1
2004 Sixty Four 1
2004 Beat Cafe 1
2004 Brother Sun, Sister Moon 1
The Trip 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1966 The Real Donovan 1
1967 Universal Soldier (1967) 1
1968 Like It Is, Was, and Evermore Shall Be 1
1969 Donovan's Greatest Hits 5 10
1969 The Best of Donovan 1
1970 Donovan P. Leitch 1
1971 Hear Me Now 1
1988 Catch the Wind 1
1988 Ballad of Geraldine: Best 1
1988 The Very Best of Donovan 1
1989 Catch the Wind: 20 Greatest Hits 1
1990 A Golden Hour of Donovan 1
1990 The Collection 1
1991 Castle Masters Collection: Donovan 1
1991 Josie 1
1992 Troubadour: The Definitive Collection 1964-1976 4
1995 Universal Soldier (1995) 1
1995 Definitive Collection 1
1996 Catch the Wind: The Best of Donovan 1
1998 Fairytales and Colours 1
1998 Love Is Hot, Truth Is Molten 1

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