Donovan (Leitch), b. Glasgow, Scotland, May 10, 1946. Initially appearing in the mid-1960s as an English (actually Scottish) folk artist strongly resembling America’s Bob Dylan, Donovan later embraced beneficent psychedelia and naive spiritualism for a series of self-penned hit singles and best-selling albums during the late 1960s.
Donovan moved to the London area at the age of ten, taking up guitar as a teenager. Becoming a regular on BBC-TV’s Ready, Steady, Go in early 1965, he signed with Pye Records (Hickory Records in the U.S.), hitting with the title cut to his first albumCatch the Wind. Fairy Tale produced hits with “Colours’ and Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Universal Soldier and included “Sunny Goodge Street’ recorded by Judy Collins for her In My Life album. Donovan made his American debut at the New-port Folk Festival in 1965 but subsequently abandoned the Dylan-like image and switched to Epic Records under producer Mickie Most for a number of psychedelic, quasi-mystical hits through the late 1960s. His debut Epic album, Sunshine Superman, yielded a top American and smash British hit with the title cut (featuring guitarist Jimmy Page) and included perhaps his finest composition, the ominous “Season of the Witch/7 with Steve Stills as lead guitarist.
Donovan’s Mellow Yellow produced a smash hit with the title song and included the haunting “Young Girl Blues.” After the subdued hits “Epistle to Dippy/7 “There Is a Mountain/7 and “Wear Your Love Like Heaven/7 Hurdy Gurdy Man produced one mellow hit, “Jennifer Juniper/7 and one hard-driving hit with the title cut. Barabajagal yielded three hits with “Barabajagal77 (recorded with The Jeff Beck Group), “To Susan on the West Coast Waiting/7 and the inane “Atlantis.”
By the middle of 1970, Donovan had split from Mickie Most and formed his own band, but he soon retreated to Ireland. He reemerged in 1974 and continued to record for Epic until 1976, with little success. In virtual retirement from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, Donovan toured again in the late 1980s and eventually recorded for American Records in 1995. By the 1990s, he was perhaps better known as the father of actress lone Skye and model-actor-singer Donovan Leitch Jr. than as a musician in his own right. The glitter rock group Nancy Boy, with lead singer Donovan Leitch Jr. and guitarist Jason Nesmith (son of Michael Nesmith), released their major label debut album in 1996.
DONOVAN: Catch the Wind (1965); Fairy Tale (1965); The Real Donovan (1966); Like It Is, Was and Evermore Shall Be (1967); Best (1969); Donovan P. Leitch (1970); History of British Pop (1976); History of British Pop, Vol. 2 (1976); The Early Years) Sunshine Superman (1966); Mellow Yellow (1967); A Gift from a Flower to a Garden (1967); Wear Your Love Like Heaven (1967); For Little Ones (1967); In Concert (1968); Sunshine Superman/In Concert (1967); Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968/86); Greatest Hits (1969); Barabajagal (1969/87); Open Road (1970); World—/Spiritual (1972); Cosmic Wheels (1973); Essence to Essence (1974); 7-Tease (1974); Barabajagal/Hurdy Gurdy Man (1975); Slow Down World (1976); Troubadour: The Definitive Collection 1964–1976 (1992); Donovan (1977); Lady of the Stars (1987); TTze Classics Live (1991); Donovan (1996); Sunshine Superman—20 Songs of Love and Freedom (1996); Sutras (1996). NANCY BOY: Sire (1996).
Dry Songs and Scribbles (1971).