Claim to Fame
Salt and Pepper
British Invasion, Folk-Rock, Psychedelic Pop, British Psychedelia, Psychedelic, Folk, Singer/Songwriter, British Folk
Trippy, Delicate, Dreamy, Pastoral, Carefree, Whimsical, Bittersweet, Wistful, Eccentric, Sprawling, Earnest, Literate, Amiable/Good-Natured, Laid-Back/Mellow, Autumnal, Springlike, Gentle, Plaintive, Ethereal, Innocent, Summery
Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar
Soundtrack, Composer, Actor/Actress
Has Detailed Data (New)
Profile Bio Text
Even if you’re not a child of the ’60s, you know Donovan’s music. That’s because the composer from Glasgow, Scotland, has had his songs featured in many contemporary films and television programs.
Donovan Phillip Leitch was born February 10, 1946, in Maryhill, a small town on the edge of Glasgow. When he was 10, his family moved to England. On Saturdays, he’d take the money earned from working at a local fruit market and buy records, preferring 45s and EPs by the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. At 15, he left school to travel around the countryside. He met a man named Gypsy Dave, and they wandered through England and around the Continent, passing a hat for money as Donovan played guitar and Gypsy Dave played the kazoo.
When he was 18, Donovan returned to London. He frequently played at a pub in St. Albans, where he became friendly with a group called Cops & Robbers. Opening for them at a gig in Southend, Donovan met their managers, Peter Eden and Geoff Stephens. Songwriter Stephens was affiliated with peer’s Southern Music, and he brought Donovan to the peer office to record demos in the basement studio. Those tapes came to the attention of the producers of the British TV series “Ready, Steady, Go!” and they signed Donovan for an appearance. The reaction was so great, they brought him back the following week. Now pacted to peermusic as a writer, Donovan’s recordings were signed to a label called Iver, which in turn made a deal with Pye Records. Donovan returned to peermusic’s basement studio to record the version of “Catch the Wind” that was released by Pye as his first single.
In the U.S., peermusic’s Nashville office licensed Donovan’s recordings to the Hickory label, which released “Catch the Wind” in America. The single reached No. 23 in 1965. That same year, Donovan performed live in America for the first time, at the Newport Folk Festival. Following “Catch the Wind,” the Hickory label released the acoustic folk-oriented single, “Colours.” Then, Donovan sought out pop producer Mickie Most and played a new song for him. Most liked “Sunshine Superman,” and recorded the psychedelic tune in three hours on a Sunday afternoon. It was Donovan’s first single for Epic, and it reached the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 the week of September 3, 1966. More hits combining mystic ideas with pop culture followed, including “Mellow Yellow,” featuring Paul McCartney whispering the title throughout the song. Donovan says he wrote the song out of his love for early Mississippi jazz while on tour in Finland. During the ’60s, Donovan also had hits with songs like “Epistle to Dippy,” “There Is a Mountain” (the lyrics are a haiku set to a Caribbean beat), “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (written for another band who turned it down, and almost recorded by Jimi Hendrix before Donovan cut it himself), “Atlantis,” “To Susan on the West Coast Waiting,” “Jenifer Juniper,” and “Lalena” (featuring what Donovan calls an “old-fashioned” string arrangement).
During the ’70s, Donovan spent long periods of time in Ireland. He composed music for films such as “If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium,” “The Pied Piper,” and “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.” A book of his poems, “Dry Songs and Scribbles,” was published in 1971. In the ’80s, Donovan appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, and toured France and Germany. In the ’90s, Donovan worked with legendary record producer Rick Rubin on the album “Sutras.” Since the millennium, Donovan has had a top-10 hit in Germany, teaming with Popstars winners No Angels on a remake of his “Atlantis,” recorded for the animated Disney film “Atlantis: The Lost Empire.” He continues to tour, and has recently recorded an album of children’s music.
Couple Profile Source
Full Name at Birth
Donovan Phillips Leitch
Has Detailed Data (Music)
Donovan Leitch (son) (actor), Ione Skye (daughter) (actress)
Donovan Philips Leitch (born 10 May 1946) is a Scottish-born 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, Hertfordshire (England), London, 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!.
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Music Profile Complete
Folk rock, Psychedelic Folk, Psychedelic Pop
Soundtrack | Composer | Actor
Vocals, Harmonica, Guitar, Piano, Banjo
Pye Records (UK), Hickory Records (US), Epic Records
Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Banjo
Wiki Bio Text
==Donovan Philips Leitch== (born 10 May 1946), known as Donovan, is a Scottish-born 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, Hertfordshire (England), 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, after which he signed to CBS/Epic Records in the US - the first signing by the company's new vice-president Clive Davis - and became more successful internationally. He began a long and successful collaboration with leading British independent record producer Mickie Most, scoring multiple hit singles and albums in the UK, US, and other countries.
===His most successful singles=== were the early UK hits "Catch the Wind", "Colours" and "Universal Soldier" in 1965. In September 1966 "Sunshine Superman" topped America's Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week and went to number two in Britain, followed by "Mellow Yellow" at US No.2 in December 1966, then 1968's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" in the Top 5 in both countries, then "Atlantis", which reached US No.7 in May 1969.
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 that Lennon employed in "Dear Prudence," "Julia," "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" and other songs. 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. His performing and recording became sporadic until a revival in the 1990s with the emergence of Britain's rave scene. 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.
===Donovan had a relationship=== with American model Enid Karl, and they had two children, actor-musician Donovan Leitch in 1967 and actress Ione Skye in 1970.
===Donovan married Linda Lawrence=== in October 1970. They have two children together, Astrella and Oriole.
===He is also the stepfather=== of Brian Jones and Linda Lawrence's son, Julian Brian (Jones) Leitch. Jones' biographer Paul Trynka writes, "Unsurprisingly, Julian has found the burden of being Brian's son heavy to bear, despite being brought up with obvious love and sensitivity by his adopted father Donovan Leitch."
===In November 2003,=== Donovan was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Hertfordshire. He was nominated by Sara Loveridge (who was a student at the University and had interviewed and reviewed Donovan for the university paper in 2001–2002), Andrew Morris, Sara's partner and Donovan researcher/writer and co-nominated by Mac MacLeod.
===On 14 April 2012=== Donovan was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
psychedelic folk, psychedelic rock, folk, pop
Pye, Hickory, Epic
The Beatles, The Jeff Beck Group