Produced with help from:
All quotes are by Donovan unless stated otherwise.
Soothed my adolescent dreams of love. The absolute masters of harmony. A single for all
Donovan talking about Cathy's Clown by The Everly Brothers as part of MOJO's
`The 100 Greatest Singles of All Time' article.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 45 - August 1997, p. 67
... Tucking into an enormous plate of scampi and mushrooms with his faithful, space-cadet roadie
Gypsy Dave at his side, DONOVAN casually announces that he is to quit the music scene in just
two years time: I think I could continue for much longer. But I've decided on a deadline
of two years, then I intend to travel around the world and just write ...
Source: New Musical Express - April 1965 and Uncut magazine; Issue 10 - March 1998, p. 19
Dylan liked Donovan before he even saw him. He liked the idea of Donovan. Of course, when
Donovan met him he was very excited and decided to play something for him. Dylan said he liked
Catch The Wind, but Donovan said, I've written a new song I wanna play for you. So he played a
song called My Darling Tangerine Eyes. And it was to the tune of Mr Tambourine Man! And Dylan
was sitting there with this funny look on his face, listening to Mr Tambourine Man with these
really weird words, trying to keep a straight face. Then Dylan says, Well, you know, that tune
... I have to admit that I haven't written all the tunes I'm credited with but that happens to
be one that I did write! I'm sure Donovan never played the song again!
D.A. Pennebaker, director of Don't Look Back.
Source: Q magazine; Issue 75 - December 1992, p. 76
I remember one afternoon at the Savoy. I was shown into a small, dark screening room. I
could vaguely see Bob sitting in a chair, so I sat by his feet. No words were spoken. As my eyes
became accustomed to the gloom I was aware of other figures in the room; they turned out to be
John, Paul, George and Ringo! It was hard when people said I was copying Dylan. It wasn't so
much that he created a new sound he had a new way of looking at life. I was
inspired rather than influenced by him in the same way as he was inspired by Woody
Donovan reminiscing about an encounter with Dylan.
Source: Q magazine; Issue 24 - September 1988, p. 25
I don't like it. It's sort of country music.
Donovan is the guest singles reviewer in Melody Maker and doesn't like the song I Got
Mine by Downliners Sect.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 19 - June 1995, p. 47
They sounded great to me. The problem was that they'd been hyped as America's answer to
The Beatles, and the press was being defensive
The Byrds play Finsbury Park Astoria with Donovan as support and the NME slam The Byrds'
performance - 14th August 1965. Don sticks up for McGuinn and co.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 21 - August 1995, p. 44
Watching Andy [Warhol] operate and seeing Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Donovan, Mick Jagger
and all these people coming into The Factory was astonishing. It seemed to be the hub of the
John Cale talking about his days in The Velvet Underground.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 63 - February 1999, p. 56
Pop is the perfect religious vehicle. It's as if God had come down to earth and seen all
the ugliness that was being created and chosen pop to be the great force for love and
Some primo Donovan philosophy from an article in Queen magazine in 1967, reprinted in a
review of the Four Donovan Originals box set.
To break the mood, John went up to the Maharishi, patted him on the head and said,
There's a good little guru. It worked. We all laughed. That gesture was very typical
of John, because he always said and did exactly what he felt.
Also, while we were out there, I taught John the folk finger-picking style that I had
learned, and he then taught it to George. You can hear John use it on the White Album and, while
he was still in India, he used it when he was writing Dear Prudence.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 14 - January 1995, p. 100
I went out to India at the same time as them [The Beatles]. One night we were in the
Maharishi's room. The Maharishi was sitting on the floor cross-legged, and there was the four
Beatles, Mia Farrow, maybe Mike Love of the Beach Boys, and myself, but there was a sort of
embarrassed silence for some reason. I think we didn't know quite what we were expected to say
or do, because this sort of thing was obviously all very new to us.
An anecdote from his days in 1968. A form of this can also be heard in his Hurdy Gurdy
Man performance from the 1990 live album Donovan Rising.
Source: Q magazine; Issue 111 - December 1995, p. 68,70
Although I didn't realise it at the time, it's since been pointed out to me that Marc
modelled himself visually on me, particularly the curly-haired silhouetted image on my A
Gift From A Flower To A Garden album. His The Warlock Of Love poetry book is rich in
romantic imagery, with many references to myths and legends, and images from pre-Raphaelite
paintings. We both had a quaint Britishness, yet his didn't translate to the States and mine
did. Perhaps the audiences there felt he was too derivative.
Donovan talking about Marc Bolan in MOJO's `The Man Who Would Be King' article by Paul
Du Noyer. Here, Donovan is referred to as "London's fragrant Dylan figure." Such respect!
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 47 - October 1997, p. 40
Shortly after we arrived, I met Donovan for the first time. He had his
gypsy caravan with him and he was staying in that. He bounded up to me full
of good cheer, gave me a big hug and said, "John, it's great to see you!"
Then he must have sensed that I wasn't responding, so he stepped back and
looked again. I had the same sideburns and wire-rimmed glasses and hair
colour as John Sebastian, and that's who Don thought I was. Then he said,
"Oh, but you're not John ... but you are somebody, aren't you?
Ray Manzarek (of The Doors) reminiscing about the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival
in a Q article (Note: John Sebastian was in The Lovin' Spoonful).
I supported Donovan at Dingwalls once. He had a joss stick for every song. In fact, he had
a joss stick roadie! He's an interesting man. I remember him saying, People say the '90s
are the '60s upside down but in fact they're the '60s in reverse. That impressed me! This
is a magical song and if you don't like Donovan there's a brilliant version of it by a
Canadian singer called Ellen MacEllwaine. His version is on Lady Of The Stars
Beth Orton chooses Season Of The Witch to be on her special tape as part of MOJO's
`Hope Taping: Beth's Folk' article. There is a picture of Donovan with the caption: `Donovan:
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 52 - March 1998, p. 63
Nigel Kennedy's played since the age of three. He was trained by Yehudi Menuhin,
he became the most successful violinist of his age, and he brought classical music to the
masses. And for this he was whipped by the press as much as possible. When you're with him you
think you're with a football hooligan, but in fact you're with this extraordinarily delicate,
very fine classical player from the English tradition. What he plays now is a good example of
the kind of fusion I was going for when I was 17 classical with jazz and folk, ethnic
music, rock'n'roll, blues, everything. Nigel's new album, Kafka, shocked everyone because he opened up with a strong, Hendrix-flavoured electric violin. But after the first
track what you got was the most beautiful English parts for vocal and violins and other
instruments, which showed that the enfant terrible of classical music, the smasher-up of
cars, hadn't really left his English background. He's actually a writer of English classical
music. Kafka was underestimated (except in Germany) because it blasts the eardrums
straight away. But when it settles down, it's an extraordinary album.
Donovan talking about his favourite release of 1996 in MOJO's `The Best Thing I've Heard
All Year' article.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 38 - January 1997, p. 65
When I was 12 years old the first record I bought was by Donovan,
because I really liked Catch The Wind. He had these lyrics printed on the
sleeve and I wrote a tune for them: "Precious little do we kiss the sun and
drink the rain." That's all I remember of it.
Neil Finn (of Split Enz and Crowded House fame) is asked "I understand you're
a Donovan fan." He laughs and gives this reply.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 7 - June 1994
For references points, imagine Kim Fowley crossed with Donovan at once vampiric
and cherubic. It's a pretty unsettling combination.
Barney Hoskyns describing Lou Reed. I suppose he means Donovan is cherubic, not vampiric!
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 28 - March 1996, p. 60
... and the preposterous Lullaby To Tim (sung in an electronically distorted voice straight
from The Daleks Sing Donovan).
A sentence from a review of The Hollies' album, Evolution by Ed Barrett.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 42 - May 1997, p. 32
... Beck played 20 minutes of vapid, beat-less synthesiser music and recited extended
passages of pseudo-spiritual gibberish that was part-Donovan, part-L Ron Hubbard. ...
A snatch of a review by David Fricke of a piece of performance art by Beck.
Source: Uncut magazine; Issue 14 - July 1998, p. 24
Unashamedly folk, their songs are as fractured as Nick Drake's and as lyrically sharp as
anything that ever came from Morrissey's nib, while singer Stuart Murdoch has a voice that is
pitched halfway between Donovan and a church mouse ...
A snippet taken from Nick Duerden's review of Belle & Sebastian's third album, The Boy With
The Arab Strap. B&S are a superb band and I thoroughly recommend checking out their work.
Source: Q magazine; Issue 145 - October 1998, p. 115
With its rolling harpischord figure, We Live Again, reminded me of Donovan's lovely
Sunshine Superman period; in fact, there are suggestions of Season Of The Witch, Celeste
and Bert's Blues throughout the album in the way the psychedelic swims with the Eastern and
baroque. The most beautiful example is Dead Melodies, another mildly disturbing passing shot
through a surreal region where "doldrums are pounding" and nightbirds rot in the trees like
A bit of a review of Beck's album, Mutations by Jim Irvin.
Source: MOJO magazine; Issue 61 - December 1998, p. 98