Happy Birthday to singer-songwriter Donovan, who turns 74 today (May 10th)!!! Donovan, whose last name is Leitch, is best known for his string of 1960's hits including “Mellow Yellow,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Jennifer Juniper,” “Atlantis,” “Catch The Wind,” “Colours,” “Riki Tiki Tavi,” “Wear Your Love Like Heaven,” and the 1966 Number One hit “Sunshine Superman.” Last December, Donovan's documentary Donovan & The Beatles premiered on Sky Arts in the UK.
Out now is Donovan's latest studio set, called Shadows Of Blue, which was recorded in Nashville. In 2014 Donovan was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. In 2012, former touring partner John Mellencamp inducted him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Back in 2009, Donovan made headlines when he joined old friends Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at New York City's Change Begins Within concert benefiting the David Lynch Foundation and Transcendental Meditation education. Donovan reflected on his trip to Rishikesh with the Beatles in early 1968: “Transcendental Meditation naturally unfolds any student's full potential. 41 years ago (laughs) — or was it last year, boys? We traveled to India (laughs) to see if was true what we'd only read about in the books that meditation is the real way to be fulfilled. We found it to be true and we sang out the good news in our songs. It's really simple; (Laughs) Change begins within.”
In 2008 he released the three-hour documentary spanning his life and career. The DVD called Sunshine Superman: The Journey Of Donovan — which was seven years in the making — features an additional two hours of bonus featurettes, including vintage concert and TV performances, a poetry recording session with his father, insights on his work in Transcendental Meditation, and even a short bio on his guitar maker.
With the release of the DVD, Donovan says that he's happy to finally document his early career as wandering beat songwriter in Britain: “When I came out of bohemia, it was actually bohemian ideas that invaded popular culture — and good thing too. And on the wings of folk music, because in the folk clubs, the beat clubs, the art schools, that's where all the books were. And the girls with the books wore long dark hair, black mascara, pure white skin, pretty much (laughs) kinda goth, yeah! And they were the thinking girls y'know?”
Donovan also recently published The Autobiography Of Donovan: Hurdy Gurdy Man, which shed new light on his early life and his friendships with Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and the Rolling Stones. The book also revealed Donovan's part in collaborating on several Beatles songs, including “Yellow Submarine” and “Rocky Raccoon.”
Donovan also released the career-spanning box set Try For The Sun: The Journey Of Donovan, and appeared on stage with Beach Boys' Mike Love at a recent lecture on Transcendental Meditation.