Donovan Visits The GRAMMY Museum

Legendary singer/songwriter discusses his influential body of work and performs an unplugged set of classic hits
  • Photo: Mark Sullivan/
    Donovan performs at the GRAMMY Museum
August 15, 2012 -- 12:19 pm PDT

GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Donovan was the featured guest for a recent installment of the GRAMMY Museum's An Evening With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Donovan discussed his influential career, classic recordings such as "Catch The Wind" and his adoption of the clawhammer fingerpicking style, among other topics. Donovan also performed a brief acoustic set, including hits such as "Mellow Yellow," "To Try For The Sun" and "Sunshine Superman."

"'Catch The Wind' was about losing a girl and this song meant so much to me," said Donovan. "And it would become a song for [my wife] Linda and I although we had not met before. …. That first single went up the chart and then it all started happening."

Initially labeled as the UK's answer to Bob Dylan, Scotland's Donovan emerged in the mid-'60s to create his own unique body of folk-pop poetry, drawing on optimistic flower-power themes of peace and love. His debut single, 1965's "Catch The Wind," became a hit in the UK and peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, establishing him as an acclaimed songwriter on both sides of the Atlantic. Donovan recorded several more hits throughout the '60s, including "Sunshine Superman" (No. 1), "Mellow Yellow" (No. 2), "Hurdy Gurdy Man" (No. 5), "Atlantis" (No. 7), and "There Is A Mountain" (No. 11). "Atlantis" earned Donovan a GRAMMY nomination for Best Folk Performance in 1969. Studio albums such as Sunshine Superman (1966), Mellow Yellow (1967), The Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968), and Open Road (1970) reached the Top 20 on the Billboard 200, while Donovan's Greatest Hits earned him his highest-charting album, peaking at No. 4 in 1969.

His more recent studio albums include 1996's Sutras, produced by Rick Rubin, 2004's Beat Cafe and 2010's Ritual Groove, the latter a double album Donovan described as "the soundtrack to a movie not yet made." The singer/songwriter was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this past April.

Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Reel To Reel: My Koaloha Story, featuring ukulele luthier Alvin Okami (Aug. 28) and An Evening With The Mavericks (Sept. 5). 

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