Greatly Appreciated

Donovan  (born Donovan Philips Leitch; 10 May 1946) is a British singer, songwriter and guitarist.  He developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz, pop, psychedelia, and world music (notably calypso).  Among his most successful singles were the early UK hits “Catch the Wind”, “Colours” and “The Universal Soldier” in 1965.  “Sunshine Superman” topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart (number two in Britain), and “Mellow Yellow” reached US number two the following year, with “Hurdy Gurdy Man” in the Top 5 in both countries in 1968.  He was the first artist to be signed to CBS/Epic Records by the new administrative vice-president, Clive Davis.  His musical style and hippie image were scorned by critics, but he had a revival in the 1990’s with the emergence of the rave scene in Britain.  Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.  (More from Wikipedia)
Many other artists in the 1960’s also took a whack at psychedelia.  Kenny Rogers’ first band the First Edition had an early hit song with “Just Dropped in (to See What Condition My Condition was In)”; though the lyrics kind of miss the boat, they are still charmingly corny.  “Hurdy Gurdy Man” is one of many great psychedelic songs Donovan came up with.  The Beatles had Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the Rolling Stones had Their Satanic Majesties’ Request.  Even Motown got into the act:  The Supremes hit with “Reflections”, while the Temptations had several psychedelic songs – “Psychedelic Shack”, “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today)”, “Runaway Child, Runnin’ Wild”, and others.  Many were on their 1970 album Psychedelic Shack; one of the biggest hits by the B-52’s, “Love Shack” was in part an homage to this record.
(March 2011)
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You might notice at the very end of Whipping Post the opening notes of the next song that they play at the concert, “Mountain Jam”, an improvised jam that is based on a Donovan song, “There Is a Mountain”.  If you want a real treat, and you also own a copy of the band’s next album, Eat a Peach (originally a double LP), you should play the side-long Whipping Post from At Fillmore East, followed by Mountain Jam, which takes up two album sides of Eat a Peach.  Those three album sides constitute nearly an hour of top-notch live rock and roll where there is not a single wasted note or pointless solo.  This is evidently how the Allman Brothers Band closed their set at Fillmore East that night, and what a show it must have been! 


(February 2013)
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Like many of Bob Dylan’s protest songs, another song on It’s My Way!,Universal Soldier” has a different target from what one might expect.  Rather than railing at politicians and tyrants, Buffy Sainte-Marie points out that ultimately, the common soldiers are the ones doing the fighting:  “He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame”.  “Universal Soldier” was an early hit for Donovan.  


(August 2013)


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Donovan’s first single “Catch the Wind” was released a full year before Eight Miles High, though his first song with a psychedelic vibe is “Sunshine Superman”, which came out in July 1966


(July 2015)


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One of the hallmarks of the bandmembers in early punk rock bands is picking new names for themselves.  Not everyone did that, and most musicians perform under their own names.  For the record, as best I can tell, Frank ZappaFats DominoMajor LanceKris Kristofferson, and Stonewall Jackson are using their real names (with Fats being a nickname, though Major and Stonewall are not).  Grace Slick is her married name; she was born Grace Wing.  Most though not all of the one-name performers are also using one of their real names, with slight spelling changes and anglicizing here and there:  MadonnaPrinceJewel, CherBjörkEnyaBeckDonovanMorrissey,  LiberaceSadeSealShakiraRihannaAdeleDidoMelanie, Beyoncé, etc. 
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Dogs from the Hare that Bit Us opens with a cover of a song by the Weirdos called “Solitary Confinement”, and follows that with inimitable covers by the Dickies of a variety of other numbers:  “Easy Livin’” (Uriah Heep), “There’s a Place” (the Beatles), “Nobody but Me” (the Human Beinz), “Can’t Let Go” (the Hollies, and also Linda Ronstadt), “Epistle to Dippy” (Donovan), and others. 
(March 2017)
Last edited: March 22, 2021