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Donovan

Biography

Donovan, born in Maryhill, Glasgow on May 10, 1946, is a singer, songwriter and guitarist. Donovan's style of music is often compared by critics to that of Bob Dylan, with his eclectic blend of folk, jazz, pop and world music. At the age of ten, Donovan's family moved to Little Berkhamsted near Hertford, England where he spent his teenage years growing up. Already a fan of Scottish folk music from his childhood in Scotland, Donovan began to listen to English folk music and learned to play the guitar at age 14. Combining English, Irish and Scottish folk music, Donovan began to fuse his own style together.

Donovan's break came when he performed on the popular English television show, “Ready Steady Go!,” which catapulted him to instant fame in 1965. Initially signing with the British label Pye Records in 1965, he recorded a handful of singles and two albums in the folk music vein, but after signing a new contract with the American label Epic Records his popularity rapidly spread to the U.S. and other countries. Some of his most successful hits included “Catch the Wind” and “Colours” in 1965, while “Sunshine Superman” peaked at #1 on the U.S Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

Donovan began a successful collaboration with Mickey Most, writing a series of successful albums and hit singles together from 1965 to 1970. During this time period Donovan had become close friends with Brian Jones, met John Lennon – whom he taught a finger-picking guitar style – and met Bob Dylan. By the 1970s Donovan's popularity began to wean and he dropped out of the music spotlight for a while. He continued to perform and record sporadically through the 1980s, however his musical style seemed outdated and stuck in the 1960s, which caused some critics to be brutally scornful of Donovan's music. As the punk movement of the 1970s invaded the music industry, Donovan withdrew further. The 1990s saw a revival in Donovan's music with the emergence of the rave scene in Britain. As a result of the new-found interest in Donovan's music he went back into the studio in 1996 and released “Sutras” with producer and long-time fan Rick Rubin.

2004 saw Donovan release a new album, “Beat Café” on Appleseed Records, which was reminiscent of Donovan’s jazzy sound during the 1960s. Donovan began performing live again and took to the road with his new music on a U.K. tour. 2007 saw Donovan perform a number of live shows across the U.S. In 2009, Donovan was honored as a BMI Icon at the BMI London Awards, joining an elite list of past honorees that includes Peter Gabriel, Ray Davies, Van Morrison, the Bee Gees, Isaac Hayes, Dolly Parton, James Brown, Paul Simon and more. 2010 marked the release of “Ritual Groove,” followed up a year later by Donovan's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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