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Donovan

Biography



From the CD Booklet " Summer Day Reflection Song "

1965 was a busy year for Donovan. He started the year as an unsigned musician; by the end of it he had enjoyed three hit singles, two hit albums, and a chart topping EP. He had also severed relationships with his original management/production team and linked up with a new producer to cut a pioneering slice of pop-psych " Sunshine Superman ", that would remain unreleased in the UK for 12 months. This album collects together for the first time all of Donovans releases from that first hectic year of his recording career.

Donovan was born on May 10th 1946 in Maryhill near Glasgow. He was 10 when his family left Scotland for the south of england, settling in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Here Donovan attended secondary school until the age of 15 when the young mod with artistic aspirations started at college in nearby Welwyn.
Financial constraints forced Donovan to quit college after a year. The teenager, often accompanied by his friend Gypsy Dave, took to bumming around Hertfordshire, occasionally straying further afield to seaside resorts, where hotels and cafes took on extra waiters for the seasonal business and pubs might offer a chance to perform. For a while he was based in St Ives, the Cornish seaside town famed for its artistic community.

Donovans first public performance had been nearer to home at the Cock in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The town had a thriving music scene. Not only was it on the touring circuit for up and coming groups like the Rolling Stones, but numerous pubs like the Cock and the Peahen played host to clubs.Here blues and folk styles were taking over from jazz as the preferred music of discerning teenagers. With a booked act as the highlight of the evening, a club also offered floor spots to anyone with a guitar , a song to sing and the temerity to perform in public. " Maddy Prior , who became a singer in Steeleye Span, and i used to sing in this pub called the Cock" recalled Donovan for Goldmine magazine in 1993. There was a big crowd of us there, folk singers, pickers and one electric blues band."

One of the local musicians was Mac MacLeod, who Donovan has acknowledged as an early guitar tutor and source of many blues and folk songs. Mac remembers spending the summer of 1964 with Donovan in Torquay. One of their fellow hotel workers added the lettering " this guitar kills " to Donovans Zenith guitar, in homage to the great Woody Guthrie's original more precise motto " this guitar kills fascists ".
Mac also recalls that Donovans distinctive fishermans hat had been bought in Brixham and was eventually consigned to the bin by his mother, Wiifred.

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