Donovan’s music makes you calm and introspect.” Reflecting on his contribution to music history, Donovan explains that: “One must actually feel one’s life is heroic so you can get up in the morning, straighten yourself up, look at the day and feel that what you are doing is important.”
Finally, we discuss that infamous 1966 drugs bust… so what was his drugs use like back then? “LSD was just briefly… mostly smoke; a bit of Ganja and a bit of Hashish rolled up in the old tobacco, just like everybody did then. We didn’t consider it a drug, it was just getting high. I tried a bit of everything, but I never injected heroin or anything like that. I sang about it first, so it had to be me getting bust first. I wrote about Hashish in 1965 on the Fairy Tale album. They had their eye on me for a long time. Th ey were after me.” After Donovan, the police eventually arrested The Beatles, The Stones and other stars in high profile drugs raids.
“Then when that documentary came out, ‘A Boy Called Donovan’, the film director said can we film a Beatnik party in a studio of one of your painter friends. They went down to this friend’s Watford art studio. I was doing some press and the car dropped me off later and when I arrived at the studio, all my pals from the Bohemian scene were completely wrecked, dancing, rolling joints, singing and the cameras were rolling.
“I said to the director, what have you done to my pals? He said; we brought 20 gallons of wine. As soon as the documentary hit the TV, after my song had been talking about it, that was it; I was first to be busted. But I didn’t go to jail…”
He has earned many millions of pounds, sold many millions of records and had all the trappings of success. Happily married for 46 years and proud of his loving family, despite the fame, adoration and jet set lifestyle, Donovan has stayed grounded.
Unchanged from that 16-year-old busking in St Ives, sleeping in fields covered in plastic bags in the rain, wanting to change the world and make a difference with his music.
If you think of Donovan as just a folk singer; think again…
Donovan’s 70th birthday concert will take place at The London Palladium on Friday, May 6. Donovan will also be appearing at the following UK festivals: Beat Herder Festival: July 15 – 17, Chagstock: July 22 – 23, Kendal Calling: July 28 – 31. Simon Redley