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May 10, 1946

Artistfacts for Donovan

  • His full name is Donovan Philip Leitch. With poetic lyrics dealing with social and political issues, he is considered one of the first folk-rock artists.
  • He is the father of actress Ione Skye. He has another daughter named Astrella Celeste, who is also a singer/songwriter and often performs with her dad. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
  • When he became popular in America, he was tagged "The British Dylan."
  • Donovan grew up in Scotland. His family moved to England when he was 10.
  • Popular Irish folk singer Christie Moore started his career by supporting Donovan on some of his 1970s tours. Also, Donovan's daughter Oriole Leitch married and bore the child of Happy Mondays/Black Grape singer Shaun Ryder, a notorious drug addict whom she met when older sister Astrella was living with Ryder's brother and bandmate, Paul. (thanks, Dan - Auckland, New Zealand)
  • Donovan contacted polio as a child. He recalled to Mojo magazine in 2015: "I didn't know that I was different. But I do remember a device that was put on the leg. They cut the Achilles tendon so the foot didn't become a clubfoot. My father kept me with the swimming, and the swimming is what helped. I don't remember having polio as a kid, but maybe it withdrew me from the usual upbringing of kids in Glasgow. I was left on my own a lot."
  • He tries to get his songs in as many movies, TV shows and commercials as possible. In his Songfacts interview, he said: "I've got more songs in commercials, series, and movies than I believe any other songwriter. I consider it really the new 'super radio.' Commercials are super radio, and I attract a lot of attention from music supervisors who wish to use my music, especially in the film world."
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Comments: 8

I love Donovan so much! He is definately one of my favourite singers of all time. One of his less known songs, "Remember the Alamo", is one of my favourite Donovan songs, along with "Atlantis" and "Sunshine Superman". Oh, and "There Is a Mountain" is one of my favourites too.Mary - London
John Bonham was never a session musician so he definitely didn't appear on any of Donovan's records, but Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones both did.Matt - London, England
Yes, been said and written many times.
Check Songfacts for H.Gurdy Man, this fellow Clem Cattini, apparently the real drummer, had people all over calling him a liar... sounds bummed.
Dill - Alexandria, Va
Dill, only member of Led Zep who played on Hurdy Gurdy Man was John Paul Jones. But nice urban legand...Nalo - Shawnee, Ks
Ummm...ooops, Mike, that would be Jimmy Page, not Donovan playing guitar on "Sunshine Superman." Donovan had all three backers from the future Led Zep on many tunes, and the one that's just obvious is "Hurdy Gurdy Man," with John Paul Jones on bass, Page on guitar and John Bonham on drums.Dill - Alexandria, Va
Donovan was probably the biggest influence on mid-sixties music. According to information at the time: he played all the instruments "Sunshine Superman". He introduced instruments into the rock format that had never been used in that way before and brought elements of folk and jug band music into the popular music mainstream.
The harpsichord playing on "Guinevere" was an influence on the Stones "Lady Jane" and many other songs by the Beatles, the Doors and others. His "The Trip" brought mainstream attention to another fantastic group of the time "Fly Jefferson Airplane: get you there on time". When the Beatles made "Sargeant Pepper" they were standing on his shoulders in some ways...
Mike - Berkeley, Ca
Did you know; Donovan wrote "Mountain Jam" the great jam on the Allman Bros. "Eat a Peach."Don - Pittsburgh, Pa
His daughter is Ione Sky.Shirley - Ocean, Nj
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