Getty Images Attention, artists: If Bruce Springsteen ever offers to write a…
- Posted on Apr 12th 2012 4:00PM by Chris Epting
As the Hall notes, Donovan was "the first British folk troubadour who truly captured the imaginations of early Beatles-era fans on both sides of the Atlantic." Indeed he was. Donovan Leitch, who first caught the world's attention on the BBC's Ready Steady Go! in 1964. Soon after he released classics such "Catch the Wind," "Colours," Buffy Ste.-Marie's "Universal Soldier," "To Try for the Sun" and others.
In 1966, U.K. hitmaker Mickie Most began producing his records and Clive Davis signed him to Epic Records in the United States. Then came the iconic hits that all but ignited the psychedelic revolution: "Sunshine Superman," "Season of the Witch" and "Mellow Yellow" among others.
Spinner sat down with Donovan recently, and the troubadour reflected on what it means to be inducted this weekend.
Are you excited about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Does it means a lot to you?
Well, it's a very important singular honor, I'd say. I was very pleased when I found out. People have asked me, should I have been inducted earlier? No, I never felt that, never. I never had too much opinion on it, didn't really pay that much attention to it at all until I heard. It's not like me to worry about such things. I will tell you this though, I remember playing on television in 1965, one of my first really big appearances. And the mailbags the next weeks were huge, just stuffed with letters about my performance, all of these wonderful notes. That sort of recognition is what was always the honor to me. And the fan support over the years. That's perhaps the truest honor you can receive, I think. The recognition of the people.
Did you ever feel pressure to try and keep delivering the sort of records that made you famous?
Not really, no. It's hard for me to not do exactly what I feel as an artist. They say repetition is death to an artist, so I never felt I had to do another "Mellow Yellow" or another "Sunshine Superman." I did them once, and that was fine. The other thing with me is that, you don't see me out there every year doing things. And people thought I'd disappeared from time to time. But the truth is, when I get bored, I sort of lay low. I have to be inspired and have to feel the creative burst, and then I reappear and do what I do. I'm the true artist in the sense -- I have to respond to the creative and musical feeling. I can't merely respond to a quiet period by just working to fill the space. Creativity, for me, has to have meaning.
Your friend Jimmy Page joined you onstage last year in London when you recreated your Sunshine Superman album.
Such an amazing night that was. When we originally did the album, in 1965, Jimmy had just left the Yardbirds and Zeppelin was a couple of years off, so we hired him to do a session at Abbey Road. Glad he was available. And affordable!