Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction speech (2012)

Donovan Acceptance Poem

From my wandering days on lonely sands
where I sang my song to the moon and stars
To the world’s great stage, hounoured am I
to sing my song to a million fans

Always my wish to be of service
to ease emotion deep in the heart
Always your poet , a shaman am I
to lead us all to the realm within

Yet I was branded for my beauty
yet protected by my art
Many plundered me for booty
only one did steal my heart

How she keeps it in her casket
still remains a mystery
Like the moonrise in a sunset
like the silence of the sea

Thank you for this bright green laurel
resting now upon my brow
Thank you Goddess , thank you Muses
thank you … Fellow Artists All

Donovan Leitch
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Acceptance Poem
Cleveland Ohio
April 14 2012
Copyright: Donovan Leitch : Peer Music

Donovan Day

honorThank you Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councillor Koretz of City Hall Los Angeles for this singular honor to mark the Fiftieth Birthday of my song SUNSHINE SUPERMAN reaching number one on the Billboard Top 100. A love song for Linda yes, but also when we met we both knew we were on the same journey to raise awareness of a higher consciousness for the future generations. We are still on that journey.




Cavan County Museum and Cavan County Council Arts Office are delighted to present Donovan Days, a three day celebration of the art, music, poetry and life of legendary songwriter and recording artist Donovan. Donovan Days also celebrates the Celtic tradition from which he emerged. Organized in association with Govinda Gallery in Washington D.C., Donovan Days is sure to be one of the highlights of the cultural season in Ireland this summer. Featured events from Donovan Days include the first European exhibition of Donovan’s
extraordinary Sapphographs, a tribute concert celebrating Donovan’s music with Donovan as headliner, and the Irish premier of the documentary feature film, Sunshine Superman: The Journey of Donovan.

Cavan County Museum is pleased to present the first European exhibition of Donovan’s Sapphographs. Inspired by the lyric poetry of Sappho (7th Century B.C.E.), Donovan captures in visual form the mythic beauty of an ancient artistic tradition. Donovan’s Sapphographs evoke the aesthetic sensuality of nature and the power of its rituals to inspire artistic creation. Curator Chris Murray writes in the exhibition catalog, “Donovan’s Sapphographs are perhaps the finest contemporary homage to the greatest lyric poet of Ancient Greece.”

Donovan’s Sapphographs have been exhibited at Govinda Gallery in Washington DC, The Embassy of Greece, Washington DC, and at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore Maryland. A tour of Donovan’s Sapphographs in Greece is scheduled for the summer of 2010.

Donovan in Concert on Saturday 11th July 2009.
This concert is a celebration of the Scottish and Irish Celtic traditions which have influenced Donovan’s music, songs and poetry. Donovan will headline the concert as special guest. Other musical guests performing will include Sean Ó Sé, the renowned singer and performer from west Cork; Noel Battle, 12 times All-Ireland mouth organ champion, and Seamus Fay, Cavan’s legendary lilter, along with the talented and dynamic Nyah musicians. A special marquee will be constructed on the museum grounds for this unforgettable musical

Movie: “Sunshine Superman – The Journey of Donovan” 
The historic Ramor Theater is the venue for the Irish premier of director Hannes Rossacher’s documentary feature film on the life and work of Donovan. This screening will be followed by a discussion with Donovan and his wife Linda Lawrence, moderated by Donovan’s friend and exhibition curator Chris Murray. Sunshine Superman: The Journey of Donovan depicts the extraordinary life of 60´s folk-pop phenomenon Donovan. An amazing success story covering a career spanning more than four decades of Donovan’s life, Sunshine Superman is full of rare anecdotes about colleagues, musical collaborators and friends. This award-winning film also features appearances by Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Mickie Most, Rick Rubin, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, film directors Franco Zeffirelli and David Lynch, and many more.

The Donovan Days celebration will be complimented with an exciting and varied line-up of workshops and performances for children and adults at the Cavan County Museum complex. Donovan Days will be a unique opportunity to meet one of the most creative artists of our time in intimate surroundings as he shares his music, art and song with us.

John Lennon Real Love Award

lennon-tributeTheatre Within in association with Music Without Borders presents The 36th Annual John Lennon Tribute. A New York City tradition since 1981, the Tribute joyously celebrates John Lennon’s music, life and timeless message of peace, love and social activism.


This year’s Tribute features music icon Donovan, who will receive the 2016 “John Lennon Real Love Award” and play an extended set of John Lennon and Beatles songs, as well as some of his own classic hits. Donovan famously accompanied the Beatles in 1968 on their historic journey to India to study meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.


Donovan was presented with the Mojo Maverick Award on July 21st 2011 in London at the Mojo awards by Jimmy Page. This award recognises people who have been hugely influential over a number of years, inspiring a number of different genres of music in the process.

Scottish Music Hall Of Fame Honour

I am delighted to receive this honour from the land of my birth. To know the reasons for my delight and my acceptance speech see the video.


I am honoured to be nominated for the second time to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and chuffed to see my young chums The Faces nominated too!


Donovan received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC2 Radio Folk Awards. After a speech where he talked about his Glaswegian and Irish roots, the ‘lament’ and the heroic celtic ballads, Donovan played a short version of Summer Day Reflection Song followed by Catch The Wind, accompanied on double bass by Danny Thompson (2007 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award).

Earlier in the day Donovan appeared on the morning TV program BBC Breakfast where they showed a few seconds of some rare footage from the mid-70′s. A few hours later Donovan was interviewed on the Simon Mayo radio show, and he talked about the award and his current activities (with no mention whatsoever about his new album Ritual Groove except for the collaboration with David Lynch almost a year ago). He also played Colours.


The first British folk troubadour who truly captured the imaginations of early Beatles-era fans on both sides of the Atlantic, Donovan Leitch made the transition from a scruffy blue-jeaned busker into a brocaded hippie traveler on Trans Love Airways.  As a folkie on the road with Gypsy Dave, Donovan began on the iTV’s Ready Steady Go! starting in 1964 and released several classics: “Catch the Wind,” “Colours,” Buffy Ste.-Marie’s “Universal Soldier,” “To Try for the Sun” and more.  That changed in 1966, as he came under the production arm of UK hit-maker Mickie Most, and was signed by Clive Davis to Epic Records in the U.S.  Donovan ignited the psychedelic revolution virtually single-handedly when the iconic single “Sunshine Superman” was released that summer of ’66 (and the LP of the same name with “Season of the Witch”).  His heady fusion of folk, blues and jazz expanded to include Indian music and the TM (transcendental meditation) movement.

Donovan was at the center of the Beatles’ fabled pilgrimage to the Maharishi’s ashram in early ’68 (where, it is said, he taught guitar finger-picking techniques to John Lennon and Paul McCartney).  Donovan’s final Top 40 hit with Most was “Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)” in the summer ’69, backed by the Jeff Beck Group.  Donovan continued to record and tour sporadically during the 70s and 80s.  During the 1990s, Rick Rubin (after working with Johnny Cash) produced Donovan’s Sutras.  In the six years since Beat Café (2004), we’re learning just how much we miss Donovan.

Read more on the official website of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:

BMI ICON (2009)

Donovan will be named a BMI ICON at the U.S. performing right organization’s annual London Awards, slated for Tuesday, October 6 2009 at London’s Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane. The invitation-only gala will recognize the U.K. and European songwriters and publishers of the past year’s most-played BMI songs on American radio and television. Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) is a United States-based performing right organization that collects and distributes monies for the public performance of music on outlets including radio, television, the Internet and the top-grossing tours in the U.S.

The Icon designation is given to BMI songwriters who have bestowed “a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” Donovan joins an elite list of past honorees that includes multi-genre nobility Bryan Ferry, Peter Gabriel, Ray Davies, Van Morrison, the Bee Gees, Isaac Hayes, Dolly Parton, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Hall & Oates, Paul Simon, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Steve Winwood and more.

Donovan is a master of poignant simplicity. Capable of evoking passionate idealism and freewheeling emotion in a single word or chord, he transformed popular music in the 1960s and went on to build a legendary career. Already a folk hero in the early 60s thanks to hits including “Catch the Wind” and “Colours,” Donovan proceeded to generate considerable radio success for the rest of the decade with 11 consecutive Top 40 hits, including “Mellow Yellow,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Wear Your Love Like Heaven,” “There Is a Mountain,” “Lalena,” “Epistle to Dippy,” “Atlantis,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” and “Jennifer Juniper,” all of which he wrote alone. While “Jennifer Juniper” has generated more than 1 million performances, “Mellow Yellow” has earned more than 2 million and “Sunshine Superman” has garnered almost 3 million performances.

His compositions have also resurfaced in hit films and television series including GoodfellasElectionDumb and Dumber,RushmoreThe SimpsonsNip/TuckUgly BettyCluelessBoys on the SideMurphy BrownMy Name is Earl and Dancing with the Stars. Donovan  has  numerous  Advertising success   with  his  songs ,most  notably the  G.E. commercial  for  Wind  Energy  ,  in  which  his   song ‘Catch The  Wind ‘  was  highly  praised. He was profoundly influential on the Beatles, becoming one of an elite handful of artists who collaborated on songs with the band.

In 1965, “Catch the Wind” earned an Ivor Novello Award for best contemporary folk song, marking the first time the honor was bestowed on an artist’s debut single. Donovan received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Hertfordshire in 2003, and in 2009, he became Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Republic and garnered the American Visionary Art Museum Baltimore’s prestigious Grand Visionary Award.

A man not only of unfathomable talent but of rare conviction as well, he is a well-known proponent and student of Transcendental Meditation and leads the musical wing of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. Hard at work on a new album entitled Ritual Groove, Donovan plans to tour  the  world  2010  through  2011.

While BMI collects royalties for him in the United States, Donovan is a member of British performing right society PRS for Music. Hosted by BMI President & CEO Del Bryant; BMI Senior Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Phil Graham; and Executive Director, Writer/Publisher Relations, Europe & Asia Brandon Bakshi, the BMI London Awards will also present the Robert S. Musel Award to the writer and publisher of the most performed song of the year. BMI will also bestow “Million-Air” certificates on writers and publishers whose songs have achieved more than three million U.S. radio and television performances — the equivalent of more than 17 years of continuous airplay.


Donovan, Ray Davies, Graham Gouldman, Mark James & Jim Weatherly to be Inducted June 12th in NYC

New York, NY – February 11, 2014 – Musical titans Donovan, Ray Davies, Graham Gouldman, Mark James and Jim Weatherly will become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 45th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner. These legendary songwriters wrote such mega-hits as “Mellow Yellow”, “You Really Got Me”, “For Your Love”, “Suspicious Minds”, and “Midnight Train to Georgia”. The star-studded induction event is slated for Thursday, June 12th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced soon.

“Each of our 2014 inductees has been responsible for captivating the world with their creativity for decades, serving up a rich variety of songs for our global soundtrack,” said SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb. “We are looking forward to celebrating their contributions at our Annual Awards Gala.”

Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) serves as a vital bridge between music’s past and future. In the Hall, musical pioneers are enshrined and celebrated, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of troubadours.

Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan was discovered by Ralph Peer Jr. in 1964, and was soon in the pop charts with his first hit “Catch The Wind,” which garnered him the Ivor Novello Award for songwriting. Donovan and producer Mickie Most then collaborated on other chart-topping songs including “Sunshine Superman,” “Mellow Yellow” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” all of which landed in the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 1965 Donovan became the first artist Clive Davis signed to CBS/Epic Records. Donovan’s hits, along with many of his other songs including “Atlantis,” “Catch The Wind” and “Season Of The Witch,” have been featured in films and TV shows such asGoodfellas, Dark Shadows, The Simpsons and Futurama as well as in major advertisements for General Electric, The Gap and Microsoft. He also served as the musical composer for the films Poor Cow, Brother Sun, Sister Moon and The Pied Piper. Throughout his career Donovan has collaborated with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ronnie Wood, Jeff Beck, among others. Donovan was designated as a BMI Icon in 2009 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.


Media Coverage

New York Times
USA Today
Wall Street Journal
Los Angeles Times
Rolling Stone
Huffington Post
CBS News
ABC News
Washington Post


Iconic singer songwriter Donovan (Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman, Hurdy Gurdy Man) was awarded a distinguished medal as “Officer of Arts & Letters” by the French Minister of Culture, Christine Albanel, during the prestigious MIDEM Music Fair in Cannes, France, on Sunday 18 January.

Donovan was honored along with two other medal recipients: Paul Zilk, the CEO and president of Reed MIDEM; and Philippe Jaroussky, the famed French sopranist countertenor. Donovan received his medal 16 months after filmmaker David Lynch was honored by French President Nicolas Sarkozy as an “Officer of the Legion of Honor.”

“Donovan is greatly deserving of this high award,” Mr. Lynch said. “He’s a cosmic musician—his songs have brought bliss and enlightenment to the world for more that 40 years.”

Donovan works closely with Mr. Lynch, heading up the musical wing of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness Based Education and World Peace. Donovan and his wife, Linda, have traveled with Mr. Lynch throughout Europe, America, and Brazil to bring the benefits of Transcendental Meditation to education. Through their efforts, the Lynch Foundation has now provided scholarships for more than 60,000 children worldwide to learn to meditate.


Related Article: ( Singer Donovan gets French medal


The article below is taken from The Rolling Stone Magazine and is a recent interview with Donovan on discovering that he is to be inducted into The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.

Donovan fans probably think that the Scottish folk icon should have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame years ago, but we checked in with the Hurdy Gurdy Man himself while he was on vacation in Monaco – and he feels the the timing is just perfect.

Andy Greene: Tell me your first reaction to hearing the news.
Donovan: It’s a singular honor, and I’m pleased as punch, as they say in England and Scotland. It’s even more special because I’m going to be there with some of my favorite artists and musicians. The Faces are my old chums. We used to hang out. The Chilis, some of them appeared on my Rick Rubin album. Guns N’ Roses, who I’ve come to know in California and did a couple of things with. Of course, the Beastie Boys. A very touching part of this, for me, is the inclusion of the lovely Laura Nyro, who left us too soon, of course. When I was younger, I followed her rise and her extraordinary work. It will be great to see her honored too.

Andy Greene: This is a honor that’s long past due for you.
Donovan: Oh, I’ve been honored from day one. Basically, as a young singer/songwriter/poet arriving at the time that I did – from out of the bohemian world and onto the popular stage – immediately I felt honored. Recognition of one’s work comes from the fans first, of course. My goodness, that’s been again and again recognized.

Honors and awards are very interesting, and I truly accept them. I have very high regard for what they mean. What they mean is that they’re pointing to the work. For me, the work was always to show others, to lead others, to experiment, to break all the rules. I’ve had lots of recognition, and interestingly enough, within the past year, from the Mojo award that Jimmy Page gave me to the Lifetime Achievement Award that the BBC gave me for the folk world.

But this one is singular. It is worldwide, and it’s very interesting because the other ones were quite local. So, no, I don’t feel that I should have had it earlier. Also, I understand that the voting committee is composed of musicians and performers and singer/songwriters. That is also wonderful. It is similar to the Academy Awards where actual makers of films give their vote. They are voting on a very special level. It is great to be honored by one’s peers. There are so many people to choose from by the voting committee. It is very, very difficult for them, I’m sure.

My particular space has always been quite unique in popular music. I have a background in R&B and hard rock and straight pop, but I never went all the way with any of those genres. I have always just experimented, and I come from a very ancient, acoustic root. It was very hard to put a finger on me. People were always like, “What is he?” To be honored now is very timely, because I feel very much like I’ve looked at the work I’ve done, and I’ve been gathering it all together on my website. And quite a journey it’s been – but it’s not the end. No, I hope not.

You can read more about Donovan to be inducted into The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame on his friend, Chris Murray’s website here.


In November 2003, Donovan was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Hertfordshire. He was nominated by Sara Loveridge (who was a student at the University and had interviewed and reviewed Donovan for the University paper in 2001–2002), Andrew Morris, Sara’s partner and Donovan researcher/writer and co-nominated by Mac MacLeod.