Live Preview: Donovan

The iconic folk-rocker, who had his first hit in 1965, gets ready to head out solo to play a string of cross-legged acoustic shows.

When your career began a half-century ago, Harold Wilson was one year into his stint as Prime Minister.

Yeah. A lot of my pals were comets that burned too brightly even before the 1960s ended. I’m more health-conscious. I’m not a big exercise guy but I eat mostly vegetarian food. I try to live in the moment, meditating for twenty minutes a day.

Why is this UK tour the first one you’ve done in a decade?

I’m a guy who either does nothing or something, and when it’s something, it’s usually a lot.

Playing thirty-two dates in six weeks is a demanding schedule…

The gypsy in my soul can handle it and the physicality of it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not travelling with a full band. This time I’m solo on acoustic guitar, sitting cross-legged on sheepskins on a raised platform.

How structured is the performance going to be on this tour?

It’s Donovan telling the story of Donovan, so there’s a path from my folk-blues acoustic period onwards. I’m not shy of singing my biggest hits, but where the show changes is the deeper, cult songs from the albums. I sometimes swap those around.

What are your views on the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, to which you were inducted in 2012?

I accept awards because they shine a bright light onto my work. It helps to reveal to younger people that I haven’t just had fifteen hits singles – there’s a catalogue of twenty-two albums.

Classic Rock 216: News & Regulars


Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.