Few people embodied the 1960s’ cultural revolution in the same way as Donovan Leitch.
Hailed as the British answer to Bob Dylan when he broke through in 1965, he ushered in the psychedelic era with the following year’s “Sunshine Superman” and pioneered pop’s obsession with global sounds and Eastern mysticism. Jazz-folk? Bohemian pop? Celtic soul? This guy was there first.
He accompanied The Beatles to India, where he taught them some of the fingerpicking techniques they subsequently employed to great effect on The “White Album”; sessions for his “Hurdy Gurdy Man” single helped bring Led Zeppelin together; he was also great friends with Brian Jones, later becoming stepfather to Jones’ son Julian.
Donovan’s latest project keeps it in the family: to mark the 50th anniversary of Jones’s passing, Joolz Juke is a live album of covers of Jones’ favourite blues tunes, performed by Jones’s grandson Joolz and band, with Donovan on harmonica and MC duties. Watch their version of “Dust My Broom” below and order the whole album here:
And just to prove he was always ahead of the curve, Donovan has recently issued Eco-Song – a compilation of his songs about saving the planet, dating back as far as 1970.
So what do you want to ask a genuine pop pioneer? Send us your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday December 13 and Donovan will answer the best ones in a future issue of Uncut.