Donovan – 61 Yesterday

Hey, Donovan has joined the rest of us forerunners who, due to circumstances beyond our control, live in the Sixties. Welcome, man.

Don’t Look Back, the great Pennebaker doc about Bob Dylan’s 1965 English tour is finally out on DVD and I read a review of it the other day. A commenter, desiring to demonstrate Bobbie’s big dog status in 1965, chose to describe the filmed meeting between the two, where Donovan played his soon-to-be-hit, Catch The Wind, and Dylan supposedly destroyed him by following with his It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.

I’m sorry, but this is all wrong. The truth is everyone, with the possible exception of John Lennon, was blown off the stage by Dylan in the mid-Sixties. So what? Donovan was and remains an authentic voice in his own right. Dylan himself recognized it. That’s why Donovan was sitting in the inner sanctum trading songs with the man.

To me, Donovan most perfectly captures the flower children aspect of the Sixties. No one else of the era could have written a line like this one (from his 1967 album Wear Your Love Like Heaven),

“Have you found the secret door
to let you down to the earth’s deep core
you’ll be back in time for tea
with a diamond to show me.”

A spiritual journey with no suffering, no pain. And probably with Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy along for the adventure. It’s what we all wanted, wasn’t it? Oh, I forgot for a minute. You weren’t born yet. Well, it was. And Donovan’s music captured the moment surpassingly well. Besides, I want my tea too.

Hail, Atlantis!
Here’s a penny for the old guy.


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