Donovan’s cosmic wheels spin new tales try for the sun: the journey of donovan celebrates 40 years of recording on deluxe 4-disc box set

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Catch The Wind,” “Colours,” “Universal Soldier,” “Sunshine Superman,”

Season Of The Witch,” “Mellow Yellow,” “There Is A Mountain,”

Wear Your Love Like Heaven,” “Jennifer Juniper,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Lalena,” “Atlantis,” “Barabajagal (Love Is Hot),” and more
60-page booklet includes 5,000-word liner essay by Anthony DeCurtis,

personal note from Donovan, and artist testimonials and tributes
Arrives in stores September 13th on Epic/Legacy

“‘Derroll [Adams] introduced me to his sidekick [Ramblin’] Jack Elliott, who was a disciple of Woody [Guthrie] … He also introduced me to Buffy Sainte-Marie. Buffy introduced me to Joanie Baez. Joanie, with a smile on her face, introduced me to Bob Dylan. Bob introduced me to the Beatles. The direct line came from the folk world right into the center of pop culture.’”

– Donovan, as told to Anthony DeCurtis
Forty summers after his debut single “Catch The Wind” introduced a scruffy 19-year old to the upper stretches of the U.K. and U.S. charts, and he joined the first wave of “plugged-in” singer-songwriters at the Newport Folk Festival of 1965, Donovan continues to enthrall audiences across the cosmos with his mystical musical vision.

TRY FOR THE SUN: THE JOURNEY OF DONOVAN, a deluxe box set containing 3 CDs and a bonus DVD, will arrive in stores September 13th on Epic/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAIN­MENT. The release coincides with his 40th anniversary concert tour and the October publication of The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man (St. Martin’s Press).

Spanning his recording career from 1964 to 2005, TRY FOR THE SUN presents 60 tracks – 20 of which are in glorious original mono sound. Included are every one of Donovan’s 17 U.S. chart singles (and 8 well-chosen B sides), plus more than a dozen signature album tracks, 12 previously unreleased studio recordings, 7 previously unreleased live concert numbers (from 1967 and 1971), 2 live concert numbers previously unissued in the U.S., and a track from his rare 1964 demo.

The bonus DVD marks the long overdue premiere of the 1970 documentary, There Is An Ocean. Filmed during a voyage to Greece, the 45-minute DVD presents a revealing portrait of Donovan in the company of friends and family, with plenty of never-before-seen live performance footage included.

Putting Donovan’s life and times in perspective is a newly commissioned 5,000-word liner notes essay written by Rolling Stone Contributing Editor Anthony DeCurtis, based on a recent exclusive interview with the artist. In addition, TRY FOR THE SUN includes an overview written by Donovan himself, who supervised the production of the box set at every stage of its development.

Complementing the liner notes, 60-page booklet also offers testimonials from more than a dozen artists whose careers intersected with (or were influenced by) Donovan through the years. As of this writing, they include Joan Baez, Devandra Banhart, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alice Cooper (who reminds us that he got Donovan to sit in on Billion Dollar Babies!), Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, Tim DeLaughter of the Polyphonic Spree, Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band, Stephen King, Al Kooper, John Mellencamp, James Mercer of The Shins, Graham Nash, and producer Rick Rubin.

TRY FOR THE SUN was produced by Donovan and Bob Irwin (known for his work with Legacy Recordings on the catalogs of the Byrds, Janis Joplin, Santana, Simon & Garfunkel, and many others). While the bulk of the music is drawn from Donovan’s Epic album and single releases in the U.S. (he was signed to the venerable Pye label in the U.K.) – from 1966’s Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow to 1976’s Slow Down World – there is also generous attention paid to recordings that precede the Epic years (released in the U.S. on Nashville’s Hickory Records), interrupt them (on Dawn Records in 1971), and follow (on Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label in 1996, and on Pennsylvania’s Appleseed Records last year).

DeCurtis’ liner notes trace Donovan’s evolution, starting as a teenage schoolboy north of London, “besotted” by the music of Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, and “dumbfounded” by the Beatles. Into the mix came the philosophy of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, whose music instilled a sense of social consciousness in young Donovan that his father, a Socialist, encouraged. Hearing The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album in 1963 convinced 17-year old Donovan he’d found another “disciple of Woody.”

Donovan began recording his first song demos and was discovered by talent scouts for the Ready Steady Go tv variety show. He became a regular and won exposure for his premiere single, “Catch The Wind,” which secured him a berth on U.K. and U.S. singles charts in the spring 1965. (The song was written for Linda Lawrence, Donovan’s girlfriend until their break-up in ’65. She went on to become the girlfriend of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and mother of his son Julian. After Brian’s death in 1969, Linda and Donovan reunited and were married, and raised Julian together.) Meanwhile, no sooner had audiences warmed up to his acoustic folk nature, than Donovan moved on in ’65 to the expanding stylistic changes of “Colours” and his cover of Buffy Ste.-Marie’s “Universal Soldier.”

Under the aegis of visionary producer Mickie Most, “Sunshine Superman” reached #1 as Donovan’s first Epic Records single, and rock history (and DeCurtis’ notes) reaffirm the presence of Jimmy Page on lead guitar on the track. The liner notes provide one revelation after another – “Fat Angel” was inspired by Cass Elliott of the Mamas and Papas, while “Season of the Witch” was written hang­ing out with John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas and British guitarists Bert Jansch and John Renbourn; Paul McCartney turns up on “Mellow Yellow,” arranged by John Paul Jones, whose coda is a tribute to Spike Milligan and The Goon Show; and Christmas 1967’s double-album box set, A Gift From a Flower to a Garden, was George Harrison’s model for his All Things Must Pass box set in 1970.

TRY FOR THE SUN includes 13 songs from Donovan’s Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums of 1966 and 1967, respectively. His 1967 tour of the U.S. was documented the following year on Donovan In Concert, which was recorded in Anaheim; 4 previously unreleased songs from that concert recording make their debut 38 years later: “Epistle To Derroll,” “To Try For The Sun,” “Someone’s Singing,” and “The Tinker And The Crab.”

A February-March 1968 sojourn with the Beatles to India, to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, was immortalized on the album and single Hurdy Gurdy Man, Donovan’s nickname for the guru. The song boasts three quarters of the not-quite Led Zeppelin, namely Page, Jones and drummer John Bonham. Recorded soon after, “Barabajagal (Love Is Hot),” featured four members of the Jeff Beck Group, namely guitarist Beck, future Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano, and Tony Newman on drums (with black leather rocker Suzi Quatro singing back-up).

As DeCurtis notes, “Jennifer Juniper” was written for Jenny Boyd, younger sister of George Harrison’s wife, Patti Boyd, whom he met at the Maharishi’s camp. German actress Lotte Lenya, married to composer Kurt Weill, inspired “Lalena.” “Moon in Capricorn” was the title tune of Donovan’s late-’60s album which was never released, but several of whose tracks (including both sides of the 1971 single “Celia Of The Seals” b/w Yeats’ “The Song Of The Wandering Aengus”) later showed up on H.M.S. Donovan (issued on the one-off Dawn label). Three more acoustic tracks from the unreleased album make their debuts on TRY FOR THE SUN: “The Ferryman’s Daughter,” Ewan McColl’s “The Traveling People,” and the folk staple “She Moved Through the Fair.”

From an unreleased November 1971 concert at the J.F.K. Center in Washington, D.C., come “Young And Growing,” “Keep On Truckin’” (homage to R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural character), and “Stealin’,” Gus Cannon’s jug band gem with Donovan on kazoo. Two years later, Sony/Epic recorded him in concert in Japan for an album that was only released there, so “A Working Man” and “Tinker Tune” are now finally making their U.S. debuts. As musical changes set in during the mid-’70s, the confluence of disco, punk and new wave edged Donovan aside, as he recorded his final three LPs for Epic: 1973’s Essence to Essence (with “Sailing Homeward”); 1975’s 7-Tease (with “Your Broken Heart”); and 1976’s Slow Down World (with “Dark-Eyed Blue Jean Angel”).

Donovan curtailed his touring and recording schedule for nearly a decade and a half, as he raised his two children Donovan Leitch and Ione Skye. He was finally lured back on the road in 1992 by Happy Mondays, who had recorded a song entitled “Donovan” in homage to him. In 1994, Donovan participated in a concert commemorat­ing the 25th anniversary of Brian Jones’ death. In 1996, as he turned 50, he returned to the studio to work with producer Rick Rubin on the Sutras album (“Please Don’t Bend”). In 1997, “Sunshine Superman” was put back on the front burner when it was sampled by Imani Coppola on her top 20 debut single, “Legend Of a Cowgirl.” Another long hiatus followed, broken in 2004 by the appearance of Donovan’s Beat Café album, whose opening track, “Love Floats,” is included on TRY FOR THE SUN.

The box set concludes with a new re-recording of an old song from 1969’s Barabajagal album, “Happiness Runs,” which was commissioned last year for a Delta Airlines commercial, “bringing his music, once again, to millions of listeners,” as DeCurtis writes. With the release of TRY FOR THE SUN, a 40th anniversary tour about to be announced, and the completion of his long-awaited memoir, the cosmic wheels of Donovan’s career are about to get rolling once again.

TRY FOR THE SUN: THE JOURNEY OF DONOVAN (3-CD + DVD box set) (Epic/Legacy E3K 93919)
CD One

Title Album ref. (or source) Year

1. Catch The Wind (s) Catch The Wind 1965

2. * Josie (s) Catch The Wind 1965

3. * Co’dine (demo) Troubadour box set (1992) 1964

4. * Colours (s) Fairytale 1965

5. * Universal Soldier (s) Fairytale 1965

6. * Sunny Goodge Street (s) Fairytale 1965

7. * Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness) (s) Like It Is, Was And 1965

Evermore Shall Be

8. Sunshine Superman (extended ver.) Sunshine Superman 1966

9. The Trip (s) (Sunshine Superman) 1966

10. * Legend Of A Girl Child Linda Sunshine Superman 1966

11. * Three King Fishers Sunshine Superman 1966

12. Season Of The Witch Sunshine Superman 1966

13. * Guinevere Sunshine Superman 1966

14. * The Fat Angel Sunshine Superman 1966

15. * Mellow Yellow (s) Mellow Yellow 1966

16. * Sand And Foam (s) Mellow Yellow 1966

17. * Young Girl Blues Mellow Yellow 1966

18. * Museum Mellow Yellow 1966

19. * Hampstead Incident Mellow Yellow 1966

20. * Sunny South Kensington (s) Mellow Yellow 1966

CD Two

Title Album ref. (or source) Year

1. Epistle To Dippy (s) (Donovan’s Greatest Hits) 1967

2. * Preachin’ Love (s) n/a 1966

3. There Is A Mountain (s) (Donovan’s Greatest Hits) 1967

4. Wear Your Love Like Heaven (s) Wear Your Love Like Heaven 1967

5. Oh Gosh (s) Wear Your Love Like Heaven 1967

6. * Isle Of Islay For Little Ones 1968

7. # Epistle To Derroll (live) Anaheim Convention Ctr., CA 1967

8. # To Try For The Sun (live) Anaheim Convention Ctr., CA 1967

9. # Someone’s Singing (live) Anaheim Convention Ctr., CA 1967

10. # The Tinker And The Crab (live) Anaheim Convention Ctr., CA 1967

11. Jennifer Juniper (s) Hurdy Gurdy Man 1968

12. * Poor Cow (s) motion picture Poor Cow 1968

13. Hurdy Gurdy Man (s) Hurdy Gurdy Man 1968

14. Get Thy Bearings Hurdy Gurdy Man 1968

15. Lalena (s) Donovan’s Greatest Hits 1968

16. Barabajagal (Love Is Hot) Barabajagal 1969

[with the Jeff Beck Group] (s)

17. # Lord Of The Reedy River outtake from Barabajagal 1969

18. # Moon In Capricorn n/a 1968

19. To Susan On The West Coast Waiting Barabajagal 1969

20. Atlantis (s) Barabajagal 1969

CD Three

Title Album ref. (or source) Year

1. Celia Of The Seals (s) H.M.S. Donovan 1971

2. The Song Of The Wandering Aengus H.M.S. Donovan 1971

(from The Collected Poems of

W. B. Yeats) (s)

3. # The Ferryman’s Daughter n/a 1969

4. # She Moved Through The Fair n/a 1969

5. # The Traveling People n/a 1969

6. Riki Tiki Tavi (s) Open Road 1970

7. Clara Clairvoyant Open Road 1970

8. # Young And Growing (live) J.F.K. Center, Washington, DC 1971

9. # Keep On Truckin’ (live) J.F.K. Center, Washington, DC 1971

10. # Stealin’ (live) J.F.K. Center, Washington, DC 1971

11. I Like You (s) Cosmic Wheels 1973

12. Maria Magenta (s) Cosmic Wheels 1973

13. ^ A Working Man (live) Live In Japan - Spring Tour 1973 1973

14. ^ Tinker Tune (live) Live In Japan - Spring Tour 1973 1973

15. Sailing Homeward Essence To Essence 1973

16. Your Broken Heart (s) 7-Tease 1974

17. Dark-Eyed Blue Jean Angel (s) Slow Down World 1976

18. * Please Don’t Bend Sutras 1996

19. Love Floats Beat Café 2004

20. # Happiness Runs (2004 version) Try For The Sun: 2005

The Journey Of Donovan

(s) indicates single version

* indicates mono recording

# indicates previously unreleased track

^ indicates previously unissued in U.S.
Note: Original stereo recordings (unless otherwise indicated as mono) issued on Epic Records, except: CD One, tracks 1-7 originally issued on Hickory Records; CD Three, tracks 1-2 originally issued on Dawn Records; track 18 originally issued on American Recordings; track 19 originally issued on Appleseed Records.

For further information on DONOVAN contact:

Tom Cording at Legacy Media Relations, 212.833.4448, or

Randy Haecker at Legacy Media Relations, 212.833.4101


Tom Cording or Randy Haecker


550 Madison Avenue, 17th floor

New York, NY 10022-3211

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