Where is the Scottish Singer Donovan Now?

Donovan then and now
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images and Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame

Donovan Phillips Leitch, simply known as Donovan, turns 78 years old today (May 10, 2024). While he has been relatively quiet and retired in recent years, he has continued to help out with causes he is passionate about. The Scottish musician emerged in the British folk music scene in the 1960s and got his big break on the TV show Ready Steady Go! in 1965. He soon became successful in the U.S. with the songs “Sunshine Superman,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” “Season of the Witch” and “Mellow Yellow.”

Donovan became friends with the Beatles and was credited with teaching John Lennon a finger-picking guitar style in the late ’60s. While he continued to perform and record in the ’70s and ’80s, the music scene began to move on from his flowery hippie-style tunes to more punk rock mania. In the ’90s, he moved to Ireland where he still resides. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.

A few years ago, he came out of retirement to create a tribute album to environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Donovan recorded the album Eco-Song with his wife Linda. The album features songs from his career with an eco theme, with the hopes of performing it one day as a stage opera of sorts. Donovan explained that he and his wife have become very dedicated to Thunberg and her efforts and eventually hope to perform the songs in schools around the country.

Scottish folk and pop singer and musician Donovan (born Donovan Phillips Leitch), UK, 7th July 1965

Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

He shared that he still feels like “a kid with a guitar, and a song, and a hat, and a harmonica, the traditional troubadour, minstrel, bard, in the old Gaelic tradition.” In addition to Eco-Song, he released the album Gaelia in December 2022 and is planning a 60th-anniversary concert series in 2025. At the time of posting, there are no tour dates quite yet, but stay tuned! He has been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a “restricted lung disease” that hopefully will not get in the way of the tour.

Singer-songwriter Donovan performs live on stage during a concert at Schwuz on July 20, 2015 in Berlin, Germany

Stefan Hoederath/Redferns/Getty Images

What’s your favorite song by this legendary artist?

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