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cover story: donovan poetry used to be one. Then they were separated over the years. It came in again [during the Sixties], through the ballad form.” The record industry, and then even pop radio, would drift into a heady haze, and the old guard found itself floundering. By 1967, Donovan, The Beatles and Dylan were ruling the charts, and their lyrics seemed to be understood only by the most spaced out of youth. There was nothing mainstream about it, and yet there it was, in the mainstream. “Folk music would invade the

far cry from Chubby Checker and Frankie Avalon. Songs began to show some funny smoke, and refer to acts of love more serious than just holding hands. Yet, as counter-culture as Donovan was, he did not wander too far from the mainstream and the pursuit of the beloved hit record. “I wanted to relate [create hits],” he says. “It seems to me that in the folk world they were dead against popular music. But I felt that they needed all this music that was coming out of bohemia: this was peace and brotherhood.

consciousness that hasn’t been developed and can be developed and if it is accessed,” he says, “and if you look at things from a different level of consciousness, you will see the solutions arise. Why people can’t see it is because they are stuck, fixated.” Helping to get the world unstuck is Donovan and his mystical BFF, Deepak Chopra, the Indian-born spiritual advisor. They’ve been friends since the days of The Beatles and The Mahareshi, and recently they reunited in New York, to answer ques-

What this beam of light on my work does, quite simply, is it brings in an extraordinary new audience, which is why I embraced very early the use of my music in commercials, TV

and film.

popular culture,” Donovan says. “That’s how the meaningful lyric would arrive, and the ballad poet, Dylan of course, would use the ballad form. Poets would reappear in the guise of pop music.” By 1967, the Top 40 was groovy with this new/old discipline, yet station programmers — and the FCC — were nervous. It was a

Donovan Does Madison Avenue! Watch “Mellow Yellow” sell cords at The Gap. Don’t forget to cinch ‘em. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4Hu6up9Xng

The Modern | June 2012

It was important information. Dylan signed a deal with Columbia. He didn’t sign a deal with a folk label. He saw the possibilities in appealing to a mass.” His songs, even to this day, are used in advertising to Morse Code counter culture. Donovan is OK with that. The connection to the Sixties is beyond understood. He says, “What this beam of light on my work does, quite simply, is it brings in an extraordinary new audience, which is why I embraced very early the use of my music in commercials, TV and film.” If you thought his was an act, think again. His spirituality is the real thing. “There is this higher level of

Donovan tions and question answers. “Depack and I have known each other quite well over the years,” he says. “I have joined him on stage for his presentations. But we’ve never before had a real Q and A. And we’ve experienced so many similar things during our lives — people we know and things we’ve done. It was not so much an interview as a conversation between us.” Although Donovan’s music lives on, he insists that it remains fresh as a daisy. “It hasn’t dated,” he says. “It’s fresh and it’s alive. I was surrounded by acoustic instruments, and there is something about that that will never date. It has that feeling of it’s happening now.” www.themodern.us

Profile for Jennifer Barlow

TheModernJune2012V1N9  

The June 2012 issue of The Modern features interviews with the cast of the new TNT Dallas reboot, as well as Krystin Ritter from ABC’s Don’t...

TheModernJune2012V1N9  

The June 2012 issue of The Modern features interviews with the cast of the new TNT Dallas reboot, as well as Krystin Ritter from ABC’s Don’t...

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