'Mellow Yellow' Singer Donovan To Be Inducted Into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

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Scottish folk and pop star Donovan.
Scottish folk and pop star Donovan.

Scottish folk and pop star Donovan will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. He was a sixties icon with hits such as "Mellow Yellow," "Sunshine Superman" and "Hurdy Gurdy Man."

But at the age of 24, he left music behind for 40 years, only to reemerge in 2005 with a new compilation of his music and an autobiography "The Hurdy Man."

Donovan sat down with Here & Now's Robin Young in 2006 to reflect on his life and career.

'The British Bob Dylan'

At the height of his career, Donovan was often called the "British Bob Dylan." But he explained that people mistakenly believed he was influenced by Dylan.

"The cap and the harmonica that Bob wore, and the cap and the harmonica that I wore, was really in homage to the great American Woody Guthrie," said Donovan. "They thought I was following Bob, when Bob and I were following Guthrie."

He says he's not sure why his fans and Dylan's fans were at odds with each other during the 60s.

"The folk world was invading pop culture that spring, and people got very very hot under the collar," he said. "Either you were for Donovan, or you were for Dylan. So it was a competition going on. The two 'D's. We were everywhere."

Leaving The Stage

Donovan took an extended break from the music business when he was just 24 years old. After accomplishing his mission of introducing "poetry again to popular culture," he thought: "Why keep doing it?"

The fame had also gotten under his skin.

"It became quite dangerous - fame - and I got a bit scared of it, I didn't quite understand how to continue," Donovan says. "We're all insecure, and artists are more insecure than others."

The interview originally aired on January 17, 2006.

This segment aired on March 28, 2012.


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