The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man

The Autobiography of Donovan The Hurdy Gurdy Man Donovan s autobiography charts his life from a post war Glaswegian childhood to the height of an international career as one of the leading figures of the s music scene Always feeling like an ou

  • Title: The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
  • Author: Donovan
  • ISBN: 9780312364342
  • Page: 190
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man

    Donovan s autobiography charts his life from a post war, Glaswegian childhood to the height of an international career as one of the leading figures of the 1960 s music scene Always feeling like an outsider, he found relief through music and poetry The book reveals how he came to be influenced by Buddhist teachings, and the music of Woody Guthrie and Joan Baez The bookDonovan s autobiography charts his life from a post war, Glaswegian childhood to the height of an international career as one of the leading figures of the 1960 s music scene Always feeling like an outsider, he found relief through music and poetry The book reveals how he came to be influenced by Buddhist teachings, and the music of Woody Guthrie and Joan Baez The book explores the significance of falling deeply in love with the woman who was to become his muse, and the profound sense of loss he felt when their relationship came to an end, and how the loss affected him both personally and creatively A leader of the folk revival in both Britain and America, the book recounts how he rose to be an international star, releasing songs such as Mellow Yellow and Catch the Wind , and his most successful album, Sunshine Superman Donovan is acknowledged as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 1960 s The book provides a frank account of his early experiments with drugs and his search for self He reveals the story of how he developed friendships with Baez, Dylan and the Beatles, with whom he a shared spiritual sojourn to meditate with the Maharishi in India Donovan s autobiography offers first hand insights into his music and poetry, recollects his rise to fame and the way in which destiny was to play a hand by re uniting him with the lost love of his life through a chance meeting.

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      Published :2018-08-05T03:51:32+00:00

    One thought on “The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man

    1. Michael

      i'm not going to lie, i could care less about how much this guy loves his shirt. i'd never take donovan seriously, and i bought this for my wife for xmas, she's quite the fan. i read it for the hell of it. andwell, i really enjoyed it. i never knew much about his early career or all the things that he accomplished at such a young age. yeah, not the biggest donovan fan ever, and there's lots of ego stroking going on but after reading the book i decided to take a crack at sunshine superman (the bo [...]

    2. Amy

      Clearly it was time for a biography to be written about Donovan. And since nobody else was going to do it, Donovan had to shoulder that burden himself. At best Donovan’s memoir captures the Zeitgeist of the sixties straight from the horse’s mouth, in his own clumsy yet earnest, somewhat-stream-of-consciousness style. Sure, his dialect is embarrassingly beatnik at times, but what else would you expect from the man who gave us Mellow Yellow? It feels like the genuine artifact; i.e the gawkishn [...]

    3. Philip Dodd

      The Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan I found an absorbing, always interesting book to read. Needless to say, you need to like his songs to like his book. Before I bought it, I read some of the reviews of it on and and was puzzled to read some reviewers complain that it was full of typographical errors. The book was published by Arrow Books, which is part of the Random House Publishing Group, so it would have been read by proof readers and editors before it was published, which is why the complaints [...]

    4. John Read

      I always thought Donovan got a raw deal in the endless comparisons with Dylan. I still think he is better. (They 'hung out' together quite a lot.) For anyone who was around in the 60s this is a great read. Donovan socialised or worked with just about any 'name' you can think of from those days of 'free love.' And Donovan got plenty of that too. The speed at which he moved from bumming around St Ives and learning guitar to releasing records and performing major gigs is amazing. Less than a year. [...]

    5. Liz

      If we are to believe everything Donovan tells us in this book, then he invented the 60's, the beatles, the rolling stones, Dylan, LSD, marijuana, Ravi Shankar & the indian inspired music and fashion of the time and anything cool or ground breaking for the 60's. In fact he would lead us to believe that he was the forefront of every movement social, musical or otherwise that occurred from 1960's onward.Yes Hurdy Gurdy Man is a cool song, but I'm hard pressed to remember any others. I wasn't th [...]

    6. Lizzie

      When I first flipped through this book it looked fascinating, and I couldn't wait to find it used. Now I have no idea what I saw in it - it's a vapid, rather boring account of Donovan's rise to fame with a subplot of whether or not he'll reunite with Linda (Brian Jones' ex!), the girl he pushed away but who is is true love. Since I looked through the photos before I started it and saw pictures of their wedding, I ruined the suspense for myself and am ruining it for you. The early parts about his [...]

    7. Alana

      I love Donovan's music and the book of poetry he wrote many years ago (Dry Songs and Scribbles) was brilliant. He writes very sweetly- his lyrics are beautifully and romantically structured. But I was extremely disappointed in this book; as a long time fan of Donovan, I got no perspective into his journey into the creative process nor a new understanding of his relationship to music, writing or the people around him. Much of the book seems to be a listing of names ('we were at with- followed by [...]

    8. Mohamed Eid

      a very interesting book by a great musician of the 60s, he simply reveals what his fans wish to know about his personal life and his song writing process etc

    9. Andy

      I don't even care if this book sucks. Donovan rules!Okay, I'm done with the book. It's lame. Donovan still made some great records, though.

    10. Belinda

      I admit it--I have always loved Donovan. Probably not surprising for those who know me well, I am a mass of personalities and one of them is definitely a hippie. I fell madly in love with Donovan when I was a little girl and they would play his videos on the defunct but fabulous MTV show (remember back before it was taken up with intelligence-sucking reality shows and they played music?)Closet Classics. I loved "Sunshine Superman" and "Atlantis" and of course "Mellow Yellow". He was a cute littl [...]

    11. Jenny

      I have been a Donovan fan since I heard him croon the most wonderful song (and my namesake) "Jennifer Juniper." I knew I was in love. Imagine the surprise that overcame me when I discovered that Donovan had written an autobiography. I just had to have it.I was not disappointed. This is a fabulous look at the 1960's from a true bohemian point of view. Although some may not agree, he describes his influences and muse without being too pretentious. After all, he did spend a summer in St. Ives strum [...]

    12. Heather

      Verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry boring and disappointing. I like several of Donovan's songs and I thought I would learn more about him by reading his autobiography. I didn't learn very much about him at all. It seemed that one day he was a beatnick, heading for life on the road, and the next day he's a musician. Then, the day after that, he's on Ready, Steady, Go and has a record deal. I read several books while I was reading this one because it was quite boring. I still like his music, but this book did no [...]

    13. Pete daPixie

      I found out Donovan worked in the same St.Ives restaurant in Cornwall, and hung out in the same places, and dossed in the same woods as I did. His St Albans early sixties period was interesting for me too, especially his guitar playing development.Typical sixties hippy trippy mantra from flower child minstrel Donovan.

    14. Raechel

      Loved this Donovan book - if i was like Donovan I'd say i was the first person ever to have read it, but i guess Donovan was the first person ever to have read it and I would just be bad vibin' him if i was to say i'd been there first :0) As much as i love him, this book is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. Ego is a very funny thing

    15. Leilani

      This book was very good. I do not understand why it is that people think it improper for Donovan to tell of his accomplishments, for he does it in a straight forward way. And personally, I feel like no one else talks of them, so he has every right to do so. I enjoyed the casual way he writes and tells his story, very beatnik.

    16. Julia

      Donovan was (and still is?) a best friend to just about everyone in 60s rock, which makes this book interesting.

    17. Peter Krakow

      5 stars for one of the most gloriously absurd rock bios ever . . . and not because it was a very good book

    18. Kevin LaBrie

      Cool view from a 60s rock icon. I loved how the book started out. I found Donovan a bit (only a bit) full of himself at times.

    19. Jake

      A book about Donovan Leitch was something which was long overdue, but as no author had yet to tackle the subject of this influential folk 'flower-power' pioneer and '60s icon, it was the man himself who decided to take on the task in 2005. His resulting memoir, 'The Hurdy Gurdy Man' is a good quick read, and very entertaining.Donovan always got christened with labels like 'A poor man's Bob Dylan', but I just don't agree with any of that, because the lad was a talented artist in his own right. He [...]

    20. Jen

      Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of Donovan's music, but I didn't know much about him as a person going into his autobiography. The first 5 years of Donovan's musical career was meteoric; that timeframe is the focus of The Hurdy Gurdy Man. At times, the book is a bit disjointed and muddled. Considering he was writing about events from 4 decades ago (events often clouded by drugs, alcohol, and hormones), it's surprising that he is able to tell as cohesive story as he does. The book begins in [...]

    21. Deb

      I picked this book up having been warned by another person on one of my reading challenges that Donovan's ego was running a bit wild. Still, having come of age on a lot of his music, I figured I'd give the book a chance.Well, I have never read such blatant, self-aggrandizing rubbish in my life. In fact, I've hung out around musicians most of my adult life and have never heard such self-aggrandizing rubbish. He claims that he originated Celtic Rock, implies that Led Zepplin was formed because Bon [...]

    22. Nick Duretta

      Donovan has always seemed like an intriguing person. His music is very fanciful and woven with Celtic imagery and themes of the Eastern religions, and his persona always suggested something much deeper than the 'flower power' movement that propelled him to fame. Which is what makes this autobiography disappointing. It is certainly all in here: his days as a homeless vagabond during his youth, his passion for American folk music, his sudden rise to fame during the British Invasion, his indulging [...]

    23. Sean

      As pop/rock bios go - this one's not bad. Mr. Leitch writes a competent look back at his childhood in Scotland, his discovery of music and youthful wanderings in Cornwall.He covers his first flush of fame with a level head and lets the reader in on some of the details of his songwriting and studio recordings. That hotel incident with Bob Dylan (seen in D.A. Pennebaker's "Don't Look Back") is also re-interpreted by Donovan. He becomes the first 60s pop star busted for marijuana possession, hangs [...]

    24. Andrew

      Picked this one up at poundland and glad I did ,It was an interesting read and full of interesting tales along the 60's highway with Donovan.At times Donovan can come across as desperate to write a legacy for himself where surely his songs are enough? Donovan is so desperate to eschew the Bob Dylan comparisons that at times this becomes laughablehis protesting at the fact he wore a Breton cap before Bob and plugged in his Guitar before Bob being two examples.Musically I think Donovan was far mor [...]

    25. Jasmine

      A gentle artistic spirit who wrote some awesome songs (Sunshine Superman, Mellow Yellow) in the swinging sixties between the tender ages of sixteen and twenty four. Yes, at times he comes off as an arrogant little sod (his words, not mine) and he makes some outrageous claims (he created psychedelic rock, Celtic rock, flower power, the guitar finger picking style) but still a mostly enjoyable read through the sixties, man. It did get a little boring towards the end of the sixties, but overall I ' [...]

    26. Laura

      Donovan burned bright and fast. That's what I learned. I also learned that Donovan should not write 300 page books without a ghost-writer an editor ANYONE who could have helped him flesh out lists of events and happenings. At times, I felt I was reading a middle school essay, "What I Did During the 1960s." Sometimes fun, but mostly disappointingly forgettable. I was really hoping for more insight on his experiences and inspirations.

    27. Rachel

      Great book! Donovan is an original folk pioneer & even though some say he's a bit boasty in his writing, I think he's earned it! Yes, he credits himself for bringing 'World Music' & Celtic Music to popular culture but isn't it kinda true? Long story short - I recommend this book to anyone who loves the 60's/counterculture (& also anyone who loves the Beatles.) Donovan shares many great stories about some of the legends of that era. <3

    28. Bob Irving

      Since Donovan's music formed a big part of the background music of my adolescence, I really enjoyed his story of his life and music. Yes, he takes credit for lots that he probably wasn't responsible for, and yes, he seems pretty chauvinistic in his approach to some women. But he's one of the seminal figures of that era and is still making music that defies categorization.

    29. SouthWestZippy

      Donovan Leitch was born in 1946 and at the age of sixteen he ran away from home to follow his dream of being a musician. He made memorable music but the book lacked something. Very dry matter of fact story telling. I also felt like he skip parts of his life which left me wondering what the rest of the story and why. I just could not get into this book at all.

    30. Megan

      I don't even know where to begin listing all the things that are wrong with this book. Do yourself a favor and don't bother reading it--rent the documentary 'Sunshine Superman - The Journey Of Donovan' instead. More objective, more informative, and better edited by far.

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