Psychedelic hurdy gurdy man Donovan has made the short list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The eclectic singer-songwriter from Glasgow joins 14 other nominees for 2011. Donovan is among the five newcomers to the Rock Hall’s voting list. About a half-dozen artists will get the final nod.
Other artists known for unconventional sounds are Dr. John and Alice Cooper (both new), as well as Tom Waits (a carry-over).
Donovan was among the first recording artists to chart with psychedelic songs. He also was among the first long-haired British pop stars busted for drugs.
The artist was closely associated with the hippie movement and flower pop.
Donovan’s psychedelic singles include “Sunshine Superman,” “Mellow Yellow,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and “Barabajagal (Love Is Hot).” The album “Sunshine Superman” was among the first rock works to feature the sitar.
Update: Donovan will perform the “Sunshine Superman” album in its entirety this summer at the historic Royal Albert Hall. He’ll be backed at the June 3 concert by the London Contemporary Orchestra. The singer said the plan came from his wife, for whom Donovan wrote many of the album’s songs. The gig marks their 40th wedding anniversary. “This year of 2010 Linda and I celebrate our ruby anniversary and when I asked my muse what she wanted to do, she said, ‘Perform the complete “Sunshine Superman” album at the Royal Albert Hall.’ ” Her wish is my command!” (/update)
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame noted that Donovan “virtually single-handedly initiated the psychedelic revolution with ‘Sunshine Superman.’ ”
As an accomplished finger-picking guitarist, Donovan influenced his pals the Beatles, apparently contributing the line “sky of blue and sea of green” to “Yellow Submarine.” He was present for the Abbey Road recording of “A Day in the Life.”
“Mellow Yellow’s” mention of an “electrical banana” somehow inspired the widespread rumor that smoking peels resulted in a high. A handful of Donovan’s 1960s lyrics included references to LSD (although the musician denounced drugs at the end of the era, upon discovering meditation). “The Trip” described an LSD experience in Los Angeles.
His eerie song “Season of the Witch” became a psychedelic band staple, inspiring several musically adventurous covers, including those by Brian Auger and the Trinity, Terry Reid, and Al Kooper/Steven Stills.
The singer’s psychedelic album covers from the 1960s are classics of the genre, including “Superman,” “Mellow Yellow” and “A Gift From a Flower to a Garden.”
Donovan’s explorations were not limited to psychedelic music; he was perhaps the first artist to feature jazz in rock music, working with arranger John Cameron and longtime producer Mickey Most.
Psychedelic music is well represented in the Hall of Fame: Inductees include the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, the Yardbirds, the Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Miles Davis, Traffic, Santana, Frank Zappa, the Doors and the Who.