Written by Amy Jacques for Jambands.com
Iconic folk singer Donovan celebrated his recent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with an extremely intimate show at New York’s ABC Carpet and Home last night. According to the songwriter’s spokesman, it will be his only US concert timed with his induction. The evening also doubled as a release party for Donovan’s new greatest hits album and was webcast live.
Indian-born spiritual adviser and author Deepak Chopra introduced Donovan by reminiscing about the first time they met during their famous trip the singer/songwriter took to India in 1968 with The Beatles, The Beach Boys’ Mike Love and others to meet Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Sitting with his legs crossed on a sofa, Donovan then offered a 30-minute solo acoustic set peppered with hits like “Yellow Mellow” and “There is a Mountain.” He also gave his wife credit for choosing the concert’s location.
After Donovan finished playing, Chopra spoke for a few minutes before welcoming him back to the stage for the Q-and-A portion of the event. He talked of “qualia,”which are qualities of being. “We are not in the world, the word is in us,” he said, stressing that we create everything in our mind. He asked everyone in the room to be silent, then said, “Listen to who’s listening and what you hear is your soul — and that is your ticket to freedom.” He mentioned meditation and his time spent with the guru Maharishi in India in the 1960s, who also met with The Beatles, Donovan and the Grateful Dead at various times. “The music is the message,” said Donovan. “When you are at peace, people around you feel at peace,” Chopra added. He also mentioned his friends The Beach Boys who are still meditating and teaching others.
Chopra asked Donovan about his collaborative work with Paul McCartney and The Beatles on “Yellow Submarine.” Then Donovan played several lines of the title track from that album. He discussed how he was with McCartney as he developed some of the lyrics for that song. “Eleanor Rigby” was originally called “Ola Na Tungee” and about a male character in a book he was reading. Donovan recommended he changed this. He played other parts of songs from the album as the audience sang along. “We were isolated and Yellow Submarine was the life we were living and the only place we could come together,” Donovan said. McCartney needed help finishing the song and Donovan helped him write the lyrics “Sky of blue and sea of green in a yellow submarine.” He talked about more of his experiences with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and said, “We were targeted for freedom of expression. There was great resistance,” he said. “And now these ideas are finally being accepted and applied because they work.” He also noted that Maharishi referred to the Grateful Dead as “saints.”
Watch the concert and the interview HERE!
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