I used to overlook Donovan in the most selfish of ways. That, was then. Now, he’s considered a sun-soaked God. It’s a Greatest Hits kind of overcast and gloomy morning, kids. Pop on some Donovan and wallow in your own self-pity.
If it’s uncouth to double up on back-to-back days worth of Dillinger Escape Patton (even though it’s still spinning, much to the chagrin of my patient and tolerating significant other), then let’s gaze upon the mystic wonders of this beautiful promotional sleevsert (sleeve + insert) touting the many achievements of Mr. Donovan Philips Leitch.
Mellow Yellow, the 1967 album by the Glasgow born, Scottish revolutionary, Donovan Phillips Leitch (as apposed to Mello Yello, the refreshing citrus beverage enjoyed during the bike riding summers of yesteryear), carries with it an aura, a golden, warming glow of sandal-wearing, ankle-wading, mind-clearing, beach-yearning temperaments of folky goodness, perfect for soaking in the warm, skin-kissing rays from that mass of incandescent gas we call the sun.
Certain times throughout the annual revolution of our inhabitable rock, the specific craving for particular sounds eclipses that of everyday listening pleasure. In December, it’s the Monks, in May it’s Vacuum Scam, and for whatever unknown (however wholeheartedly welcomed) reason, March is the perfect time for Donovan.
Arguably the best 30 track compilation featuring the monstrously influential British Invasion ever to be pressed to wax, this 1981 collaboration between Warner Special Products and Lake Shore Music marries the pinnacle of head-spinning talent that the Queen of England’s own had to offer… up to and including the 1961 single, My Bonnie, featuring Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers. The Beat Brothers, as you know, would eventually change their name to The Beatles… the band name this track is credited to on this compilation.
I’m not going to bore you with the A-1 list of exceptional talent highlighted here (The Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Unit 4+2, Donovan, Manfred Mann, The Zombies, Them, Chad & Jeremy, The Beatles, The Spencer Davis Group…), but I will (briefly) mention that someone off Discogs offered to buy my copy of British Sterling, which I appropriately, and respectfully declined. One of these days I’m going to gather enough motivation to digitize this double LP, but until that (dreadfully long and labor intensive) day, two flips for 30 tracks suits me just fine.
Although I don’t consider A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum a pivotal part of the British Invasion, there is something striking about the 1-2 punch of Procol’s Shade followed by Tell Her No by The Zombies. Somebody knew what the hell he or she was doing when they made this compilation. To whomever that is… (raises Sun Records coffee mug) I salute you!
So, Donovan… Hurdy Gurdy Man, Sunshine Superman, Season of the Witch, Mellow Yellow, etc. THAT Donovan… You know the one… anyway so Donovan had a kid, right? Well, he had four kids, but one, KEY kid with American girlfriend, Enid Stulberger who they named Ione Skye Leitch, later to become known across American film screens as Ione Skye (remember Say Anything… ?). Ok, so, Ione Skye is Donovan’s daughter, with me so far? So, little Ione grew up, as kids do, and she became involved with Red Hot Chili Peppers’ front man, Anthony Kiedis shortly before… wait for it, marrying Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) of Beastie Boys fame. Ok, that makes sense. Beautiful jet-setting daughter of legendary songwriter gets involved with late 80’s bad boys… understandable… moving on. In 1992 (think Check Your Head) Ione marries Ad-Rock. That same year the Beastie Boys launch their own record label, Grand Royal Records. Pay attention because this is going to get crazy. In 1994 Grand Royal signed Ben Lee (of Noise Addict notoriety). Ben had four releases on Grand Royal, Noise Addict with three.
(Recap: Ione = Donovan’s daughter and Ad-Rock’s wife. Ben Lee = signed to Beastie Boys’ label, Grand Royal.)
Cut to 2008… Grand Royal is defunct (seemingly bankrupt), Ione Skye and Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock, KEEP UP!) are divorced and Ben Lee is set to wed Ione Skye… LESS THAN A YEAR LATER THEY HAVE A CHILD!
(Updated recap: Donovan + chick = Ione Skye. Ione Skye + Adam Horovitz marry. Adam Horovitz + Beastie Boys create Grand Royal Records. Grand Royal Records sign Ben Lee. Ione Skye + Adam Horovitz split. Ione Skye + Ben Lee marry, have child.)
This little bit of useless knowledge may be worthless to the layperson (eff them), but I swear, I about lost my $hit when I found this out. I can see Grand Royal reunions being a bit awkward these days, if in fact there ARE Grand Royal reunions. I imagine it to be one of those, “if a tree falls in the woods” type of things. If an Adam and an Ione and a Ben are in the same room together, do they talk to each other?
This post has caused the elevator in my brain hotel to break down. It’s just as well.