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Donovan says wife Linda inspired his songs

by Ken Sweeney

source: Irish Independent

SHE'S the Sunshine Supergirl -- singer Donovan has revealed how his long-time wife Linda has been the inspiration for a string of his hits.

They met on the legendary '60s TV show 'Ready Steady Go' and he went on to write songs 'Sunshine Superman', 'Mellow Yellow' and 'Jennifer Juniper'.

Now, a whirlwind of travels later and in the week the folk-rock-pop troubadour was nominated as an inductee in the US Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame 2011, Donovan and his wife Linda Lawrence celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary today.

"Linda is the Sunshine Supergirl," he revealed to the Irish Independent. "She appears in many of my songs. The fact that we're still together after all these years is incredible because very few couples from the '60s survived fame with their relationships intact."

Donovan, who was born in Scotland but has lived in Cork with Linda since 1989, believes that the one split they did have -- shortly after meeting on 'Ready Steady Go' in 1965 -- provided him with a goldmine of material that fuelled his biggest pop hits.

He explained: "Linda had been dating Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and she didn't want to get involved with another rock star. She was 18 and too young for anything serious, but the love I had for her sent me into the pop charts.

"We met again in 1969 and married the following year. She has always been my inspiration."

Forty years later, Linda is still inspiring Donovan's work. She features as one of the models in his new 'Sapphographs' exhibition of fine-art prints, which opened at the Sol Art Gallery on Dawson Street, Dublin last night.

Inspired by Sappho, the seventh-century BC poet of ancient Greece, the works are photographs transformed by various techniques to resemble, in Donovan's words, "the vase paintings of old culture".

"Sappho was the Joni Mitchell of her day and her work still resonates centuries later," he said.

Donovan fans are set to flock a special show he is due to play at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, his fans around the world will be hoping the 'hurdy gurdy man' will make it to the Waldorf Astoria in New York next year to be inducted into the US Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame.

"I'm being considered along with 12 other artists, including Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi, the Beastie Boys and Doctor John," he said.

The Hall of Fame's members vote for a final five or six. It's incredible recognition as an artist and for my music, as inspired by my wonderful wife Linda."

One of the few artists to collaborate with the Beatles, Donovan contributed lyrics to 'Yellow Submarine', and the Scotsman's 'Sunshine Superman' album is believed to have been an influence on their 'Sergeant Pepper' album.

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