Sunshine Superman, the NFL, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and RRHF

by Chris Murray on October 14, 2013

I was watching the Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys game Sunday night and was pleased to hear NBC use Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman” as part of the broadcast in between the play action. It was just last Thursday that Donovan was nominated for induction in the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame for 2014 for his extraordinary songs such as “Sunshine Superman”.

Donovan came to Washington last month for some wonderful activities starting with a sold out concert at the Parilla Performing Art Center at Montgomery College. It was a remarkable concert. Donovan signed copies of his new CD Shadows of Blue after the show and the fans were delighted to meet him. Here is the set list from that show.

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photo 1Donovan greeting VIP fans in the ‘green room’ before his show at the Parilla Performing Arts Center. Copyright © Carlotta Hester. All Rights Reserved.

Donovan was invited to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for an interview and Q&A at the Black Box Theater next door to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive at Cuyahoga Community College. We flew to Cleveland the day after his show at the Parilla Performing Arts Center.

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The following morning we were taken to Cleveland’s 90.3 WCPN, the NPR affiliate where Donovan did an interview with the delightful Dee Perry about his life in music and poetry and his new CD Shadows of Blue. After the interview we took a brief tour of the current exhibition at the Rock Hall, Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction. Donovan was most interested in the exhibition material that related to Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones. After the tour, we took a look at the Govinda Gallery Legacy Brick outside the entrance of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

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The Sound of Applause, Cleveland’s 90.3 WCPN with host Dee Perry and Donovan Copyright © Dave DeOreo. All Rights Reserved.

brickhandThe Govinda Gallery Legacy Brick. Copyright © Andy Leach. All Rights Reserved.

That evening, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive to meet up with our friend and Library and Archive director Andy Leach. The interview at the Black Box Theater was conducted by Lauren Onkey, Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the Rock Hall. It was a sold out event and several people said it was the best program they had ever seen there. Donovan spoke about the bohemian roots of rock & roll with influences from the beat poets Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, among others, as well as the influence of Woody Guthrie. Donovan sang a few songs after the interview and the audience gave him a standing ovation at the end of the program.

meet&greet2One of the RRHF supporters at the meet & greet with Donovan before his event. Copyright © Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum/Janet Macoska. All Rights Reserved.
blackboxinterviewLauren Onkey interviewing Donovan at the Black Box Theater. Copyright © Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum/Janet Macoska. All Rights Reserved.
blackbox3Donovan performing at the Black Box Theater. Copyright © Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum/Janet Macoska. All Rights Reserved.
RRHFsigning2Donovan signing his new Shadows of Blue CD. Copyright © Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum/Janet Macoska. All Rights Reserved.
RRHFmeetChris Murray, Donovan, and RRHFM curatorial director Howard Kramer. Copyright © Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum/Janet Macoska. All Rights Reserved.

The next day we met up with Library and Archive director Andy Leach, who gave us a tour of the impressive facility there. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive is a truly remarkable resource. It is open to the public and is an excellent place to visit for fans of music as well as researchers, writers, and historians of music and culture.
L1330577 The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive.
donarchiveDonovan enjoying a copy of the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine at the RRHF Library and Archive. Donovan was the very first interview in Rolling Stone, Vol. 1 No. 1 November 9, 1967. Copyright © Andy Leach. All Rights Reserved.
9916907385_41a0a943a0_zRRHF Library and Archive director Andy Leach at the Donovan archive in Ireland. Copyright © Chris Murray. All Rights Reserved.

After returning to Washington, we had a wonderful lunch the next day with Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies director Greg Nagy and the scholars and staff at CHS. Toward the end of lunch Donovan sang for the assembled scholars his song “Be Mine” from his album Sutras, which was inspired by and gathered from fragments of Sappho’s poems. The CHS organized with Govinda Gallery the highly acclaimed Sapphofest in Athens and Nafplio in 2010, which featured an exhibition of Donovan’s Sapphographs at the Hellenic American Union in Athens, and a lively series of lectures and symposiums. Donovan’s Sapphographs are available through Govinda Gallery.

chs2Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington, D.C.

The next day Donovan did a number of interviews at SiriusXM radio for their shows The Bridge and The Village Folk Show. The broadcasts will be available for SiriusXM subscribers for two weeks starting Sunday, October 13. The Village program will also be rebroadcasted October 15 at 12 noon ET/9 AM PT, and October 17 at 8 AM ET, 5 AM PT.

That evening, September 13, was another amazing night of music with Junior Marvin performing at Hamilton Live. Junior was the guitarist for Bob Marley on stage and in the studio from the time of the Exodus album to Marley’s passing on. Junior is an extraordinary guitar player and his stories of his years with Bob Marley are a great oral history of those times with the legendary reggae artist.

I attended the show at Hamilton with Donovan and our friend Cerphe from Eco Planet Radio. Junior Marvin surprised everyone toward the end of his show with a lively reggae version of Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow”. After that song, Junior invited Donovan on stage to sing with him Bob Marley’s song “Stir it Up”. The crowd went crazy as Donovan joined Junior on stage. It was a great night for everyone.

hamiltonJunior Marvin and Donovan at Hamilton Live Copyright © Anna Jacoby. All Rights Reserved.

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