Donovan makes TV comeback and reveals how he gave John Lennon guitar lessons

19 December 2018, 10:04 | Updated: 15 January 2024, 10:51

Picture: ITV

'60s folk legend Donovan made a welcome return to TV this morning (December 19).

The singer-songwriter appeared on ITV's Lorraine, in which he spoke about working with The Beatles and his 50-year marriage to Linda Lawrence.

Speaking about his famous trip to India with The Beatles, Donovan said: “The whole press of the world followed us, they camped in the jungle and photographed us.

"One day when we were quietly sitting, John Lennon and I, he wanted to wash his hair, so he’s washing his hair in the jungle and then a photographer breaks in, right through the fence, and starts photographing John.

60’s Music Legend Donovan on His Spiritual Trip to India With The Beatles | Lorraine

"He starts racing him through the jungle and there are soap suds flying everywhere and John Lennon was chasing a reporter in the Indian jungle.”

He revealed how taught John Lennon to play a new technique on the guitar, saying: “We were sitting round and playing the guitar and he said, ‘How do you do that’? A guitar was never out of my hands…That picking. I said, ‘it will take time’...He was a good student.

"He learnt a guitar style and some chord shapes that I knew he wasn’t used to and then the songs started coming, 'Dear Prudence', 'Julia'...

Donovan (far right) with Lennon and McCartney in 1968
Donovan (far right) with Lennon and McCartney in 1968. Picture: Getty

McCartney wanted it too, but he was a leftie, so I couldn’t teach him. But he's so smart, Paul, he was just walking around whilst I was teaching John and he was listening and he wrote 'Blackbird'. And I was so pleased I could share that.”

On being married for more than 50 years, he said: “We met in ’65 and we didn’t marry straight away. I tend to think that saved our relationship.

"Why? Most relationships that got married very early and then had to go through that super fame, very few lasted the course. She’s a dear friend as well.”

The couple recently returned to India to discover more about meditation, and visit the ashram he visited all those years ago.

Donovan added: “It was a bit sad because it was ruined.” However, he added that the meditation technique he had been shown has spread across the world, and has since helped a lot of people.

Donovan is one of the UK's most successful folk singers of all time, and had worldwide hits with 'Mellow Yellow', 'Sunshine Superman' and 'Catch the Wind'.

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