Donovan will be named a BMI Icon at the U.S. performing right organization’s annual London Awards, slated for Tuesday, October 6 at London’s Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane. The invitation-only gala will recognize the U.K. and European songwriters and publishers of the past year’s most-played BMI songs on American radio and television. Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) is a United States-based performing right organization that collects and distributes monies for the public performance of music on outlets including radio, television, the Internet and the top-grossing tours in the U.S.
The Icon designation is given to BMI songwriters who have bestowed “a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” Donovan joins an elite list of past honorees that includes multi-genre nobility Bryan Ferry, Peter Gabriel, Ray Davies, Van Morrison, the Bee Gees, Isaac Hayes, Dolly Parton, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Hall & Oates, Paul Simon, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Steve Winwood and more.
Donovan is a master of poignant simplicity. Capable of evoking passionate idealism and freewheeling emotion in a single word or chord, he transformed popular music in the 1960s and went on to build a legendary career. Already a folk hero in the early 60s thanks to hits including “Catch the Wind” and “Colours,” Donovan proceeded to generate considerable radio success for the rest of the decade with 11 consecutive Top 40 hits, including “Mellow Yellow,” “Sunshine Superman,” “Wear Your Love Like Heaven,” “There Is a Mountain,” “Lalena,” “Epistle to Dippy,” “Atlantis,” “Hurdy Gurdy Man,” and “Jennifer Juniper,” all of which he wrote alone. While “Jennifer Juniper” has generated more than 1 million performances, “Mellow Yellow” has earned more than 2 million and ““Sunshine Superman” has garnered almost 3 million performances. His compositions have also resurfaced in hit films and television series including Goodfellas, Election, Dumb and Dumber, Rushmore, The Simpsons, Nip/Tuck, Ugly Betty, Clueless, Boys on the Side, Murphy Brown, My Name is Earl and Dancing with the Stars.
Donovan was profoundly influential on the Beatles, becoming one of an elite handful of artists who collaborated on songs with the band. In 1965, “Catch the Wind” earned an Ivor Novello Award for best contemporary folk song, marking the first time the honor was bestowed on an artist’s debut single. Donovan received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Hertfordshire in 2003, and in 2009, he became Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French Republic and garnered the American Visionary Art Museum Baltimore’s prestigious Grand Visionary Award.
A man not only of unfathomable talent but of rare conviction as well, he is a well-known proponent and student of Transcendental Meditation and leads the musical wing of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. In the past three years, Donovan has traveled with David Lynch throughout the United States, the UK, and Brazil, performing his hit songs and speaking on the benefits of meditation.
Hard at work on a new album entitled Ritual Groove, Donovan plans to tour continuously through 2010.
While BMI collects royalties for him in the United States, Donovan is a member of British performing right society PRS for Music.
Hosted by BMI President & CEO Del Bryant; BMI Senior Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Phil Graham; and Executive Director, Writer/Publisher Relations, Europe & Asia Brandon Bakshi, the BMI London Awards will also present the Robert S. Musel Award to the writer and publisher of the most performed song of the year. BMI will also bestow “Million-Air” certificates on writers and publishers whose songs have achieved more than three million U.S. radio and television performances — the equivalent of more than 17 years of continuous airplay.
Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) is an American performing right organization that represents more than 375,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 6.5 million works. BMI reported $901 million for its 2008 fiscal year in performing right collections. BMI has represented the most popular and beloved music from around the world for 70 years. The U.S. corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.
Contacts: USA – Hanna Pantle, BMI
UK – Kate Etteridge, LD Communications
Photo credit: Stuart Steele