Donovan – Catch The Wind

I watched a Bob Dylan film in the 80s called Don’t Look Back and it covered his 1965 UK tour. In that documentary (which I highly recommend) Donovan comes into Bob’s hotel room and starts playing this folk song called “To Sing For You.” The small audience there is captivated. In the middle of the song, Dylan shouts, “Hey, that’s a good song, man!”

It surprised me because at that time I watched this…all I knew from Donovan were these psychedelic songs like Mellow Yellow and Hurdy Gurdy Man.  The melody to Catch The Wind borrows heavily from Bob Dylan’s “Chimes Of Freedom” but Bob didn’t say a word in the documentary.

Donovan and Dylan also made their UK chart debut in the same week, Donovan with Catch The Wind and Dylan with “The Times They Are A Changin’.” Donovan was often dubbed as Britain’s answer to Dylan…NEVER a good thing to be the “new” Dylan/Elvis/Beatles anywhere. There will be no doubt who influenced him though after a listen to the song. It’s a very accessible folk song.

He dated model Linda Lawrence, who was then the girlfriend of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones soon after writing this song. He bumped into her four years later and they married in 1970.

The song was added to his first album What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid released in 1965. This was released right after Donovan turned 19. The album peaked at #3 in the UK and #30 on the Billboard Album Charts. I could not find an entry in Canada.

The song peaked at #4 in the UK,#10 in Canada, and #23 on the Billboard 100 in 1965. It has been covered by hundreds of artists including Sammy Hagar, Bruce Springsteen’s first band The Castiles, The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, and Rickie Lee Jones.

Donovan: “‘Catch The Wind,’ I wrote it for Linda, although I hadn’t really met her yet. It is a song of unrequited love, yet I hadn’t really met her, so how could I miss her? And I seem to write prophetic songs in the sense of the Celtic poet and I wrote this song before I met Linda, of a love I would like to have had and lost.”

‘She was the first paparazzi-worthy girlfriend and was going out with the most charismatic rock star in Britain, Brian Jones. When I met her she’d just split from Brian, and she told me she wasn’t ready for another serious relationship. We had a passionate love affair, but parted in 1965 as she needed some time away from the limelight in which to grow up. She was only 16 when she and Brian had a child together, Julian, who later I’d raise as my own.

Catch The Wind

In the chilly hours and minutes
Of uncertainty, I want to be
In the warm hold of your love and mine

To feel you all around me
And to take your hand along the sand
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

When sundown pales the sky
I want to hide a while behind your smile
And everywhere I’d look your eyes I’d find

For me to love you now
Would be the sweetest thing ‘twould make me sing
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Di di di di, di di di di
Di di di di, di di di di
Di di di

When rain has hung the leaves with tears
I want you near to kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind

For standin’ in your heart
Is where I want to be and long to be
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

22 thoughts on “Donovan – Catch The Wind”

  1. Great old footage of the beat and the flower child. (In my mind, Dylan is a streetwise realist of the Beat Generation — black garb and smoky rooms — and Donovan the flower child par excellence — colorful bell-bottoms in Golden Gate Park. Much continuity from Beats to hippies, but some nice contrasts in the vision as well 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dylan made not much of an impact on me as a child, he wasnt on tv and his songs werent especially kiddie friendly. Donovan though was on TV and radio a lot and I loved his songs. Catch The Wind is his best though, possibly bar Sunshine Superman.

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  3. I recall from an article or book from a long time ago that Mellow Yellow and Hurdy Gurdy Man came from a period when Donovan and Paul McCartney hung together. Paul even sings backup on one of the songs (if not both). I think it would have been so cool to be in that circle back then. A lot of great music came from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were close and Donovan was a guest on Yellow Submarine and helped with it I believe. He also taught Lennon how to do a certain fingerstyle picking that John used in Dear Prudence. You are right…being in that circle would have been very cool.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Another one of ‘ours’ – born into the Maryhill area of Glasgow and only a few miles from where I grew up. (And coincidentally was yesterday to watch my football team. 😉 )

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Catch the wind, see us spin, sail away” is in ‘What is and What Should Never Be’ by Led Zeppelin. I just watched A Night in Miami and Malcom X told Sam Cooke that he should write a song like ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve often read Donovan was dubbed ‘the new Dylan’ or the ‘British Dylan’ but you wouldn’t know it from his couple of big radio hits, but seems like there’s quite a bit more depth to him than we might think.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like “Catch the Wind” and until I read your post never noticed the similarity to “Chimes of Freedom” – the tunes certainly do sound similar. Donovan receiving praise from Bob Dylan must have been something. I wonder whether Bob thought, ‘gee, I could have written that song!’ 🙂

    That Dylan documentary looks pretty cool, btw!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have watched that documentary around 6-7 times…it’s Bob playing good music but without the band….and him being quite cynical. The following year is when he played with The Band…or rather The Hawks at the time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s an aquired taste I guess….when I hear something I want to know what went on behind the scenes for some reason…just my trivial loving brain….I am packed with all kinds of useless info!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s always good to stay open-minded, Max! That’s part of my motivation why I’m doing my weekly new music revue.

        Of course, I can’t deny my strong preference for the ’60s and ’70s and that they form the lens through which I largely look at new music. I think sometimes I’m still a bit too timid and should be more willing to let go of my “old frame of reference”.

        That’s why I’m grateful to fellow bloggers like Jeff from Electric Music Lover and you for introducing me to music I probably would have ignored otherwise!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And I’m grateful for you, Graham, and Jeff for introducing me to new music.
        As far as reading about acts…I would rather stay with the older acts…I mean lets face it…there were no rules in the 60s-80s for good or bad.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I wrote about this song from the awesome Wonder Years episode. This song is what got me accidentally finding Dylan because I searched Wind in record stores and found Blowing in the Wind. It took me years to find the original of Donovan (and there are many shitty versions of this song). Luckily, I had taped the end of the Wonder Years episode on cassette, so I knew what I needed. Great article always.


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