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Donovan dismisses Dylan rivalry

When most people say they're "all over The White Album" it's likely they're listened to it a trillion times.

But when legendary folk-pop singer Donovan says it, he means his influence is all over it.

When asked what it meant to influence The Beatles Donovan says, "I was pleased at the time in India to see that my chums John, Paul and George really wanted to learn the finger styles and the chord structures that I played.

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"Later I realised it was like when I first learned new and exciting styles and chord patterns.

"The three guys would begin to create a new and very different song craft. George, in The Beatles Anthology Video, said 'Donovan is all over The White Album'.

"And yes, many new Beatles songs would have my picking and chord patterns, Dear Prudence and Blackbird (the finger styles) and While My Guitar Gently Weeps (chord patterns).

"It was my pleasure to share all this, we were like students again, far from our extraordinary and overpowering fame, we were free from it all, meditating and eating health food, playing our music beneath the incredible starry heavens, brilliant peacocks calling to each in the velvet jungle night."

At the height of his fame Donovan was making headlines as a rival to his American counter-part Bob Dylan.

"In those days media pitted The Beatles against The Stones, Donovan against Bob Dylan, we artists never felt this," Donovan says. "There was no rivalry."

This year Donovan is set to be inducted into the rock'n'roll hall of fame, which he says is an honour.

"The highest award really," he says. "Coming from ones peers and fellow producers and writers."

Donovan is best known for his '60s hits Mellow Yellow, Sunshine Superman and Hurdy Gurdy Man which he says he will play as close to the original arrangements as possible.

"I prefer the arrangements to be as the recording," he says. "I can sit then, inside the song."

Rather than reminisce of the times those songs originated Donovan finds himself as part of the audience when he sings.

"I don't return to the times," he says. "As I sing the song and the band play the familiar riffs and parts, I listen to the song as I sing it, I become an audience too and I also become receptive to the audience feeling the song. All this at once happens."

In 2010 Donovan released Ritual Groove, a reflection of his Sunshine Superman release (1966), which he says has come full circle from the bohemian ideals of the original.

When he plays Bluesfest Donovan says to expect all the well known works, the cult and a couple of new; some acoustic and some with his band.

Donovan plays Bluesfest on Saturday, April 7.