Catch The Wind – I Wrote That

Donovan on unrequited love.

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  • By Paul Nichols
  • 27 Feb 2012
  • min read
‘A lot of singer-songwriters write songs about girls’, suggests Donovan, ‘although perhaps unusually, I wrote this one before I’d even met the girl it’s about.


‘When I wrote it I found myself singing about this Bohemian ideal of a girl. I didn’t know anyone like that, certainly no-one I felt strongly enough to sing about. But then I met Linda, and it became clear that the song was about her.’

Linda Lawrence was just 16 when she was thrust into a mad world of fame. ‘She was the first paparazzi-worthy girlfriend,’ recalls Donovan, ‘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.

‘So, Catch The Wind, about the longing of unrequited love, was all about Linda, written before I’d even met her, let alone parted from her, albeit, only for a period of a time.’ (Donovan and Linda were married after that short parting and remain so to this day.)

Catch The Wind was Donovan’s first single, but he had actually found fame before he released it; in fact before he released any material at all. ‘I performed on Ready, Steady Go! for three weeks in a row before I had anything out,’ he recalls. ‘When the show let me go, the postbag was so full of complaints they had to have me back. My manager decided we had to release a song.’

Donovan was under pressure to do what a lot of UK artists did at the time; release a cover of a US hit. We’ll Sing In The Sunshine was earmarked for him, but Donovan had written Catch The Wind and believed it to be special. ‘My dad was a poet, so I grew up around poetry. There’s something of the magic of poetry in the story of Catch The Wind,’ he says.

Donovan insisted on putting out Catch The Wind, and he was right: it went to number three in the UK. ‘That’d be my most important piece of advice for any aspiring songwriters,’ he concludes, ‘never do what you’re told; always go with your instincts and do what feels right for you.’

Catch The Wind (1965) written and performed by Donovan Leitch, published by Donovan (Music) Ltd