It was fifty years ago that Maryhill born folk singer Donovan burst into the scene with his debut record What's Bin Did, And What's Bin Hid, closely followed by Fairytale five months later; creating an impressive 34 songs in 1965.

With his floppy hair and acoustic guitar, the man was dogged by comparisons with New York heavyweight Bob Dylan throughout his career. In the famous scene from D.E Pennybaker's documentary of Bob Dylan's U.S tour, showing an awkward backstage jamming session between the two singers, The Tambourine Man hitmaker outshone Donovan's To Sing For You with a bold rendition of It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.

Even as Donovan progressed from guitar-driven folk towards experimental psychedelic pop, laden with eclectic surreal imagery of seagulls and fairgrounds, he would always - somewhat unfairly - be labelled a Dylan pretender in the press.

Regardless, the singer has carved a career spanning six decades which is still going strong; his 31st album Retrospective is to be released in June, with a rumoured world tour planned at the end of 2016. His soft, slightly twee style may have lacked Dylan's gritty, New York edge in his earlier days, but the melding jazz, electric and Eastern influences in his subsequent records gave birth to the iconic new wave of psychedelic rock that propelled him to greatness in the United States - and many of his hits have left a lasting impact in film and popular culture. Here are eight movies that have featured Donovan songs in their soundtracks.

To Die For

Psychedelic anthem Season of the Witch appears in the end credits of the 1995 crime comedy mockumentary To Die For, which stars Nicole Kidman as femme fatale Suzanne, a ruthlessly ambitious weather reporter on a local news station in New Hampshire who has dreams of becoming a news anchor. She plots with her besotted teenage lover to kill her husband Larry - who wants her to abandon her career so they can have a family. In the same satirical vein that runs through the movie, the song title alone suits Kidman's anti-heroine to a T.


From Canadian animators Laika, the creators of Coraline, 2012 animated feature film Paranorman tells the story of a boy who takes on ghosts and zombies to save his town from an ancient curse. It uses Season of the Witch in the trailer, befitting of a cartoon thriller which wants to come across slightly sleeker and more offbeat than its rival Disney. The haunting, eerie guitar was played by Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, who was a successful session guitarist in London before he formed the band in 1968.

If it's Tuesday, it Must Be Belgium

This romantic comedy follows womanising English tour guide Charlie Cartwright as he takes a motley crew of Americans on an eighteen day bus tour across nine countries - a journey filled with adventures and mishaps. Though he intends to use the trip to meet his various casual girlfriends, he falls for one of his passengers, Samantha Perkins, who is taking a holiday to contemplates her marriage to her fiance. Donovan makes a guest appearance at the youth hostel, playing Lord of the Reedy River accompanied by his acoustic guitar. He also wrote the title song for the film, which was performed by J.P Rags.


David Fincher repurposed the happy-go-lucky song Hurdy Gurdy Man for his 2007 psychological thriller Zodiac - which was based on the true story of a mysterious serial killer in California in the Seventies. The song, originally written about a cheery "roly poly man" who played love songs using an old-fashioned instrument, now has a creeping ambivalence with its warbling, drowned out vocals coming to play. The killer was never identified despite that he wrote a series of taunting letters to the San Francisco press - and The Hurdy Gurdy Man takes on a darkly sinister, boogeyman form which begs the unanswered question: Who was Zodiac?

The Conjuring

Following closely in the footsteps of Zodiac, Saw director James Wan's supernatural thriller The Conjuring also used Donovan song Hurdy Gurdy Man in its soundtrack and cinematic trailer. Set in 1971, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family that live in a haunted house on Rhode Island - but soon realise that they are in over their heads with malevolent spirits. The children are tossed about the room by a poltergeist while Hurdy Gurdy Man plays in the background. It seems like an odd choice for a director that favours jump scares and screeching violins, but it is still in keeping with the film's era.

Brother Son Sister Moon

Donovan sang all the songs in the soundtrack for Brother Son, Sister Moon - the 1972 biopic of Saint Francis of Assissi. Composer Riz Ortalani wanted to create a romantic 'Flower Power' vibe to complement Franco Zeffirelli's vibrant, colourful cinematography which embodied the counter-cultural hippy movement of the late Sixties and Seventies. Donovan re-recorded the soundtrack in 2004 after it was put out of production, and it was relaunched exclusively on the iTunes store.

Poor Cow

Donovan was asked to compose Poor Cow, Ken Loach's first feature film about a young woman, Joy, who makes a series of bad life choices while living in London during the Sixties. She elopes to marry her childhood sweetheart Jonny, who turns out to be abusive and falls into a life of crime. While he serves time in prison for robbery, she falls in love with his accomplice, who is also convicted later in the film. Donovan chose to feature Colours, Jennifer Juniper and Be Not Too Hard in the film - as well as writing title track Poor Cow for the opening credits.


Critically acclaimed Italian gangster film Goodfellas used the song Atlantis in a violent scene when mobster Billy Batts was beaten to death by Tommy Devito and Jimmy Conway, played by Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro. Scorsese is renowned for his black humour in much of his work; in this case, he pioneered the use of popular songs that were popular in the film's era, which juxtapose with the events in the scene. Working with long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker, they painstakingly selected every song so that each section of the track comes in at a pivotal moment - often creating a jarring, conflicted mood. Given that Atlantis was about the mythical utopian island with a highly intelligent, advanced civilisation that eventually sunk to the bottom of the ocean, hearing the lighthearted chorus "Way down below the ocean / Where I wanna be / She may be" while watching Billy Batts come to a depraved, horrific end helped cement Goodfellas' status as a masterpiece.