Donovan to Be Honored With John Lennon Real Love Award at Tribute Concert

Steve Marinucci / September 8, 2016

Donovan performs at Schwuz on July 20, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Stefan Hoederath/Redferns

Folk-rock legend Donovan will become the third recipient of the John Lennon Real Love Award at the 36th annual John Lennon Tribute Concert to be held on Dec. 2 at Symphony Space in New York City, the event's non-profit sponsor Theatre Within announced. Tickets go on sale at 1 p.m. ET Sept. 23 on theevent's website. Donovan, who accompanied the Beatles on a trip to India in 1968 and composed songs there, will perform a set of Beatles songs and his own at the concert and dedicate them to Lennon.

“Donovan’s body of work speaks for itself. It’s seminal and beloved by fans and fellow artists,” Joe Raiola, executive producer and artistic director of Theatre Within’s Annual John Lennon Tribute, told Billboard. “He was also with the Beatles during a pivotal time — not just for the group but for Western culture. The Beatles helped bring yoga and meditation to America and Donovan was part of that. Ever since, he has been a vocal advocate of seeking peace within and for years has championed the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes Transcendental Meditation around the world. These are true Lennon values, so it is Theatre Within’s privilege to honor Donovan with this award in John Lennon’s name.” Raiola, senior editor at MAD Magazine, was co-creator of the tribute with Alec Rubin in 1981.

“Donovan is a beautiful soul who was positively influenced by John," Yoko Ono said in a statement. "I think it is lovely that Theatre Within is honoring him with the 'John Lennon Real Love Award' and that the Tribute continues to flourish." The Lennon tribute concert, produced with Music Without Borders, is the only Lennon tribute in North America or Europe fully sanctioned by Ono. More performers will be announced for the concert at a future date.

"I am delighted to be honored with this year's John Lennon Real Love Award,"Donovan said in a statement. "And I am amazed to say that John has written a song through me which I will sing at the Tribute with special guests. Please support Theatre Within and remember,  peace begins within."

Theatre Within said it will also hold a free “Meditation for World Peace” event at the Insight Meditation Center in New York City on Oct 9, which would have been Lennon's 76th birthday. It will include demonstrations of “loving-kindness meditation,” a period of silence and songs made famous by John Lennon.

“The idea behind the John Lennon Real Love Award is to recognize artists for both their body of work and positive social impact,” Raiola said. “That’s what we loved so much about John — that he was a brilliant artist and passionate social activist.” The John Lennon Real Love Award previously honored photographer Bob Gruen in 2014 and playwright-activist Eve Ensler in 2015.