Donovan: “I Don’t Need Drugs for Strength”


DURING DONOVAN’S beautiful performance here, he said to ban the drugs. Many people twittered nervously in disbelief, but Donovan told them he really meant what he said. Now in a note to disc jockeys that goes with the DJ copies of his marvelous new single ‘Wear Your Love Like Heaven’, Donovan makes the same point. The message is so important and well-phrased that I want you to read it:

Hello, Please accept my humble song, ‘Wear Your Love Like Heaven’. It is what I call a directional poem, that is suggesting to Youth a direction for their new-found flower power and love. A direction of constructive thought on a foundation of strength.

I am now publicising the banning of all drugs so that the dawning generations may be allowed to blossom without the strain of the false-God Drug. Oh what a dawn youth is rising to. I do hope they all “wear their love like heaven.” I thank you deeply for past plays. Please relay my love to all the kids.

Thy humble minstrel,

Donovan, like the Beatles and many other artists, has left drugs behind, for he’s come to the realization that strength, truth and beauty lie within one’s own mind.

As you know, Ravi Shankar opposes the use of drugs. Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention on a TV show here last Sunday night said that he didn’t use drugs because he himself wanted to be responsible for what he did.

The French singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour said to me on Sunday, “I never take anything to build a false world for me. I don’t know LSD. I never took drugs. I don’t need it. I build up strength in my own mind.”

Detroit’s Brian Holland of Holland-Dozier-Holland told me he had no use for drugs. “I want to know what I’m doing, sober. That’s the way a person can have a hold on their own mind,” he said.

As I see it, drugs are a choice for a mature individual to make for himself. The government’s outdated drug laws are no answer to the problem. But what I do think is that too many young people use marijuana or LSD as a crutch to help them explore their psyches. Or else — even worse — as an escape route from the problems of our society.

I do not want to sound like a preacher. What I hope to do is point out the direction many of the artists you respect and admire are now taking.

A direction away from drugs. I hope this will serve as a light making you see that beauty and truth can be discovered within yourself and through the powers of your own mind without any outside stimulants.

Weigh carefully Donovan’s little message. Listen to his new single. The lyrics are all printed on the jacket to the record and as a note under the lyrics says, “No misinterpretations allowed.”

© Loraine AltermanDetroit Free Press, 17 November 1967

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