George Harrison was mentored by Donovan after 'years in the shadow' of John Lennon and Paul McCartney

George Harrison was mentored by Donovan credit:Bang Showbiz
George Harrison was mentored by Donovan credit:Bang Showbiz

Donovan was the late Beatle George Harrison's songwriting mentor.

The Scottish musician - whose real name is Donovan Phillips Leitch - used to hang out with The Beatles and pulled guitarist George to one side to teach him "a few tricks" so he could pen his own tunes after being "in the shadow" of John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney.

Speaking to Record Collector magazine, he said: "I became George's mentor for songwriting. He was in the shadow of John and Paul for so many years and I said, "Look, I'll show you a few tricks, how to encourage the songs." There's a way to encourage the song to come.

You can tease it, like fishing. I told him how to play a chord then put your ear on the guitar, listen to the open chord and try a tempo.

You can hear melodies, believe it or not.

Melodies appear, but you've got to be quick to catch them."

The 'Sunshine Superman' hitmaker - who was a prominent figure of the Flower Power era - also recalled how "dangerous" it was playing shows with little security to stop fans ramming toward him or The Fab Four.

Sharing the difficult sides to fame, he said: "Running down the street like The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night was part of it, too. And there was nil security, even for The Beatles. It was horrible. During the big shows in America, the DJs would come on halfway through - in puce lemon green and bright red costumes - and ask if people were enjoying themselves. Then as soon as the last song was over, they'd turn the lights on, say goodnight, and get in their cars. And what would happen? The whole audience would swarm towards the stage. That became a big problem.

"So, did I enjoy fame? It was dangerous at times, but at least I was solo. It was harder for four or five guys to get into a van than it was for me. But the whole point was that it was working: the music was getting out there. And nobody could say a blind bit against us, because it was successful. So, whatever we wanted to do was OK. As long as there was a hit single sneaking around, then the game was on."