Hear David Gilmour play guest lead guitar on Donovan's new single, Rock Me

David Gilmour (left) and Donovan perform onstage
(Image credit: Gus Stewart, Stefan Hoederath/Getty Images)

Singer/songwriter Donovan recently recruited Pink Floyd electric guitar titan David Gilmour to appear on his forthcoming album, Gaelia.

Gilmour lends his talents to two of the album's songs in total, Lover O’ Lover and the newly-released single Rock Me, which you can hear below.

The song contains all the elements that made both musicians involved become legends – Donovan's memorable melodies and rich acoustic guitar playing, and Gilmour's immaculate phrasing and impeccable touch. 

Even if we hadn't told you who it was playing lead guitar on Rock Me, as soon Gilmour enters the picture at around the two-and-a-half minute mark, it's impossible to mistake that tone for anyone else.

“I met up with David at Lord Michael and Lady Marina Cowdray’s country estate,” Donovan told Variety (opens in new tab) of how the collaboration came to be. “These two dear, noble friends of Linda [Lawrence, Donovan's wife] and mine were holding amazing salons where the most futuristic creatives in music and awareness would gather. Soon Linda and I were headed with Michael and Marina and His Holiness the Tibetan Gyalwang Drukpa of Ladakh up into the Himalayas to found a school in Ladakh. But back to the salon.

“That night at Marina’s,” he continued, “David and I chatted about how he had bought my cottage in the ’60s when I married Linda and moved on. Why, I asked? He said my album track Three Kingfishers, off my Sunshine Superman album of 1966, had launched him in a celestial music direction, and so when I was selling my cottage, where so many of my songs were written, he wanted to be in my creative space. Makes sense in a Floyd sort of way.

“David had already learned to fly (he wrote a song about it, too) and flew himself in to Ireland for the session," Donovan added. "David brought his guitar roadie, who set up two amps in the studio, handed David his pink Strat, and his unique signature sound enthralled us all.” 

Gilmour is far from the first A-list rocker Donovan – most famous for '60s-era psychedelic folk classics like Hurdy Gurdy Man – has played with over the decades.

He jammed with (opens in new tab) George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon in India in 1968, and even taught Lennon the 'clawhammer' picking technique

The aforementioned Sunshine Superman album, meanwhile, featured a young session guitarist by the name of Jimmy Page, who so enjoyed working with Donovan on the album that he made an extremely rare onstage appearance with the singer/songwriter at a 2011 Royal Albert Hall performance of the album in its entirety. 

Donovan's Gaelia is set to arrive on digital and streaming platforms on December 2, with a physical release following on December 15.

To preorder the LP, visit Donovan's website (opens in new tab).

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.