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Dana Gillespie

New Studio Album

"First Love"

Out Today

Photo by Christina Jansen

 

Legendary singer-songwriter Dana Gillespie, with over 70 albums to her credit in a career spanning six decades, adds a new chapter with the release of her stunning new album First Loveout today through Fretsore Records. The album is available on CD, standard black and limited edition translucent red vinyl. For retailers & more click HERE.


While First Love is a deeply personal album, it marks a shift for Dana who teams up with close friends Marc Almond and Tris Penna who co-produced the album. Together, they have put together an inspired collection of songs, each related, in some way, to Dana’s extensive career and authentically interpreted by this master of her art.


The first single releasedfrom the album was Morrissey’s Spent The Day In Bed. “We’d never met,” says Dana, “but he sent this amazing email saying ‘Your version is far better than mine!' The 7” single was released as limited editions in orange vinyl and black vinyl and sold out as it entered the Official Vinyl Singles Chart at Number 3 and the Official Physical Singles Chart at Number 6. Remarkably, Spent The Day In Bed also gave Dana, who released her first single at age 16, her very first UK Singles Chart entry, at Number 74, at the age of 75!  Dana recently met Morrissey in London and they got on famously.


Watch the video for Spent The Day In Bed below:



It’s very unusual for me to do an album on which I haven’t written all the songs” says Dana, “and it’s the first time in years and years that I’ve let someone else produce the album for me. Normally I do everything but, in some ways, it’s a bit of a relief and a joy to give it over to Tris and Marc, who’s are old hands at this.”


“I have some reason for having every song on this album,” Dana explains, “they’re not just thrown in there, randomly.First Love opens with Dana’s version of Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams. “I heard this on the radio and I thought the lyrics were particularly poignant.”


Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love was Marc’s suggestion and we do it as a duet.


I’ve never sung a Dylan song before but I’ve always loved Not Dark Yet. It was a joy to sing because it’s not like his version – there’s a darkness to it. Marc wrote Brewer Street Blues and I know Brewer Street well. This song captures the area where I used to hang out, so I could relate to it. Gods And Monsters (Lana Del Rey) is so quirky, I can smell California when I hear this song because it absolutely paints a picture of an era for me.”


I had a boyfriend who played the frantic lead guitar on (Python Lee Jackon’s) In a Broken Dream and I kept hearing this song. Then, of course, Rod Stewart sang it and suddenly it became a bit of a hit in ’72. I sent my version to (the writer) Dave Bentley, in Australia, and he sent an absolutely glowing ‘Thank you’ and ‘It’s my favourite version of them all!’ email back to me which is nice.


I heard Bowie’s early demo of Can You Hear Me and we stuck to this version as it’s so simple. Tris suggested it would be nice to include one of Bowie’s songs because Bowie played such a big role in my life, in the 60s and 70s.


Quite often his songs are not, really, emotional. He’s very good at writing the abstract. This seems to be more heartfelt so I’m not sure who he was writing it for - it wasn’t me, I know that! He wrote the song ‘Andy Warhol’ for me and that is about as abstract as you can get,” she laughs. “I was singing on the album ‘Ziggy Stardust’ and I was privileged - it was an honour - to be part of this extraordinary scene with this extraordinary artist.


I wrote the lyrics for First Love, Last Love. I like to write about emotions and heart issues. Being older, I can look back at my first love, my last love and all the ones in between, but the first and the last are the most important of all.


Stevie Nicks’ song Dreams was recorded literally at the end of the sessions; we had about half an hour left so we thought ‘Why not try it?’ It’s really down to the barest bones, just the piano and the voice.”

Dana’s sublime bluesy vocals are backed by a classy musical line-up of Dom Stockbridge (guitars). Harry Whitty (bass guitar, trombone and trumpet), musical director Matt Gest (piano and keyboards) and drummer Evan Jenkins. “The voice is very much the dominant thing on this album but it sounds good because it’s complimented by such wonderful musicians,” Dana enthuses. “All the musicians are actually guys that play in my Blues band and I know that they’re so good they would be able to do something really interesting.

 

Dana Gillespie - First Love is out now on Fretsore Records.

 

First Love – Track Listing

1. Boulevard of Broken Dreams(Billie Joe Armstrong/Tré Cool/Mike Dirnt)

2. Spent The Day In Bed (Gustavo Manzur/Morrissey)

3. Dance Me To The End of Love – featuring Marc Almond (Leonard Cohen)

4. Not Dark Yet (Bob Dylan)

5. Brewer Street Blues (Marc Almond/Neal Whitmore)

6. Gods And Monsters (Elizabeth Grant/Tim Larcombe)

7. In A Broken Dream (David Bentley)

8. Can You Hear Me? (David Bowie)

9. Simple As This (Jake Bugg)

 

10. First Love, Last Love (Dana Gillespie, Nick Hogarth, Leslie Davidson)

11. Dreams (Stevie Nicks)

Produced By Marc Almond And Tris Penna


Photo by Gered Mankowitz

 

About Dana Gillespie

Dana Gillespie, a quintessential artist with an adventurous and creative spirit, has lived a life full of musical and theatrical exploits. Born in 1949 and raised in London in an era of unrivalled experimentation and artistic rebellion, Dana began her recording career at 15 with Pye Records.

 

By 1968, she was signed to Decca/London releasing two albums including Box Of Surprises, showcasing her songwriting prowess, with a steadfast trajectory further solidified by her 1973 release Weren’t Born A Man which included David Bowie as part of the production team, having written the song Andy Warhol especially for Dana.


Her journey in entertainment is marked by significant milestones, including being the first actress to play Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, and she worked and collaborated with icons such as Bob Dylan and Elton John. Despite challenges, including the implosion of management companyMainMan, Dana's ability to pivot was an enigma of that time, showing a resilience that led her to a successful acting career that ran through the 60s, 70s and early 80s, featuring in various notable films.


Dana’s revered status in the industry is especially of note considering the context of her early career and no female artist was writing all their own material at that time except for Dana. In 1982 she released Blue Job, reaching a new career milestone by venturing into the Blues world and she founded and ran the Mustique Blues Festival for 20 years. Dana had her own radio show that ran for 11 years across Europe called Globetrotting With Gillespie. 


Dana also has a spiritual side, recording 10 Sanskrit bhajan CDs since becoming a follower of Sri Sathya Sai Baba (all the while adding devotional music to her extensive discography).


An esteemed performer of music, stage and screen, Dana Gillespie's illustrious career as a gifted entertainer is detailed in her 2021 memoirs called Weren’t Born A Man, epitomising the adventurous spirit of a true artist. In 2023, she made her debut at the SXSW Music and Film Festival, a significant addition to her already impressive portfolio.


On her latest studio project First Love, Dana takes on the unlikely reimagining of certified and newly established classics with her unique and contemporary style. Exuding the confidence and conviction of the master of her craft, First Love re-asserts Dana’s place in Art-Pop history. 


With a career spanning 6 decades Dana remains a significant figure in the music industry, enchanting audiences with her unique blend of Blues, pop, and spiritual music.

 

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