Born: Mar 30, 1949 in Woking, Surrey, England
Genres: Pop/Rock, Blues
Styles: Folk-Blues, Blues-Rock, British Blues, British Folk-Rock, Regional Blues
Vocalist Dana Gillespie's first album was released when she was only 15. Over the next four decades, as a strong presence in the world of music, she was part of the recording of around 40 albums. In the beginning of her career in the '60s, she sang folk tunes. At some point in the '70s, she moved on to rock. By the '80s she turned her attention fully to something that was one of her first loves: the blues. In between all of that recording, Gillespie the actress stayed in the spotlight on the theater stage in shows like Jesus Christ Superstar, and in films like The Hound of the Baskervilles.
A young Dana Gillespie began performing folk music at festivals where she had large and diverse audiences to please. It gave her the perfect chance to polish her skills and learn to entertain, as well as to simply perform. During those first few years, Gillespie recorded a number of singles and two albums on the Decca and Pye labels. By 1973, she had moved on to the major label RCA and found herself working with David Bowie, who stood in as producer on a number of her recordings. The '70s saw her release such albums as Weren't Born a Man and Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle. When not performing behind the microphone, Gillespie was working behind the camera in films like Sink or Swim, Mahler, and the cult classic, The People That Time Forgot, which was a sequel to The Land That Time Forgot.
In the '80s, Gillespie maintained a hectic professional schedule, leading a double life, and maybe a triple one at times. She kept at her music, touring through the United States, Europe, and other countries. She also went back into the studio to complete several albums, including I'm a Woman, Blue Job, Move Your Body Close to Me, Below the Belt, Hot News, and Sweet Meat. She continued to show off her acting abilities, and her beauty, in movies like Parker, Scrubbers, Bad Timing, and Strapless. In between the rest, she fit in numerous television appearances.
No one could accuse Gillespie of slowing down in the '90s - not with the more than a dozen albums she released that decade. She entered the new millennium much the same way. By these later years, she had come full force into the blues, her voice reaching that edge, her life experiences varied enough to feel and understand the songs she both sings and writes. Some of the tunes fans will find on albums from this Gillespie period are "Who's Got the Blues to Blame," "Give Me Your Best Shot," "The Sky Will Still Be Blue," "Guardian Blue Angel," "You Make Me Feel So Good," "Who Blew the Blues Away," and "Turning Over a Blue Leaf." She has stayed a strong part of the music scene by organising The Mustique Blues Festival every year and through her radio show called "Globetrotting" With Gillespie, which airs on Blue Danube Radio in Vienna and focuses on African and Indian music with a bit of blues too. In 2003 Gillespie released a new record for Ace called Staying Power which celebrated her 40th year in the music industry and showed her to be as strong a vocalist as ever.
- Charlotte Dillon (All Music Guide)