Book Review: Dana Gillespie – Weren’t Born A Man

The award winning “First Lady of The Blues” chornicles her life from the London music scene of the 60s and 70s to the modern day through an astonishing 70 album career.

Dana writes of her life in a way that epitomises “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll” or blues in her case. She has had an extraordinary life that began almost before she was born. Her family was “blended” even before it’s time. The world has changed for the better in the way female musicians were described in the 1960’s and ‘70’s. The press concentrated on the physical rather than the music.

Dana describes her life, and those she met in a racy style. There are not many secrets left about those famous names she found herself “horizontal” with. As expected, she shares much of her friendships with the Bowies, Marc Bolan, and Mick Jagger. Her friendship with Angie Bowie continues to this day. The volume contains some interesting photographs to back up these stories. I enjoyed reading the descriptions of the auditions and preparation for Jesus Christ, Superstar I did go back and listen to some of the music of the time as I read the book.

As a whole the book paints a picture of the musical ‘60’s and ‘70’s not available to most music fans of the time. A way of life that might only be dreamt of. The last third of the book brings us up to date with how Dana has spent her life. She has a deep spiritual experience that has continued after she met Sai Baba in India. It would seem that this experience was life-changing and fundamental to her. I found this section of the book less accessible. Dana is still producing music today.  She sees it as her life’s work.

Dana Gillespie: Weren’t Born a Man is due for release on 18th January 2021 via Hawksmoor Books – you can pre-order it here.

Review by Carolyn Batcheler

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