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Dana Gillespie
Dana Gillespie
Dana Gillespie
Background information
Birth nameRichenda Antoinette de Winterstein Gillespie
Born (1949-03-30) 30 March 1949 (age 74)
Woking, Surrey, England
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • actress
Years active1965–present

Richenda Antoinette de Winterstein Gillespie[2] (born 30 March 1949),[1] known professionally as Dana Gillespie, is an English actress, singer and songwriter.[3] Originally performing and recording in her teens, over the years Gillespie has been involved in the recording of over 70 albums,[3] and appeared in stage productions, such as Jesus Christ Superstar, and several films. Her musical output has progressed from teen pop and folk in the early part of her career, to rock in the 1970s and, more latterly, the blues.[1]

Early life

Gillespie was born in Woking, Surrey, the second daughter of Anne Francis Roden (née Buxton; 1920–2007) and Hans Henry Winterstein Gillespie (1910–1994), a London-based radiologist of Austrian nobility. Her older sister, Nicola Henrietta St. John Gillespie, was born in 1946. Dana Gillespie was the British Junior Water Skiing Champion in 1962.[4]


Gillespie recorded initially in the folk genre in the mid-1960s. Some of her recordings as a teenager fell into the teen pop category, such as her 1965 single "Thank You Boy", written by John Carter and Ken Lewis and produced by Jimmy Page.[5] Page also played, uncredited, on Gillespie's debut LP, Foolish Seasons.[6] Her acting career got under way shortly afterwards, and it overshadowed her musical career in the late 1960s and 1970s.

The song "Andy Warhol" was originally written by David Bowie for Gillespie, who recorded it in 1971, but her version of the song was not released until 1973 on her album Weren't Born a Man. Her version also featured Mick Ronson on guitar. After performing backing vocals on the track "It Ain't Easy" from Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,[7] she recorded an album produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson in 1973, Weren't Born a Man.[1] Subsequent recordings have been in the blues genre, appearing with the London Blues Band. She is also notable for being the original Mary Magdalene in the first London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar,[1] which opened at the Palace Theatre in 1972. She also appeared on the Original London Cast album. During the 1980s, Gillespie was a member of the Austrian Mojo Blues Band.

Left to right: Dana Gillespie, Tony Defries and David Bowie at Andy Warhol's Pork at London's Roundhouse in 1971.

She is a follower of the late Indian spiritual guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba.[8] She performed at his Indian ashram on various occasions and has also recorded thirteen bhajan-based albums in Sanskrit.[9]

Gillespie is the organiser of the annual blues festival at Basil's Bar on Mustique in the Caribbean, for 15 days at the end of January and it is now in its 18th year.[1] The house band is the London Blues Band, which consists of Dino Baptiste (piano), Jake Zaitz (guitar), Mike Paice (saxophone), Jeff Walker (bass), and Evan Jenkins (drums) but there are also many other acts. In 2005, Mick Jagger appeared as a guest and sang songs such as: "Honky Tonk Women", "Dust My Broom" and "Goin' Down"; but also many other blues artists have appeared there through the years, such as Big Joe Louis, Joe Louis Walker, Billy Branch, Ronnie Wood and Donald Fagen.[citation needed]

From March 2021 on, she had a successful interview and music podcast series, Globetrotting with Gillespie, from TAM TV (Temple of Art & Music) in London.[citation needed]

In 2024, Gillespie was one of four artists competing in a special selection for the final of Una voce per San Marino 2024, the Sammarinese national final for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, with the song "The Last Polar Bear".[10]

Selected discography


Dana Gillespie and the London Blues Band, at the 2006 Trowbridge Village Pump Festival

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Dillon, Charlotte (30 March 1949). "Dana Gillespie – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Dana Gillespie Biography (1949–)". 30 March 1949. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b Jurek, Thom (13 May 2003). "Staying Power – Dana Gillespie : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  4. ^ Brown, Craig (7 August 2018). Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 432. ISBN 978-0374906047.
  5. ^ "Dana Gillespie – Thank You Boy (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Gillespie full of Blues". 7 December 2013.
  7. ^ "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie : Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  8. ^ "H2H Special: Conversation with Dana Gillespie, British singer, actress and song writer (part 2)- Dec 2011". 12 December 2011. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  9. ^ "The diva of blues". The Hindu. 11 December 2002. Archived from the original on 1 September 2003. Retrieved 1 March 2013.
  10. ^ Stephenson, James (12 February 2024). "San Marino: Four AI Written Songs to Compete to Reach UVPSM Final". Eurovoix. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  11. ^ "Dana Gillespie Discography at Discogs". 30 March 1949. Retrieved 1 March 2013.