First Love

An Evening With Dana Gillespie 7th March 

Join us for "An Evening With Dana Gillespie" at the Temple of Art and Music for an exclusive early listening session of her new album, "First Love." This intimate event promises an unforgettable night with Dana performing songs from her anticipated album produced by Marc Almond and Tris Penna. Don't miss this unique opportunity to experience her captivating voice up close in a setting that promises to be as enchanting as her music. The songs discussed and performed include "Can You Hear Me?" by David Bowie, reflecting on love and loss with a unique musical arrangement, and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day, capturing feelings of isolation and disillusionment. Lana Del Rey's "Gods & Monsters" explores themes of fame and existentialism, while "Simple as This" by Jake Bugg deals with the search for meaning and simplicity in life. "In a Broken Dream" by Python Lee Jackson, featuring Rod Stewart, expresses longing and unfulfilled dreams, showcasing Stewart's distinctive vocals. Each song, from various artists and genres, delves into deep emotional and philosophical themes, offering listeners a rich tapestry of musical storytelling.

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams - Bob Dylan

Dana's Devotee

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day, from "American Idiot" (2004), explores loneliness with its somber lyrics and midtempo melody. Notably composed in F minor with a tremolo guitar effect, it faced controversy over chord similarities with Oasis's "Wonderwall." The song saw vast success, topping charts and winning a Grammy for Record of the Year. Its Samuel Bayer-directed video won six MTV VMAs in 2005, including Video of the Year. Credits include Billie Joe Armstrong (lyrics), Green Day (music), and Rob Cavallo with Green Day (production).

Spent The Day In Bed - Morrissey

"Spent the Day in Bed" by Morrissey, the lead single from his 2017 album Low in High School, stands out for its reflective lyrics and catchy tune, capturing Morrissey's signature blend of wit and social commentary. The song encourages a message of escapism and self-care amidst a chaotic world, advocating for taking a step back from the demands and pressures of everyday life to find solace and refuge in the simple pleasures. It reflects on the importance of unplugging from societal expectations and finding comfort within oneself, emphasized through lines that critique the routine many are trapped in and the suffocating nature of modern society​​.

The track has received a range of interpretations from critics, with Matthew Oshinsky of Paste calling it a "peppy, organ-driven song" that discusses checking out from the news cycle, while Sam Sodomsky of Pitchfork and others highlight its electronic and upbeat nature, driven by distinct electric piano riffs and synths​​. A promotional video directed by Sophie Muller, featuring Morrissey being pushed around in a wheelchair by Joey Barton and a performance by David Hoyle, complements the song's themes, filmed at Peckham Liberal Club, and adds a visual layer to the song's narrative​​.

The song was part of Morrissey's effort to emphasize the need for self-care in an increasingly fast-paced world. It urges listeners to prioritize their mental and physical well-being by taking time for themselves, even if it means simply spending a day in bed to recharge and reflect on what truly matters​​.

For those interested in the deeper meanings and critiques embedded within "Spent the Day in Bed," it serves as a multifaceted anthem that balances catchy melodies with introspective and thought-provoking lyrics, resonating with listeners who seek a momentary escape from the pressures of daily life while reminding them of the necessity of self-care in maintaining mental and physical health.

Dance Me to the End of Love - Leonard Cohen

Dana's Devotee

"Dance Me to the End of Love" is a captivating song by Leonard Cohen, released in 1984 as part of his album Various Positions. This piece has intrigued and moved audiences with its depth and the haunting beauty of its melody, ultimately establishing itself as a poignant element of Cohen's musical legacy. The song is characterized by its evocative lyrics and the melody that follows a typical Greek "Hasapiko" dance, likely a nod to Cohen's profound connection with the Greek island of Hydra.

Interestingly, despite its romantic title and melody, "Dance Me to the End of Love" draws its inspiration from the dark history of the Holocaust. Cohen revealed in a 1995 radio interview that the song was inspired by the knowledge that, in certain death camps during the Holocaust, a string quartet would perform classical music as a backdrop to the atrocities being committed. This chilling origin story adds a layer of depth to the song's lyrics, intertwining themes of love and death with a poignant historical reference.

In 1996, the song's lyrics were paired with paintings by Henri Matisse in a book published by Welcome Books as part of its "Art & Poetry" series, further cementing its status as a work of art that transcends musical boundaries.

The song has seen numerous covers by various artists, each bringing their own interpretation to Cohen's original work. Notably, jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux included a rendition of the song on her 2004 album Careless Love, released as a single in 2005. Peyroux's version has been celebrated for its haunting quality and has been featured in both the soundtrack of the computer game The Saboteur and on the fifth and final soundtrack of the television series Queer as Folk.

Other notable covers include performances by Sting at the 2017 Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen concert, a "breathtaking" rendition by Bob Dylan during his 2023 Rough and Rowdy Ways World Wide Tour in Montreal, and a unique Arabic/English version by the Québécois/Algerian group Labess.

The song's influence extends beyond music into the visual arts, with Scottish painter Jack Vettriano creating a painting titled after the song. Vettriano's work is part of a series of paintings inspired by Cohen's music and writing, demonstrating the song's profound impact on artists across different mediums.

"Dance Me to the End of Love" continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, its complex genesis and evolution showcasing Leonard Cohen's unparalleled ability to weave together personal, historical, and artistic threads into a tapestry of profound musical expression.

Not Dark Yet

"Not Dark Yet" is a profound piece by Bob Dylan, encapsulating themes of existential contemplation and the inevitability of mortality. Released as part of his critically acclaimed 1997 album Time Out of Mind, and also as a single, the song has since been recognized as one of Dylan's most haunting and introspective works.

Recorded in early 1997 at Criteria Studios in Miami, under the production of Daniel Lanois, the song initially had a different feel in its demo form before evolving into the somber ballad known today. Lanois's production brought a dense, atmospheric sound to the track, featuring a slow, heavy tempo and rich instrumental layers that contribute to its reflective mood. Dylan's vocal performance on this track is notably sincere and resigned, adding to the song's powerful emotional resonance.

Critically, "Not Dark Yet" has been celebrated for its poetic depth, with many commentators noting its introspective quality and thematic focus on life's twilight. It has been interpreted as a meditation on aging and the approach of death, underscored by the refrain "It's not dark yet but it's getting there." This line, in particular, has been widely discussed for its poignant acceptance of mortality.

The song has drawn comparisons to the work of John Keats, particularly in its thematic exploration of beauty and death. Literary scholars have noted parallels between Dylan's lyrics and Keats's poetry, suggesting a shared contemplation of the sublime and the transient nature of life.

"Not Dark Yet" has also been featured on various compilation albums, further cementing its place in Dylan's celebrated discography. Its influence extends beyond music to cultural and academic discussions, highlighting its significance as a piece of contemporary American poetry.

The song's music video, directed by Michael B. Borofsky and filmed in Memphis, Tennessee, visually complements the song's themes by interlacing performance footage with scenes of the city, adding another layer to its exploration of solitude and introspection.

Through various live performances and cover versions by artists across genres, "Not Dark Yet" has demonstrated its enduring appeal and versatility, resonating with audiences worldwide and across generations. Its critical acclaim and the depth of its artistic exploration make it a standout track in Bob Dylan's oeuvre, showcasing his unparalleled skill as a songwriter and poet.

Dana Gillespie, a talented musician and friend of Bob Dylan, will be performing her unique version of Dylan's "Not Dark Yet" at the Temple of Art and Music on March 7th. This performance is a testament to the enduring influence of Dylan's work and his impact on fellow artists. Gillespie's interpretation of the song is anticipated to offer a fresh perspective on the classic track, showcasing her ability to infuse songs with her own artistic flair. Her rendition of "Not Dark Yet" is expected to highlight the song's themes of introspection and the contemplation of mortality, resonating with the audience through her powerful vocal delivery and emotional depth. This event presents a wonderful opportunity for fans of both artists to experience Dylan's profound songwriting through Gillespie's unique voice and interpretative style.

Brewer Street Blues - Marc Almond

Gods And Monsters - Lana Del Rey

Gods & Monsters" by Lana Del Rey, from her "Paradise" EP, explores themes of fame, disillusionment, and desire. Critics have noted its sultry delivery and complex portrayal of detachment and hedonism. The song achieved commercial success, charting in the UK and the US, partly due to its inclusion in media like "American Horror Story." Its instrumentation features horns, keyboard, guitar, and drums, with production by Tim Larcombe and mixing by Robert Orton. 

In A Broken Dream -Python Lee Jackson / Rod Steward

"In a Broken Dream" by Python Lee Jackson, featuring Rod Stewart, was released in 1972 and reached No. 3 in the UK charts. Originally recorded in the 1960s, it gained popularity with Stewart's uncredited vocals. Initially released in 1970 without chart success, its reissue capitalized on Stewart's rising fame. The song's enduring appeal led to its inclusion in the 1996 film "Breaking the Waves" soundtrack and Stewart's 2015 album "Another Country." It has inspired cover versions and was notably sampled in A$AP Rocky's 2015 single "Everyday."

Can You Hear Me?

David Bowie

"Can You Hear Me?" is a standout track from David Bowie's 1975 album Young Americans, showcasing Bowie's shift towards a more soulful, R&B-influenced sound that came to define the album. Released in November 1975 and featured on the B-side of the "Golden Years" single, this ballad is an intimate exploration of love and longing, enriched by Bowie's emotive vocal performance and sophisticated musical arrangements.

The genesis of "Can You Hear Me?" traces back to early 1974, initially recorded under the title "Take It In Right" at Olympic Studios in London. Its evolution is marked by Bowie's collaboration with notable musicians, including the then-emerging Luther Vandross, who provided backing vocals, marking the early stages of his illustrious career. The song's rich texture is further amplified by the alto saxophone contributions of David Sanborn, introduced in the third verse, creating a dynamic interplay with Bowie's vocals.

Produced by Bowie alongside Tony Visconti and Harry Maslin, the song's lyrical content reflects themes of guilt and unease, yet it's presented through a lush musical arrangement that Chris O'Leary describes as "sumptuous." The intro sets the tone with its poignant lyrics, inviting listeners into a narrative of past intimacy and the complexities of understanding and being understood. The arrangement features a "small cathedral of voices" that, according to O'Leary, serves to mask the vulnerability at the song's core.

Bowie's intent with "Can You Hear Me?" was to create a "real love song," albeit for an undisclosed muse. His collaboration with Lulu on the track underscores his belief in her as a soul singer with untapped potential, highlighting his desire to redirect her musical trajectory towards a sound resonant of Aretha Franklin's soulfulness.

The track underwent various recordings, including a notable session at Sigma Sound in Philadelphia, which contributed to the soulful ambiance of Young Americans. Bowie's performances of the song, both in studio and live settings, including a memorable duet with Cher on The Cher Show in 1975, exemplify his versatile artistry and ability to bridge genres.

Personnel involved in the song's production include a blend of musicians known for their prowess in soul and R&B, alongside Bowie's regular collaborators. This includes Carlos Alomar on rhythm guitar, Mike Garson on piano, and a host of backing vocalists led by Vandross, adding depth and harmony to the track's soulful essence.

"Can You Hear Me?" remains a significant piece in Bowie's discography, encapsulating a period of artistic experimentation and genre-blending that defined his mid-70s phase. It is a testament to his ability to transcend musical boundaries, creating works that are not only reflective of his chameleonic nature but also of his deep appreciation for the soul genre.

Can You Hear Me?" by David Bowie, an intriguing new chapter is set to unfold with Dana Gillespie, a former label mate, friend, and collaborator of Bowie, bringing her own rendition to the fore. On March 7th, Gillespie will perform her version of the song, promising to add a unique layer to its already multifaceted history. Known for her dynamic vocal range and deep connection to the blues genre, Gillespie's interpretation is anticipated to offer a fresh perspective on Bowie's soulful ballad, infusing it with her distinctive style and emotional depth.

Gillespie's connection to Bowie dates back to the early stages of their careers, sharing not only a label but also a creative kinship that has been evident in their collaborative works and mutual respect for each other's artistic endeavors. Her decision to cover "Can You Hear Me?" is a nod to their shared history and the influence Bowie had on her musical journey. Given Gillespie's prowess in imbuing songs with a profound sense of feeling and her ability to navigate through various musical landscapes, her performance is poised to be a heartfelt homage to Bowie's legacy and their shared moments in music.

This upcoming performance is not just a cover but a celebration of Bowie's enduring impact on fellow musicians and the industry at large. Gillespie's rendition will undoubtedly resonate with fans of both artists, offering a unique interpretation while honoring the original's essence. As March 7th approaches, anticipation builds for what promises to be a memorable addition to the song's legacy, showcasing Gillespie's talent and her deep-rooted connection to Bowie's music.

Simple As This - Jake Bugg

"Simple as This" by Jake Bugg is a contemplative track about the search for meaning and the realization of life's simplicity. It narrates the journey of self-discovery, exploring various avenues for answers, only to find that true fulfillment might lie in the most straightforward aspects of existence. The song's lyrics touch on the disillusionment with complex solutions and the importance of appreciating the simple things in life, suggesting that sometimes, the answers we seek are already within our grasp. 

First Love, Last Love - Dana Gillespie

Dreams - Fleetwood Mac

"Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, from their 1977 album "Rumours," achieved widespread acclaim and commercial success, reaching number one in the US and Canada. Written by Stevie Nicks, it was inspired by the band's personal turmoil during recording. The song features a distinctive drum loop and a blend of electric guitars, creating a hypnotic effect. Its lyrics contemplate love and loss, underscored by Nicks' emotive vocals. The track saw a resurgence in popularity in 2020, thanks to a viral TikTok video, re-entering charts globally​