Lilac Wine


"Lilac Wine" is a song by James Shelton originally performed by Hope Foye in the theater musical revue, Dance Me a Song, in 1950. It was covered by Dave Gahan and Soulsavers and is the third track on Imposter.


(from Jeff Buckley's version)

I lost myself on a cool damp night
I gave myself in that misty light
Was hypnotized by a strange delight
Under a lilac tree
I made wine from the lilac tree
Put my heart in its recipe
It makes me see what I want to see
And be what I want to be
When I think more than I want to think
I do things I never should do
I drink much more that I ought to drink
Because it brings me back you
Lilac wine is sweet and heady, like my love
Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, like my love
Listen to me, I cannot see clearly
Isn't that she, coming to me nearly here?
Lilac wine is sweet and heady, where's my love?
Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, where's my love?
Listen to me, why is everything so hazy?
Isn't that she, or am I just going crazy, dear?
Lilac wine, I feel I'm ready for my love
Feel I'm ready for my love

Dave's Take

"It's having a dependency. It's having a love- a true love that you feel and you know is there. And maybe that love at that particular time is a substance; it's not always a person, unfortunately."1

My Take

I could not find the Hope Foye-original of this song, but I did listen to the versions by Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, and Jeff Buckley in order to get a proper sampling. The melody starts out somewhat melancholy in the first half, but then in the second half, it transitions to a lighter and more whimsical tone, as if taking us through the lyricist's emotion-driven drinking binge from beginning to end. There is no obvious and discernible beat throughout, so the whole song sounds very spontaneous- as if it were made up on the spot. I feel like Eartha captured that spirit perfectly in her version; it's as if she is getting more inebriated and giddy as the song goes on, and then she ends it with a playful giggle.

I'll be honest...this one is going to be a tall order for Dave! But I think he can pull it off- even knock it out of the park if he gets a few elements right. I have a feeling that his version is going to sound more similar to Jeff Buckley's 1994 version than any other, but even then, it is going to be very interesting to see what he can do with this. He needs to capture the spontaneous spirit of this song in order to do it justice, but I have a feeling he will have a lot of fun doing so (well, or he already did since it's already recorded). Thus, I am really looking forward to hearing his version of this! If he can do that and also do with his vocals what he did in many of his songs on Hourglass, for example- employing a proper balance of both the softest and roughest ends of his vocal range, then he is going to knock this one out of the park for sure.

Be sure to check back here for my review on Dave's version!

Music Video

There has not been a music video announced for this song.


  1. "Lori Majewski talks with Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan about his new album Imposter with Soulsavers", Sirius XM (October 7, 2021)