Lilac Wine

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"Lilac Wine"
Single by Elkie Brooks
from the album Pearls
Released January 1978
Recorded 1978
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:54
Label A&M Records
Writer(s) James Shelton
Producer(s) Mike Batt
"Lilac Wine"
Song by Jeff Buckley from the album Grace
Released 1994
Format CD, LP
Recorded Bearsville Recording Studio, Woodstock, NY (Fall 1993)
Genre Rock
Length 4:32
Label Columbia
Producer Jeff Buckley
Andy Wallace
Grace track listing
"Last Goodbye"
"Lilac Wine"
"So Real"

"Lilac Wine" is a song written by James Shelton (words and music) in 1950. It was introduced by Hope Foye in the short-lived theater musical revue, Dance Me a Song. The song has since been covered by many famous artists including Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, Elkie Brooks, Jeff Buckley, Jeff Beck and Miley Cyrus.


The lyrics form a narrative in which the narrator recounts his/her heartache at losing their lover and taking solace from wine made from a lilac tree. In short, the song focuses on the blissful oblivion achieved by becoming intoxicated. The performer usually sings the song in a drunken manner in keeping with the lyrics.

Cover versions[edit]

"Lilac Wine" has been covered by a number of artists including Eartha Kitt (1953), Judy Henske on her debut, self-titled album (1963), Nina Simone on her album Wild Is the Wind (1966), Elkie Brooks (1978) and Jeff Buckley on his album Grace (1994). The Jeff Buckley version was used as background music in the 2008 French film Tell No One. In 2010 it appeared on the Jeff Beck album Emotion & Commotion with vocals by Imelda May. The Argentinian alternative rock band Panza has also covered "Lilac Wine" on their 2007 album Pequeños Fracasos (Little Failures). Other more recent recordings include both a studio and live version by Katie Melua on her albums Call Off the Search (2003) and Live at the O² Arena (2009). It was released as a single in 2010 by American singer Jordyn Jackson.[1] In 2011 pianist Brad Mehldau released a solo piano version of this song on his Live in Marciac recording.[2]

The only artist to have major chart success with the song was Elkie Brooks in 1978 and the song remains closely associated with her, especially in the UK and Europe.[3] It was later included on her 1981 album Pearls.


In 2010, a music video for Lilac Wine, performed by the Cinematic Orchestra, was created by the Bl:nd production company as part of a collection of videos to celebrate Dr. Martens footwear.[4]