Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" is a song written and performed by the British new wave music duo Eurythmics. The song is the title track of their album of the same name and was released as the fourth and final single from the album in early 1983. The song became their breakthrough hit, establishing the duo worldwide. Its music video helped to propel the song to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was the first single released by Eurythmics in the US.
|"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"|
Artwork for most releases
|Single by Eurythmics|
|from the album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)|
|B-side||"I Could Give You A Mirror"|
|Released||21 January 1983 (UK)|
2 May 1983 (US)
|Format||7" single, 12" single|
|Length||3:35 (7" single)|
4:48 (12" single)
|Producer(s)||David A. Stewart|
|Eurythmics singles chronology|
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" is arguably Eurythmics' signature song. Following its success, their previous single, "Love Is a Stranger", was re-released and also became a worldwide hit. On Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time issue in 2003, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" was ranked number 356. Eurythmics have regularly performed the song in all their live sets since 1982, and it is often performed by Lennox on her solo tours.
In 1991, the song was remixed and reissued to promote Eurythmics' Greatest Hits album. It re-charted in the UK, reaching number 48, and was also a moderate hit in dance clubs. Another remix by Steve Angello was released in France in 2006, along with the track "I've Got a Life" (peaking at number 10).
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart wrote the song after the Tourists had broken up and they formed Eurythmics. Although the two of them also broke up as a couple, they continued to work together. They became interested in electronic music, bought new synthesisers and started playing on it. According to Stewart, he managed to produce the beat and riff of the song on a synthesiser, and Lennox, on hearing it, said: "What the hell is that?" and started playing on another synthesiser, and beginnings of the song came out of the two duelling synths.
According to Lennox, the lyrics reflected the unhappy time after the break up of the Tourists, when she felt that they were "in a dream world", and that whatever they were chasing was never going to happen. She described the song as saying: "Look at the state of us. How can it get worse?", adding "I was feeling very vulnerable. The song was an expression of how I felt: hopeless and nihilistic." Stewart however thought the lyrics too depressing, and added the "hold your head up, moving on" line to make it more uplifting.
Commenting on the line "Some of them want to use you … some of them want to be abused", Lennox said that "people think it’s about sex or S&M, and it’s not about that at all".
"Sweet Dreams" was created and recorded in two places, first in the Eurhythmics' tiny project studio in the Chalk Farm district of London, above a picture framing shop, then in a small room at The Church Studios in North London. The home studio was equipped with a Tascam 8-track half-inch tape recorder, a Soundcraft mixer, a Roland Space Echo, a Klark Teknik DN50 spring reverb, a B.E.L. Electronics noise reduction unit, and a single Beyerdynamic M 201 TG microphone. The gear was purchased second-hand after Lennox and Stewart obtained a bank loan for £5000.
Also purchased with the bank loan was a £2000 Movement Systems Drum Computer, one of only about 30 built, with the Eurythmics having to sleep for a few days at the Bridgwater apartment of the manufacturer while their unit was being assembled. The MCS Drum Computer provided drum sounds, and also triggered sequences on a Roland SH-101 synthesizer, used for the synth bass line. To fill out the complement of instruments, Lennox played a borrowed Oberheim OB-X for sustained string sounds. Their only microphone, a utilitarian model typically used for hi-hat, performed all the acoustic duties, including tracking Lennox's vocals, and capturing ad hoc percussion made from glass milk bottles filled with water and tuned.
Stewart recalls he was in a manic mood while Lennox was depressed. Stewart was upbeat because he had just survived surgery on a punctured lung, but Lennox was feeling low because of the poor results from past musical work. She perked up when she heard Stewart first experimenting with the song's bass line sequence. She "leapt off the floor" and started to fill in the song with the Oberheim synth.
According to Stewart, the record company did not think the song to be suitable as a single as it lacks a chorus, and did not want to release it as a single. However, when a radio DJ in Cleveland kept playing the song from the album and it received a strongly positive audience reaction, the label then decided to release it.
"Sweet Dreams" was Eurythmics' commercial breakthrough in the United Kingdom and all over the world. The single entered the UK chart at number 63 in February 1983 and reached number two the following month.
"Sweet Dreams" was the first ever single release by Eurythmics in the United States when it was released in May 1983. The single debuted at number 90 and slowly eased up the chart. By August, the single had reached number two and stayed there for four weeks, kept from the top by the Police's "Every Breath You Take" before "Sweet Dreams" took the number one spot.
The music video for "Sweet Dreams" was directed by Chris Ashbrook and filmed in January 1983, shortly before the single and the album was released. The video received heavy airplay on the then-fledgling MTV channel and is widely considered a classic clip from the early-MTV era.
The music video begins with a fist pounding on a table, with the camera panning up to reveal Lennox in a boardroom, with images of a Saturn V launch projected on a screen behind her, which are later replaced by a shot of a crowd walking down a street. Stewart is shown typing on a computer (actually an MCS drum computer). The camera cuts to Lennox and Stewart meditating on the table. Stewart is next shown playing a cello in a field. The scene then returns to the boardroom, with Lennox and Stewart lying down on the table, and a cow walking around them. Stewart is shown again typing on the computer, with the cow chewing something right next to him. The scene cuts to the duo in a field, with a herd of cows, and Stewart still typing. Lennox and Stewart are then seen floating in a boat, with Stewart again playing a cello. The video ends with Lennox lying in bed, with the last shot being a book on a nightstand bearing a cover identical to the album. The screen then fades to black as Lennox turns off the bedside lamp. The video has more than 242 million views on YouTube as of September 2018.
Lennox's androgynous visual image, with close-cropped, orange-coloured hair, and attired in a man's suit brandishing a cane, immediately made her a household name. Her gender-bending image would be further explored in other Eurythmics videos such as "Love Is a Stranger" and "Who's That Girl?".
A second video was also produced, featuring Lennox and Stewart on a train. A close-up shot of Lennox's lips is occasionally seen in the train car's window as she sings the song.
- A: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" (LP Version) – 3:36
- B: "I Could Give You A Mirror" (Alternate Version) – 4:15
- A: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" (Extended Version) – 4:48
- B1: "I Could Give You A Mirror" (Alternate Version) – 4:15
- B2: "Baby's Gone Blue" (Non-LP track) – 4:19
3" CD (1989 re-release)Edit
- "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (LP version) – 3:36
- "I Could Give You a Mirror" (Alternate Version) – 4:15
- "Here Comes the Rain Again" (LP Version) – 4:54
- "Paint a Rumour" – 7:30
CD single (1991 re-release)Edit
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) ’91 - (3:35)
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Nightmare Remix) - (7:27)
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Hot Remix) - (5:21)
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (House Remix) - (3:34)
Credits and personnelEdit
Steve Angello RemixEdit
|Canada (Music Canada)||Gold||50,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||1,000,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
Marilyn Manson coverEdit
|"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"|
|Single by Marilyn Manson|
|from the album Smells Like Children|
|Released||22 June 1996|
|Marilyn Manson singles chronology|
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
Marilyn Manson released a cover version as the first single from Smells Like Children (1995), an EP of covers, remixes and interludes. In his 1998 autobiography, the band's eponymous vocalist said he fought their label to have this track released as a single, saying: "They didn't want to release [it], which I knew would be a song that even people who didn't like our band would like. [Nothing] wanted to release our version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 'I Put a Spell on You', which was far too dark, sprawling and esoteric, even for some of our own fans. We battled the label this time, and learned we could win. ... It was a disheartening experience, but it didn't hurt half as much as the fact that no one at our label ever congratulated us on the success of the song."
The track became the band's first legitimate hit. The music video was directed by American photographer Dean Karr, and featured images of the vocalist self-mutilating while wearing a tutu, as well as scenes of him riding a pig. It was placed on heavy rotation on MTV, and was nominated for Best Rock Video at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards. In 2010, Billboard rated it the "scariest music video ever made", beating Michael Jackson's "Thriller". The video also appeared at number three in the publication's 2013 list of "The 15 Scariest Music Videos Ever". Dave Stewart has said that he liked this version of his song, and that "the video was one of the scariest things [he]'d seen at the time."
The song went on to appear on the band's 2004 greatest hits album, Lest We Forget: The Best Of. It also featured on soundtracks to the films Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Gamer (2009), and A Perfect Day (2015), in movies such as House on Haunted Hill (1999), and Trick 'r Treat (2007), as well as the trailer for Wrath of the Titans (2012), in the pilot episode of The Following, and on the BBC drama Luther. Britney Spears created a music video using Manson's version of the song. This video – also directed by Chris Ashbrook – was used as an interlude on her 2009 concert tour "The Circus Starring Britney Spears".
- CD single
- "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" – 4:25
- "Dance of the Dope Hats" (Remix by Anthony Valcic, Dave Ogilvie and Joseph Bishara) – 4:46
- "Down in the Park" (Gary Numan cover) – 4:58
- "Lunchbox (Next Motherfucker)" (Remix by Charlie Clouser) – 4:47
Other cover versionsEdit
- In 1995, Swedish artists Swing and Dr. Alban released a Eurodance cover of the song.
- In 1999, London electronic duo Freaks released an instrumental version of the song.
- In 2011, Swedish DJ Avicii remixed the song.
- In 2016, JX Riders featuring Skylar Stecker went to number one on the US dance chart with their version.
- American singer Tori Amos has covered the song on her live tours[when?].
- Judith A. Peraino (2005). University of California Press, ed. Listening to the Sirens: Musical Technologies of Queer Identity from Homer to Hedwig. p. 241. ISBN 978-0520215870. "Marilyn Manson entered the mainstream in 1995 with a cover song of the 1980s synth-pop hit "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by the Eurythmics"
- Larry Starr, Christopher Alan Waterman (2007). Oxford University Press, ed. American popular music: from minstrelsy to MP3, Vol. 1. ISBN 978-0195300536. ""Sweet Dreams" is a good example of commercial new wave music of the early 1980s, an outgrowth of the 1970s new wave/punk scene promoted by major record labels."
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|url=(help). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
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- "British single certifications – Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American single certifications – Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
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