„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. It’s 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)“ is arguably Eurythmics‘ signature song. Following it’s 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 has 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“.
The original recording’s main instrumentation featured a sequenced Oberheim OB-X analog synthesizer riff, which Stewart accidentally discovered in the studio when he played a bass track backward. Apart from the synthesizer, the arrangement also uses a Movement Systems Drum Computer, a piano in the middle eight, and Lennox’s multitracked harmony vocals.
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.
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