“These Dreams” is a 1986 song by the American rock band Heart. It was released as a single in 1986 from their 1985 self-titled album. It was the first song by the band to become a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1985 Martin Page (who co-wrote several other pop hits, including “We Built This City” and “King of Wishful Thinking”) and Bernie Taupin (the longtime collaborator of Elton John) wrote the music and lyrics to the song now known as “These Dreams”. The song was offered to Stevie Nicks, who expressed no interest in recording it. Heart had just recently signed with Capitol Records. While the band had previously recorded their own material, they were impressed by “These Dreams” and agreed to use it on their upcoming album.
“These Dreams” was different from earlier Heart songs: it was a polished, power ballad; and it was the first Heart single on which Nancy Wilson performed lead vocals instead of Ann Wilson. According to The Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, when it came time for Nancy Wilson to record her vocal, she was suffering from a cold and her voice sounded somewhat raspy and gravelly. After the song reached its peak of success, producers reportedly wanted Nancy to recreate the gravelly sound on future recordings, asking her, “Can’t you just get sick again?”
“These Dreams” was released as the third single from Heart’s 1985 album Heart. Following two consecutive US top-ten singles, the song elevated the band’s success even further, becoming Heart’s first single to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 22, 1986. It also became Heart’s first (and, to date, only) number one song in the US Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at number sixty-two in the UK Singles Chart; however, a re-issue released in 1988 (re-released due in large part to the smash success of “Alone” there) reached number eight.
The music video for “These Dreams” (which used the shorter single version instead of the album version) received heavy airplay from MTV and was the third of four US top-ten singles from the Heart album. The single’s B-side, “Shell Shock”, was also the B-side of Heart’s previous single “Never”.
The petite sail-shaped electric guitar Nancy plays in the music video was the creation of Nashville luthier David Petschulat and had been purchased years earlier. Nancy uses a Dean Guitar for the majority of the video.
The song was dedicated (on the album) to Nancy Wilson’s good friend Sharon Hess (May 28, 1963 – March 16, 1985), who died from leukemia shortly before the song was released. The lyrics of the song describe the fantasy world a person enters when faced with a difficult situation in real life.
The lyrics of the song describe a woman who is within a world of fantasy that occurs every time she falls asleep, a world where what is and what isn’t cannot always be determined, “every second of the night, I live another life.” She speaks of wishing to “hide away from the pain”.
The song was remixed and extended to 5:25. This version appears only on the UK limited, laser etched, one-sided 12″ single. The UK CD single featured the b-side “Heart of Darkness”, and is the only known CD format availability for this rare Heart track.
There was also a limited 7″ picture disc version released in the UK.
In 1987 after the success of “Alone”, “These Dreams” was re-released as a double A-side in the UK with “Never”.
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