Sweet Dreams Are Made of This
Writer(s): Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart (see lyrics here)
Released: January 21, 1983
First Charted: February 12, 1983
Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 3 RR, 36 AC, 16 AR, 1 CO, 2 UK, 12 CN, 6 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 1.0 UK, 3.14 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 570.6 video, 958.78 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were in the British pop group the Tourists in the latter half of the ‘70s, reaching #4 in the UK with a cover of “I Only Want to Be with You.” After two albums the group dissolved – as did the romantic relationship between Lennox and Stewart. A new working partnership was established, however, when the pair decided to continue working together as the Eurythmics.
The new wave duo released an album in 1981 that went nowhere. After Stewart experienced a collapsed lung and Lennox had a nervous breakdown, FB she doubted if their dreams would ever happen. That pessimism, balanced with Stewart’s messages to “hold your head up, movin’ on,” fueled the lyrics for “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This.” WK She thinks the song has become a mantra that’s an overview of human existence and open to interpretation: “whatever it is that makes you tick, that is what it is.” SF
The “wondrous oddity of this decidedly minimalist, downright skeletal pop song” AMG is that it simultaneously “sounds both warmly inviting and off-puttingly chilly.” AMG The song reflects the duo’s growing interest in synthesizers. Stewart produced the song’s beat and riff on one and Lennox started playing on another to create the dueling synths at the beginning of the song. WK
The record company wasn’t sold on the song because it had no chorus and released three singles in the UK from the Sweet Dreams Are Made of This album before finally taking a shot with the title cut. That might not have happened if the song hadn’t generated a strong response in Cleveland when a radio DJ played it. WK It was released in January 1983 in the UK and reached #2 two months later. In the U.S., it wasn’t released until May and hit #1 in September.
Another part of the song’s success was due to its video, which is “widely considered a classic clip from the early-MTV era.” WK The video paired surreal imagery such as Stewart playing keyboards next to a cow in a field with Lennox’s androgynous look marked by “striking cheekbones and ice-blue eyes emphasized by her close-cropped traffic-cone orange hair and tailored black suit.” AMG “Sweet Dreams” arguably became the duo’s signature song. WK
First posted 2/1/2021; last updated 11/6/2022.