Don't Dream It's Over

Album: Crowded House (1986)
Charted: 27 2
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  • Crowded House lead singer Neil Finn wrote this song. He explained in an interview with Goldmine: "I wrote that on my brother's piano. I'm not sure if I remember what the context was, exactly, but it was just about on the one hand feeling kind of lost, and on the other hand sort of urging myself on: Don't dream it's over. That one actually fell out literally, without me thinking about it too much."
  • This was Crowded House's biggest hit in the US. The group is from New Zealand, where they are very popular. Crowded House was their first album, which did very well in the US. Subsequently released albums had success in the UK, but not in the states.
  • This was used in commercials for the New Zealand Tourism Commission.
  • In 1989 Paul Young performed a cover of this song at the Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Gabor - Budapest, Hungary
  • This song was used in the TV miniseries The Stand, which aired in March 1994. The miniseries was based on the Stephen King novel. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Johnny - Rockland, MA
  • Sixpence None The Richer recorded this song for their album Divine Discontent. Their version has a similar arrangement, but with female vocals. Veteran music video director Sophie Muller helmed a clip for this version, which has lead singer Leigh Nash discovering a baby goat and singing the tune among paratroopers on a beach.
  • Clad in hoodie pajamas and sitting in an inflatable chair, Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande performed this as part of Cyrus' Backyard Sessions for her Happy Hippie Foundation in 2015. Two years later, the pair teamed up again to sing it at the One Love Manchester concert to benefit victims of the terrorist attack at Grande's Manchester Arena show two weeks earlier.
  • When Crowded House reunited in 2016, Neil Finn explained that he's happy to keep playing this one. He told ABC: "I really enjoy singing it every time I do it, and I'm super pleased and proud that the song that is almost the most identifiable for us is, I think, one of my best songs."
  • Mitchell Froom, the producer of the first three Crowded House albums, helped Neil Finn complete the song. Finn recalled to Uncut:

    "The day I did it, I knew I had something quite special. Then the next day we played it with the band and it sounded like a bag of s--t. It was only when Mitchell suggested the bassline, which Nick (Seymour) elaborated on, that it really found its groove. I was wavering away doing demos, and Mitchell made some quite profound suggestions. Like an R&B bassline might be better than a rock or pop approach, or a Hammond organ could sound nice. These were not textures I was used to. He filled in quite a few areas that we weren't covering, but maybe it made our individual sound less distinctive. It took a while, but then 'Don't Dream It's Over' started to work in the US and whole record went on to have a pretty big life."
  • The entire song plays at the beginning of the 2018 Season 6 season premiere of the spy drama The Americans, introducing the changes that have taken place since the previous season, with a new level of tension among the married main characters that is emphasized with the line, "build a wall between us." The series is set in the '80s, and that particular episode takes place in 1987.
  • This was the one Crowded House song Fleetwood Mac performed on tour when Neil Finn joined the band in 2018. Stevie Nicks joined him on vocals for these performances.
  • Finn considers this a song of unity. When he performed it in Hartford, Connecticut with Fleetwood Mac on March 15, 2019, he dedicated the song to the victims of the shootings in Christchurch, where earlier in the day a gunman opened fire on two mosques.
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Comments: 54

  • Ekristheh from HalathCaitlin in Oakland - This is so full of Beatles references I am certain others have noticed, beginning with the title that echoes John's "the dream is over". In the first lines there is "Within You and Without You", then as you heard, there's "Across the Universe", then "Fixing a Hole" -- then "A Day in the Life" (do you read the news "in the paper today"?) -- and I may be stretching it here, but I heard "counting the steps to the door..." as John walks up the six steps after being shot. (The number of steps were repeatedly spoken about in radio reports that night.) What I know for certain is that Paul McCartney has been quoted as saying he wishes he could write that well, and that Brian Cullman reviewing this album in Spin went so far as to say Finn sounded like John, with open mouth and heart (he's right, you can understand every word) and that this was a "sister song" to "Watching the Wheels". Neil Finn may not even have been aware of these things, as he explains he just didn't think about it too much when he was writing it.
  • Chris from Germany One of my favorite songs of all time.
    A classic which is played still often on German radio. But it was actually not until MIAMI VICE that I liked the song. When I was a student in the 2010s I have seen an episode of MIAMI VICE in which the song was played. Great moment.
  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesDefinitely one of my most favorite songs of all time, across the ages, as long as I live. When I heard this for the first time in about 2005, I fell in love with it. I didn't like the Six Pence's version haha because I love originals better and this one is incomparable to that. I love the intro, the lyrics, the way it's sung, the New Zealand pronunciation, the melody, that instrumental bridge, Neil Finn's voice... brilliantly excellent! Reading comments here, I realised I'm missing out terribly. I must check out their other songs,too! Loving the 80's songs very exceedingly. I am jealous of you all who were in their childhood/teens/middle adult ages that decade. You were all able to listen to MUSIC AT ITS BEST in all radio stations! How does that feel?? Me, I have to wait for a random 80's/ 90's/70's song to play in the radio just to be able to listen to those real music. The musicians back then are also very good in playing instruments aren't they? WOW.
    And those 80's bands who continue to release albums until now are the only ones who make real music. Enough said. Period.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 11th 1987, "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #85; and fourteen weeks later on April 19th, 1987 it peaked at #2 for one week...
    It reached #1 in Canada and New Zealand, while in the quintet's native Australia it peaked at #8...
    The week is was at #2 on the Top 100 chart, the #1 record for that week was "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me" by Aretha Franklin & George Michael...
    Between 1986 and 1991 the group had five Top 100 records; with two reaching the Top 10, their other Top 10 record was "Something So Strong", it peaked at #7 for 1 week, also in 1987.
  • Janne from LeidenI always thought this song was about the Berlin Wall, tearing families apart and deviding them between East and West Germany. Things like "suspicion" of his possessions would be about the border police looking at his car. "Don't dream it's over" always seemed like a call of confidence to bring down the Berlin Wall to me, even though people might not care and "turn over to the tv page".
  • Danielle from Den Haag, NetherlandsI still hear "head now" as in ... "move".
  • Ogspinner from Bremerton, WaLove this song, the meaning to me is very religious "when the world comes in" evil influences, "they come" angelic types to protect. But that's just me.
  • Janetlee from Panama City, FlI heard Susan Boyle sing this song on Oprah yesterday (10/19/10) and she does a beautiful rendition!
  • Lisa from Milwaukee, Wi, WiI saw Crowded house and Roseanne Barr at the Coronado theatre in 1987. Looking back, a bizarre pairing!
  • Chris from San Bernardino, CaJeff, I always took the lines of "now I'm towing my car, there's a hole in the roof/My possessions are causing me suspicions but there's no proof" as being a kind of syncronicity-effect going on...his "possessions" are falling apart, much like his relationship is. His possessions are foreshadowing what's happening within his relationship. Finn seems to use travel as a metaphor. At first he's telling his love that she'll "never see the end of the road" as long as she travels with him...then says that his car has broken down and is falling apart (so much for traveling with him)...then finally says he has to resort to walking alone down the same road he promised her she would never see the end of. Plus, he's walking back to "the door of her heart", no longer using the "car", starting all over again to try and win her back.
  • Nina from Bronx, NyCurtis, from Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY; you are thinking of a different song. "Who'd have thought that a boy like me could come to this?" is not from Crowded House-Don't Dream It's Over, it's from the Cutting Crew-I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight.
  • Glenn from Auckland, New ZealandI remember the excitement created when it was found out that DDIO were at #2 on the American charts. I took an instant liking to Crowded Houses first album, initially released in 1986. It wasn't an instant success but took some time before songs started to get some air play. Once this happened the album started to sell. This album was an easy album to listen to. I found that I had to listen to Temple of Low Men and Together Alone a few times before I was able to enjoy them. Woodface however was instantly likeable.
  • Deb from Melbourne, AustraliaWhen Crowded House performed this at the end of their "Farewell to the World" concert outside Sydney Opera House, it was amazing.
    And why has no-one here mentioned the tragedy of Paul Hester's death? Paul Hester was a musician and TV presenter in his own right and gave the band a lot of personality. I adore Neil Finn but I couldn't be more infuriated with the person who stated below that the other band members were "nobodies".
  • Caitlin from Oakland, MdAlright so I might be a Beatlemaniac... but I think there might be a reference to the song "Across the Universe" in the lyrics. In this song, it says "try to catch the deluge in a paper cup" and in Across the Universe it says "words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup." Anyone see the connection? That song was apparently written after John and Cynthia had an argument.
  • Jeff from Casa Grande, Az"now I'm towing my car, there's a hole in the roof," says to me his car is completely useless. It does not move on it's own accord and it can't even be used as shelter. What this means, baffles me, though. And the next line, "My possessions are causing me suspicions but there's no proof," is equally so. I think it has to do with the material world we bury ourselves in (think of the "80's" I mean come on). But, coupled with the rest of words, the author is saying there's nothing in this world of ours that is lasting or filling, except for love, a powerful adoration and caring for another. That we get lost in modern life with it's excess and flippant concern with what's new and hot is too distracting. His love for his mate is enduring and waiting patiently on the back burner, so to speak. Very romantic, I have to say. Poetic and not easily gleaned.
  • Hanny from Roden, NetherlandsWhen they played this song at Live earth on 07-07-07, I got goosebumps. This is one of my all time favourite songs. Of CH I also like Fall at your feet;Four seasons in one day; Distant sun and Into temptation.The Split Enz. song Message to my girl is also one of the best songs ever!
    I like the way the voices blend together and with the music and lyrics the songs become timeless.
  • Michelina from The Mountains, CoSuch a lovely, poignant song. I will, however, put in my two cents and nominate "How Will You Go" for one of the best CH songs. (Really, there's not much from Woodface that isn't very good.)
  • Paul from Glasgow, United KingdomBassist, Nick Seymour, multi instrumentalist, Mark Hart, and Drummer, the late Paul Hester are not nobodies and Neil Finn would never think of them as such!

    After all he recently got the band back together, because he wanted to work as a band again and he said there is no better band for him.

    As for 'Don't Dream It's Over' - it's a classic from Crowded House's first album. Session musicians HAD been used for a few tracks uring recording, and this was the first track after that which Paul & Nick played on. This is often the reason attributed to the melancholy sound that the song has.

    I have never heard before that it is about a fight Neil had with his wife. They like any couple must've had fights in their time I'm sure. - Neil is quite often more obscure than just writing a song "about" an argument. He is very imaginative. Lots if his songs do not relate to his own life directly.

    I love the line "Don't ever let them win". It is a line to be remembered in a lot of situations in life I believe!
  • Jill from Decatur, GaInteresting that the song's highest position on the Billboard US chart was #2 and was kept out of the top spot by "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me" by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. When DDIO was at #3 the week before, it was Aretha and George still at #1, but Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" was at #2.
  • Genevieve from North MelbourneDoes anybody remember an obscure kids TV show that had weather with you playing over the end credits.
    I'm pretty sure it was about a boat. I'm desperate to find it!
  • Tearsofblood from Nowhere That Concerns YouI agree with Sam from New York. Crowded House was FORMED IN AUSTRALIA. It has a mix of Australian and New Zealand members. Both nations deserve to be mentioned.
  • Sean from Auckland, New ZealandIt's a bit dated news now but the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony featured Sarah Blasko as lead singer of Sixpence None The Richer. I normally despise cover versions but sometimes a cover comes out that just moves you as much as the original. Such is this version. The vidclip is even better and actually shows the pure mystical imagery with the confetti falling down as she sings this song. It's truly stunning.
  • Buddy from Barbourville, Kyi love this song! and i aggree with T from London, England. fall at your feet is another fave of mine too!
  • Constance from Dallas, TxI agree with Jay from Atlanta. They don't write great songs anymore like this. Songs in the 80's made you think and feel. Aw the good ol days.
  • Scott from Los Angeles, CaJay in Atlanta pointed out the lyric, "In the paper today,Tales of war and of waste.But you turn right over To the TV page". I always loved that lyric. It paints such a great sense of the how obsorbed we get with the minusae of the world when there's so really important things going on all around.
  • Mick from Las Vegas, Nv"They" is the outside world.
  • T from London, EnglandAn amazingly insightful song.... another fave of mine is Fall at Your Feet! Just great lyrics all round!
  • Guy from Wellington, New ZealandOne of my favourite Neil Finn songs is "Message to my Girl". It's actually a Split Enz song but so identifiably the Neil Finn of the Crowded House period.

    Hey, Dave from Cardiff. One of the reasons artists from Down Under have only been "one hit wonders" in the States or the UK is it's so bloody hard to break into these music scenes if you're a foreigner. That doesn't make their music inferior. Abba wrote classic pop tunes that were massive in the UK and Aust/NZ but they never cracked the States. It doesn't usually speak of failure, more of timing and opportunity. If Neil Finn had been a Yank or a Pom he would have still been a great songwriter even if he didn't end up writing with that quintessential Down Under consciousness he's renowned for.
  • Bill from Queens, NyWhen a deep, insightful person loves a shallow follower of pop commercialism and the mass mentality, the result is frustration, pain, and sometimes worse. Survivors are often superficial and maleable;however,world-changers, while short-lived, are insightful, sensitive people of depth and conviction who leave us too soon, but they bequeath us their wisdom and their vision. We stand on their shoulders. These are the two faces of humanity, which strangely enough complement each other with their contrasting strenghths. That's what the truly classic song "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House means to me.
  • Derek from Cambridge, New ZealandTim & Neil Finn are originally from Te Awamutu, a small town in the Waikato, New Zealand. And believe me, they are regarded as legends in the town (I work there...I should know!!!)
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesMary, if the Australian members were nobodys, then why didn't Finn drop them and continue on his own. You have to remember that outside New Zealand, Split Enz were one hit wonders('I Got U' was their only big worldwide hit) and Tim and Neil Finn did not become household names until after Crowded House made it big... Don't underestimate the importance of session musicians to the history of rock music
  • Sebastian from Providence, RiI love this song. It "sounds" so sad and beautiful. But I don't know who are the "THEY" that he talks about in the song.
  • Mary from Auckland , New ZealandReply to: Samuel, New York, NY.

    The 3 'Australians' you mentioned were nobody's that partnered up with the already famous Neil Finn. Take him away and you have nothing...ergo NEW ZEALAND BAND!
  • Curtis from Cornwall On Hudson , NyDon't meant to sound rude here but does anyone have anymore insight into this song than that he wrote it after a fight with his wife? I've thought it was about suicide since I first listened to it while contemplating suicide. "Who'd have thought that a boy like me could come to this?" Even if I hear otherwise I will always think it's about suicide and fully intend to have it played at my funeral.
  • Mel from South Australia, Australiasplit enz are touring australia, be in adelaide june 14th (i think)...heres to hoping that they will play some crowded house material
  • Jay from Atlanta, GaI've appreciated the Finn brothers since Slit Enz...
  • Jay from Atlanta, GaGreat song. They just don't write lyrics like "In the paper today,Tales of war and of waste.But you turn right over To the TV page" and "Try to catch the deluge In a paper cup". And not to mention those opening chords...

  • Geoff from Hamilton, New ZealandThis song is just one of MANY great songs that Neil has penned ( often with his Brother Tim )

    Their newer albums are great.
  • Samuel from New York, NyI would like to mention that the band was formed by 3 Australians and 1 New Zealander, the band was based in Australia, yet it is listed here as a New Zealand band? The band should be credited as Australian/New Zealand. Split Enz is definitely a New Zealand band, and Crowded House is a mix of the two nations.
  • Justin from Austin, TxMy favorite C.H. / Finn song is "Never be the Same".
    Could you put up some facts about it?
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaI seem to like Sixpence None The Richer's version better
  • Mistik from Sydney, AustraliaThis songs nice, and the lyrics are so mellow, yet sad. Notice, they always tend to write songs that somehow become uplifting on the chorus.
  • Coromandel from Thames, New ZealandFour Seasons in one day...has to be an all time classic from the boys.

    Dave, Coromandel, New Zealand
  • Menze from Groningen, NetherlandsI agree with Callum Cross that Distant Sun is better. One of my favorites is "In The Lowlands".
    I'm going to a concert from Tim and Neil in April again. Looking forward to it...
  • Mike from Fort Worth, TxThis song was used in the television mini-series "The Stand," by Stephen King, in 1994.
  • Callum Cross from Scotland, Englandmost people reckon this is the houses best song i think the world where you live and distant sun are better.
  • Geri from Nova Scotia, CanadaI remember the first time I heard this song when it was first released I thought "this is an instant classic". I was right
  • Justin from Felts Mills, NyThis may be the song that Crowded House will be most remembered for. Although they have other great classics ("World Where You Live," "Mean to Me," "Something So Strong," "It's Only Natural" and the under-rated "Better Be Home Soon"), this song, inspired by a fight that Neil Finn had with his wife, will be the song that truly stands out as THE Crowded House song. Great lyrics, great melodies, haunting background chorus...a simple classic.
  • Dc from Hilo, HiAnother song used in the TV version of Steven King's THE STAND. Molly Ringwald plays the song on her record player during the opening credits of part 2 (THE BETRAYAL), after the super flu has wiped out most of mankind.
  • Nicola from Christchurch, New ZealandTheir Farewell to the World concert has to be one of the most amzing performances I have ever seen!
  • Aimee from Auckland, New ZealandNeil was in Split Enz TOO for a while..
    Then eventually all those years later, Tim in turn joined Crowded House.
    They just have a great chemistry together.. when they sing in perfect harmony they say they often can't tell which voice is their own.
  • Carl from Manila, Othergreat remake by sixpence none the richer of this song...but still, nothing at all like the feel of the original
    --carl, dj 103.5 k-lite manila, philippines
  • Aimee from Auckland, New ZealandThe Finn bros are musical legends.
    Enough said.
  • John from Greeneville, TnNeil Finn is Tim Finn's (Split Enz) brother
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