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.
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.
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.