Dream Warriors

Album: Back For The Attack (1987)

Songfacts®:

  • Written by George Lynch and Jeff Pilson of Dokken, this is the theme song to the 1987 movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, the first in the franchise starring Patricia Arquette. The band was asked to write the song, which had to be titled "Dream Warriors," the name for the kids in the film who fight back against their nocturnal tormentor, Freddy Krueger. Fortunately, that's a song-friendly title (unlike "Ghostbusters"), and they were able to write a big chorus around it. The verse lyrics are more generic, dealing with sleep and torment. Outside the context of the film, it could be a song about a guy trying to get over a breakup.
  • The music video inhabits the same world as the film, with the band showing up in Patricia Arquette's dream to help her vanquish Freddy Krueger. The film hewed to the same demographic as MTV (teenagers), so they put the video in rotation, giving Dokken more airplay on the network.
  • This was released as a single to promote the film, but was not included on the soundtrack, which was just the film score ("Dream Warriors" was the only original song written for the movie). It was included on Dokken's fourth album, Back For The Attack, which was their peak. As Dokken got more successful, they also got at each other's throats, culminating in the 1988 Monsters Of Rock tour that hammered the last nail in their coffin. They didn't release another album until 1995, after a long split.
  • According to lead singer Don Dokken, when the band got the assignment, he wrote his "Dream Warriors" and his bandmates wrote theirs.

    "Mine was more uptempo, more of a rock song," he said in a Songfacts interview. "They had given me a rough cut of the movie so I could know what the movie was about. So, I wrote the lyrics:

    I lie awake and dread the lonely nights
    I'm not alone
    I wonder if these heavy eyes
    Can face the unknown


    So, I wrote a version, they wrote a version. It's kind of funny. They said, 'We actually like your version better Don, but we're going to use our part.' [Laughs] It was just ego – there was a lot of ego in my band in the '80s."
  • In an effort to land hits, Dokken put some gloss on songs like this one that they knew were going to be released as single and get videos. It paid off in popularity, but cost them some metal cred. "That kind of signified our sound as a very commercial rock band," Don Dokken told Songfacts. "I have people say, 'I don't like your commercial stuff,' and I have other people say, 'I don't like the heavy stuff.' You can't make everybody happy, man."
  • An earlier Dokken song, "Into The Fire," also appears in the movie.

Comments: 9

  • AnonymousI feel like as I listen to dream warriors now as a dokken fan 30 years after taking to them via tooth and nail cassette, it has a really perfect mix of how we'd grown to know dokken thru such ballads like Alone Again, Into The Fire, Just got lucky, it's not love, Jaded Heart, but also more raw and edgy rocking numbers like Kiss of Death, tooth and nail, turn on the action, Paris is burning, when heaven comes down or lightning strikes again or standing in the shadows. All in all it was a great record and fit into their live setlist perfectly
  • Joel Gunderson from Duluth, MnI wouldn't classify Dokken as "heavy metal". Especially this song.
  • Bradley from Winchester, NhThanks to this song, all future "Elm Street" movies had a heavy metal song in the soundtracks.
  • Tom from Cleveland, OhGeorge Lynch played guitar on "Little Drummer Boy" on the Eagle record's 2008 Christmas compilation - "We Wish You A Metal Xmas and A Headbanging New Year" which also featured Dug Pinnick on vocals; Billy Sheehan on bass, an Simon Phillips on drums...
  • Johnna from Glens Falls, NyDon Dokken didn't wear a wig.
  • Jeff from Austin, TxDon Dokken's wig really looks great in this video.
  • Lester from New York City, NyGreat album. 'Mr. Scary' and 'Cry of the Gypsy' are senstional songs. George Lynch is a great guitar player.
  • Anne from Dodge City, KsYeah, it's one of those great songs that gets overshadowed by bigger hits from the eighties.
  • Ryan from Ray, Mii dont know about the rest of you guys, but i love this song (george lynch's solo is classic)
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real Group

Modern A Cappella with Peder Karlsson of The Real GroupSong Writing

The leader of the Modern A Cappella movement talks about the genre.

Keith Reid of Procol Harum

Keith Reid of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

As Procol Harum's lyricist, Keith wrote the words to "A Whiter Shade Of Pale." We delve into that song and find out how you can form a band when you don't sing or play an instrument.

Trucking Songs That Were #1 Hits

Trucking Songs That Were #1 HitsSong Writing

The stories behind the biggest hit songs about trucking.

John Doe of X

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

U2 Lyrics

U2 LyricsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the lyrics of U2?