Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

Album: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1982)
Charted: 2 1
  • In the book Annie Lennox: The Biography, Lennox explained that this song is about the search for fulfillment, and the "Sweet Dreams" are the desires that motivate us.
  • Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were a couple for about three years while they were members of a band called The Tourists. They only wrote one song together in this time (an instrumental), but when The Tourists broke up, they formed Eurythmics as a duo and began writing together. A short time later, Lennox and Stewart broke up. Stewart tells the story in The Dave Stewart Songbook: "When we broke up as a couple for some strange reason it was like we were always going to be together, no matter what. We couldn't really break that spell so we just carried on making music. This causes many problems, yet through all of this we ended up writing a lot of great songs, some were about 'our' relationship and some were about our relationship with the world around us. Whatever we wrote always had a dark side and a light side and in a way I describe it as 'realistic music,' full of the ups and downs of real relationships and life itself."
  • In the New York Times October 30, 2007, Annie Lennox recalled that this was written by the duo just after they'd had a bitter fight. I thought it was the end of the road and that was that, she said. We were trying to write, and I was miserable. And he just went, well, 'I'll do this anyway.' Dave Stewart came up with a beat, Annie Lennox improvised the synthesizer riff, and suddenly they realized they had a potential hit.
  • This was originally a hit in Europe in 1982. A year later with the advent of MTV it reached the #1 spot in the US, giving Eurythmics their only US chart topper.
  • Stewart and Lennox had very little money, and were thrilled when a bank gave them a loan to buy some equipment and make a record. They made the most of their meager budget, using an 8 track recorder and a complicated drum machine Stewart drove 200 miles to procure. They made the most of their 8 tracks, with Stewart's Roland synthesizer and Lennox' Kurzweil keyboard added to the drum pattern Stewart created, forming the basis for the song. As Stewart tells it in his Songbook, Lennox was a bit depressed, but coming up with this track snapped her out of it and she quickly came up with the "Sweet Dreams are made of this" and "Some of them want to use you" lyrics.

    In a Songfacts interview with Stewart, he said: "I suggested there had to be another bit, and that bit should be positive. So in the middle we added these chord changes rising upwards with 'Hold your head up, moving on.' To us it was a major breakthrough. It just goes from beginning to end and the whole song is a chorus, there is not one note that is not a hook."
  • In an interview with Billboard magazine, Lennox talked about her days before the Eurythmics: "I was really a hybrid between Stevie Wonder and Joni Mitchell, walking the streets as a singer/songwriter, but nobody knew it but me." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • The innovative video presented Annie Lennox with close-cropped orange hair and a tailored black suit, making it the first popular video presenting an androgynous female. The cow in the video was Dave Stewart's idea - he was a big fan of surreal artists Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel. Said Stewart: "A few people were saying, 'Dave, why the cow? Annie is so good looking.' Those people should go buy a copy of Purple Cow by Seth Dogin, about how to make your business remarkable. It was written 20 years after I had the purple cow in our video - which certainly did the trick and made my whole life remarkable."

    The cow, while very eye-catching, posed a logistical problem because most studios can't accommodate them. Eurythmics found a basement studio in London with an elevator big enough to transport the animal. Lennox recalls the shoot with the bovine walking around as being one of the more surreal experiences of her life. Regarding what it all meant, she said in the book I Want My MTV: "The video is a statement about the different forms of existence. Here are humans, with our dreams of industry and achievement and success. And here is a cow."
  • Marilyn Manson recorded this in 1995, giving a much darker tone to the song. Weezer did a lighter version for their 2019 Teal Album.
  • Nas sampled this for his 1996 song "Sweet Dreams." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Donovan Berry - El Dorado, AR
  • In November 2007, Annie Lennox was interviewed extensively by Malcolm Bragg on The South Bank Show. In this program she said she didn't regard "Sweet Dreams" as a song but as a mantra. She added that people have identified with it over the years and that it's open to interpretation; it contains an overview of human existence; whatever it is that makes you tick, that is what it is. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • The song ends with a keyboard fade out, but when Eurythmics played it live, they changed the arrangement and ended the song with the lyrics "Keep your head up" so it would end with a sense of hope.
  • When this became a hit in America, the Eurythmics became a sensation there, appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone and playing sold out shows. Stewart fell in with the Los Angeles music scene, where he wrote "Don't Come Around Here No More" with Tom Petty.
  • This was featured in the films Striptease (1996), Big Daddy (1999) and Ready Player One.
  • In 1978, Squeeze had a UK hit with "Take Me I'm Yours," which features the line "Dreams are made of this" in the chorus.
  • Hands up those of you who think Annie Lennox sings here: "Sweet dreams are made of cheese, who am I to disagree?" Relax, it's not just you. This tune's lyrics came top of a 2013 Spotify poll to find out which songs music fans most commonly hear people singing incorrectly.
  • This was discussed in the 2013 romantic comedy I Give It A Year after Rose Byrne's character angers her husband by flubbing the lyrics. She sings, "I travel the world in generic jeans," instead of, "I travel the world and the seven seas."

Comments: 16

  • George from Vancouver, CanadaThis song summarized:

    Imagine you are a whore. . .
    A dominiatrix, to be exact, or maybe you're a john visiting a dominatrix. . .

    Some of them want to use you
    Some of them want to get used by you
    Some of them want to abuse you
    Some of them want to be abused.
  • Jim from Dayton, OhYou could see something "deeper" in the inclusion of the cow. However, I think Dave Stewart was bringing some levity to the screen overall by poking a little absurdest fun at the stark seriousness of the video.
  • Brent from Hobart, AustraliaA classic example of not believing what you read. The truth about this classic song has been long misinterpreted for nearly 30 years. I was a manager for a band on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia in 1990 with a drummer in it named Jim Toomey ( Who played in the band "The Tourists" along with Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox before they formed the latter "The Eurythmics"). Jim was asked to join The Eurythmics when The Tourists folded. Dave Stewart wrote the song with some imput from Annie in Jims honour after he declined the offer to join the band having been in numerous other bands over many years prior and was tiring of all the constant travel, getting ripped off and burnt by managers and record companies alike. Jim and Dave had a very strong bond together when they were in The Tourists and loved each other like brothers.
    It has nothing at all to do with BDSM. It's all about Jim. Fact.
  • Wohuman Paz from Chicago, IlThis is an awesome song with an awesome instrumental. For me it exposes a timeless truth of human existance in the most simplest, basic and natural form. Its a song about what motivates people as people all over the world are looking for something from somebody. I am glad that Eurythmics added the part about 'keep your head up, moving on' cuz it would otherwise be a depressing song. I interpete the cows in the video to be a representation of mans animal nature and in alot of ways we are no different than cattle. That is why a crowd of people is shown in one clip in the vid. Does anybody know what book is in the video? Thanks.
  • Budoshi from Sandnessjøen, NorwayIt's a great song, has really stood the test of time:D I love it as much right now as I did way back when I first heard it in the 80's

  • Monique from Cleveland, OhThis was also the theme song of an 80's TV movie"Making of a male model" that Starred Joan Collins and the John Eric Hexam,he died not long after filming.
  • Adrian from Johor Bahru, MalaysiaI always listen to this song whenever I am making new friends as the song is sort of an advice on the types of people we meet in our daily lives.
  • Naomi from Philadelphia, PaI love this song, always have!!!!! :)
  • Kane from Wytheville, Vathe song was also on everybody hates chris
    and nas's version is the coolest he calls it street dreams!!
  • Tiffany from Little Rock, ArThis is one of the songs that defined the 80s! New Wave pop blew up disco and this song was one of the powderkegs involved! IMO, Annie Lennox is a musical powerhouse and deserves her status as a British soulful icon up there with Sir Elton and George Michael.
  • Tony from Chicago, IlThis song is hypnotic!! it's incredibl;y good, even for synth-pop!!!!!!! real cool video
  • Chris from Charleston, ScThe main bass riff is from a Roland SH-101 synthesizer.
  • Jason from New York, NyLater inappropriately matched up to the opening credits of "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart".
  • Shana from Detroit Rock City, CanadaThis Song is on the Simpsons, wehn Artie Ziff comes back and tries to "woo" Marge. This song is used at the very end, with Artie's own lyrics substituted in..." I am watching you through a camera!"
  • Andy from Arlington, Va#356 on Rolling Stone's Top 500 songs
  • Rick from Humboldt, Iawow eurythmics are quite freaky. i hate hearing the song missionary man because it always freaks me out
see more comments

Crystal WatersSongwriter Interviews

Waters tells the "Gypsy Woman" story, shares some of her songwriting insights, and explains how Dennis Rodman ended up on one of her songs.

Edwin McCainSongwriter Interviews

"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

Desmond ChildSongwriter Interviews

One of the most successful songwriters in the business, Desmond co-wrote "Livin' La Vida Loca," "Dude (Looks Like A Lady)" and "Livin' On A Prayer."

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.