Album: Rumours (1977)
Charted: 24 1


  • During the sessions for Rumours, everyone in the band was going through a breakup (Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham with each other, John and Christine McVie with each other, Mick Fleetwood with his wife Jenny Boyd) and doing a lot of drugs. They were able to work together, but most of the songwriting was on an individual basis. Stevie Nicks wrote this one in the studio next door where Sly Stone was recording. He had a big, semicircular bed and red velvet all over the walls - a great vibe for a song about romantic entanglements.
  • The line, "Players only love you when they're playing," was directed at Lindsey Buckingham. Stevie Nicks was not pleased when he brought "Go Your Own Way" to the sessions, which was clearly about her. Stevie told Q magazine June 2009: "It was the fairy and the gnome. I was trying to be all philosophical. And he was just mad."
  • This is Fleetwood Mac's only #1 hit in the US, surprising considering how familiar many of their songs are in that country. The Hot 100 didn't always reflect the impact of their songs, many of which showed remarkable endurance.
  • Stevie Nicks recalled to The Daily Mail October 16, 2009: "I remember the night I wrote 'Dreams.' I walked in and handed a cassette of the song to Lindsey. It was a rough take, just me singing solo and playing piano. Even though he was mad with me at the time, Lindsey played it and then looked up at me and smiled. What was going on between us was sad. We were couples who couldn't make it through. But, as musicians, we still respected each other - and we got some brilliant songs out of it."
  • The word "dreams" shows up just three times in this song:

    It's only me who wants to wrap around your dreams
    And have you any dreams you'd like to sell?
    Dreams of loneliness

    They could have titled the song "Thunder Only Happens When It's Raining" after the first line of the chorus, but went with something much more compact. Part of Fleetwood Mac's appeal was their gift for making incredibly popular songs without hewing to the strictures of popular songwriting like title repetition.
  • In 1998 a Todd Terry re-mix of a cover by The Corrs peaked at #6 in the UK. The Irish group originally recorded the song for a Fleetwood Mac tribute album. Mick Fleetwood, who is a fan of The Corrs, had asked them to record it.
  • Christine McVie said in a 1997 interview with Q: "'Dreams' developed in a bizarre way. When Stevie first played it for me on the piano, it was just three chords and one note in the left hand. I thought, This is really boring, but the Lindsey genius came into play and he fashioned three sections out of identical chords, making each section sound completely different. He created the impression that there's a thread running through the whole thing."
  • Christine McVie played both a Hammond organ and a Fender Rhodes electric piano on this track.
  • Kristin Chenoweth performed this on the hit show Glee in the 2011 Fleetwood Mac-themed episode "Rumours." This version, credited to "Glee Cast with Kristin Chenoweth," went to #92 in the US.
  • Artists to cover this song include Richie Havens, Melba Moore, Yo La Tengo, The Corrs, and the American singer-songwriter Lissie, who included it on her 2019 album, When I'm Alone: The Piano Retrospective.
  • This was used in the 2010 film Eat Pray Love and in the 2017 "Living The Dream" episode of Big Little Lies. Another TV use of "Dreams" is in the British version of The Office in the 2002 episode "Party."
  • The song returned to the Billboard charts in 2018 after a meme went viral. A Twitter user named @bottledfleet edited parts of "Dreams" over footage of Alcorn State University's Golden Girls cheerleaders dancing to an overlay the song to prove that Fleetwood Mac is not boring. The video was posted on March 22, 2018 with the caption: "'Fleetwood Mac's music is so boring, you can't even dance to it."
  • The song got another boost when the TikTok user Doggface208 (real name Nathan Apodaca) uploaded a video of him skateboarding down a road while drinking Ocean Spray juice and lip-syncing along to "Dreams" on September 25, 2020.

    On October 4, Mick Fleetwood made his own TikTok re-creating Apodaca's video. Fleetwood posted: "@420doggface208 had it right. Dreams and Cranberry just hits different."

    Such was the interest generated by the clips that the song re-entered the Hot 100, peaking at #12.

Comments: 38

  • George from Vancouver, Canada"Thunder only happens when it rains"; I always believed that until I had thunder & lightning during snow a few years ago.
  • John Anderton from DallasThe duality of the 1st and 2nd verse always struck me. Verse 1 is about the partner "now here YOU go again" whereas the second verse is about the individual "now here I go again". Prioritizing the other person over yourself in giving them the first verse. Further reinforced "It's only me who wants to wrap around your dreams" is essentially "I prioritize you over me" but at the same time lamenting how worse off the partner will be if "I'm" gone. It's a breakup song after all. "When the rain washes you clean you'll know" is after the emotional fog has cleared you'll understand you had it better with "me".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 17, 1998, the Corrs appeared in a St. Patrick's Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England...
    During their performance of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams", Mick Fleetwood joined them on stage...
    Two months later on May 10th, 1998 their covered versionof "Dreams" peaked at #6 {for 1 week} on the United Kingdom's Singles chart, it was their first of six Top 10 records in the U.K. Singles chart...
    Between 1995 and 2005 the Irish quartet had twenty records on the U.K. Singles chart, one* of their six Top 10 records reached #1, "Breathless", for 1 week on July 9th, 2000...
    One of their twenty charted records was a duet, with the Chieftains, "I Know My Love", it reached #37 in 1999...
    * They just missed having a second #1 record when Tin Tin Out's mix of their "Runaway" peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on February 21st, 1999; the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears...
    In addition, the the day of the St. Patrick's Day concert, band member Caroline Corr celebrated her 25th birthday.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm {07-21-2017}...
    Fleetwood Mac will be honored as the MusiCares 'Person Of The Year' by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (the GRAMMY people) in ceremonies in New York January 26th, 2018...
    The band, the first chosen by the Academy for the honor, were selected for their musical accomplishments and for their 'support for a number of charities and causes'. The announcement was made Wednesday (July 19th, 2017}.
  • Jeff24 from Monrenegro, SerbiaHey Jonh and Reno could you please tell me something more about what you know who wrote this song ? I need some information. (:
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 29th 1977, Fleetwood Mac appeared in concert* at Madison Square Garden in New York City...
    At the time the quintet's "Dreams" was in its second of two weeks at #6 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; seventeen days earlier on June 12th it had peaked at #1 {for 1 week} and it stayed on the chart for 19 weeks...
    "Dreams" was track two of side one on the group's eleventh studio album, "Rumours", and the album was in its ninth of thirty-one non-consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Three other tracks from the album also made the Top 100, and they also made the Top 10; "Go Your Own Way" {#10}, "Don't Stop" [#3}, and "You Make Loving Fun" {#9}...
    * At the concert they performed nine of the eleven songs on the 'Rumours' album, the two that were excluded were, surprisingly, "Don't Stop" and "I Don't Want to Know".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 15th 1975, Fleetwood Mac appeared in concert in El Paso, Texas; this was the first time the group performed live with new members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks...
    A little under six months later on November 2nd, 1975 "Over My Head" would entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #91; ten weeks later on January 11th, 1976 it would peak at #20 {for 1 week} and it spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    The quintet's next two releases, "Rhiannon" and "Say You Love Me", just missed making the Top 10, both peaked at #11, their next charted record, "Go Your Own Way", did make the Top 10, right at #10, and then they finally reached #1 with "Dreams".
  • Meocyber from Alma, Co Yes I'd say this is their very best song. Remembering science classes, usually it's raining or about to, then the extreme heat of a lightning strike expands and contracts air to make a thunder clap. Not sure that's her intent. But Stevie wrote great metaphor and allegory into her music. Plus, she was soooooo hot.
  • Dave from Gold Coast, AustraliaWatch "classic albums - rumours". it states one night late in the studio or at home in that bed someone mentioned (i cant remember which) stevie just had a piano and spontaneously sat down and the lyrics came to her. She wasnt sure if it was good or not, having only 2 chords the whole way. She took it to lindsay like someone else mentioned, she says something like "lindsay always had the ability to take my songs and make them into something great. the problem was he was always mad at me." lindsay organised it into the 3 distinct sections u hear on the track. the first clean verse, the fingerpicking bridge, then the chorus (thunder only happens when its raining). if u watch that video u can see them strip the track back to just vocal. their vocal strength is incredible!!! i think lindsay and stevie do two tracks each and christine does one.
    definately my favourite with the chain off the album
  • Myla from San Diego, CaExcellent interpretations of everyone about the meanings of thunder and rain. Which goes to show that Stevie Nicks has a knack for writing in metaphors. Brillant!@
  • Tom from El Paso, Txdreams is the only record hanging on stevies wall.Tom,El Paso, Tx
  • Natalie from Tampa, FlWhoever John is from Las Vegas is doesn't know what he's talking about and if someone's trying to take credit for the song other than Stevie then they're a nutter because I've read very detailed info on what the song means and why it was written; no random person would have to sell those lyrics...I mean they're not even that deep or hard to think of.

    Stevie said she loves philosophy and native american stuff so it has to do with nature and the rain etc. and obviously the song matches her personality. She's not an idiot who has to have lyrics written for her. She's quite capable of being poetic and singing about her life.
  • Anique from Brooklyn, NyI love this song. I am only 26 years old, but love good music, no matter what era. Any song with real instruments and a talented artist will always catch my attention.
  • Jonathan from Auckland, New ZealandRyan Adams covered "Dreams" with Stevie Nicks singing harmony. A friend of mine had the radio version (I assume the only version) and burned it onto a CD for me, which I lost. Have not been able to find it since, and am no longer friends with him...

    Great version.
  • Sandra from Gardnerville, NvYes, the song was a huge hit. It gave us "women-folk" something to sing in the middle of the disco era. Stevie Nicks has a very unique voice, I admire that; but I hated singing it and it is, without a doubt, the most boring bass line I ever played.
  • John from Las Vegas, NvStevie Nicks should be ashamed of her self for taking credit to writing this song.This song was written by Deano Luke who lived in Northwest Indiana.When i was a kid i used to go an arcade in Hobart,IN he co-owned it.He had framed newspaper articles telling of his sucess for writing this song.He sold the song to Fleetwood Mac.Just cause someone buys the rights to a song-does not entitled them to take credit for it.It makes me wonder if Stevie Nicks wrote any song ever in her career.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesThis is one of my shipwrecked-on-a-desert-island tracks.
  • Kerry G. from Detroit Rock City, MiAmazing chill-out tunes.
  • Reno from Des Moines , IaNo one from Fleewood Mac wrote "Dreams".. It was picked up a from a poem clearinghouse and I know the original author.. I have seen the orignal manuscript it was written upon.. Its a farse to say anyone from Fleetowwd Mac wrote this great piece..
  • P.a. from Paris, FranceAbout elie, london, England's comment: I have seen the Corrs MTV unplugged, as well as another show (I think their music is tasteless, but I have nothing against watching 3 pretty girls sing)they never mention Fleetwood Mac.
    On the contrary, they played Everybody Hurts, saying it is from REM, although there's no need: Automatic for the people went #1 and stayed 179 weeks in the UK charts. I think they are trying to make the song theirs at least to their public, and that most fans (young people living in the UK and Europe) have no clue about Fleetwood Mac.
  • Valerie from Eureka, CaThere are a lot of good musicians in the world and great drummers but my all time favorite drummer is Mick Fleetwood.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThe Corrs had a UK #6 hit in collaboration with Todd Terry with their 1998 cover version
  • Susan from San Francisco, CaStevie says the line "players only love you when their playing" is meant to mean performers only love you when they perform....she ended the song with "when the rain washed you clean you'll know" to be optimistic that eventually you'll find the answers and it will all be ok. Great songwritter...my FAVORITE!!!
  • Carlos from Durham, NcI have a funny feeling that the "thunder" in "Thunder only happens when it's raining" refers to an explosive or angry outburst or argument - perhaps even verbal abuse... Usually, thunderous and terrible arguments do not occur when everything is going well in a relationship ... it only happens when one or both of the partners already has issues with stress, emotions, or some aspect of the relationship.
    That's my take...
  • Jimoh from The Bronx Ny, NyI think that it is quite amazing how many excellent songs are on this album, especially when you consider the turmoil that the band members were going through at the time. Proof that good music can come from bad times.
  • Dessire from El Cajon, CaThee who?!?!?!?!?!!!!! haha ok ok.. well yes :D it was recorded in the studio next door. But i dont think the line was for lindsey. as she was the one that broke up with him. and she wrote that song i think in minutes.
  • Elie from London, Englandmy friend made me listen to the corrs cover of the song and was surprised wen i knew the words by heart. i told him that fleetwood mac originally sang it and he said who?
  • Jeffrey Walton from Maui, Lahaina, HiStevie Nicks is The Reigning Queen of Rock & Roll and I am glad to be part of her Magic Kingdom.
  • Chris from Leeds, EnglandStevie Nicks has re-recorded this song with Deep Dish for their album "The George is On". The song peaked at number 2 in the dance chart. This song has also been covered by The Corrs
  • Jenna from London, EnglandThis song is really great.mother bought me the CD.yeah
  • Rhiannon from Sarver, Pai love singing this song on stage w my singing teacher's band Clockwise Scarlett. Stevie Nicks is amazing...i have seen her live 2 times and she always does this song wonderfully!
  • Alexander from Ciudad OjedaI'm intrigued by the lines; "Women, they will come and they will go; When the rain washes you clean, you'll know".
    I guess, knowing Stevie Nicks might have addressed this song to Lindsay Buckingham, she meant something like, pain for being forsaken will help you see what the real thing is and will help you heal the wounds.
  • Rick from Humboldt, Iathe way that the bass and the drums are woven together shows that fleetwood mac has the best rhythm section ever!
  • Rachel from Russellville, KyThis song as well as all the other Fleetwood Mac songs are so freakin awsome!!!
  • Alan from Singapore, SingaporeThe song was also covered by the Irish group The Corrs
  • Victor from Vienna, Vayeah, that sounds about right. Thanks!
  • Rob from Sydney, Australia"Thunder only happens when its raining" is saying that when things are bad, they seem to get worse...Thunder (signifying deep emotional distress or bad times), as a rule of nature only happens when it is already raining (that is when one is already gloomy, depressed, etc). This is my interpretation anyway :)
  • Victor from Vienna, Vaincredible tune....while it's obvious that this song was aimed towards Lindsey Buckingham, what does "thunder only happens when it's raining" mean?
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