Dreams

Album: Find Your Way (1993)
Charted: 1 26

Songfacts®:

  • There are many "dreams can come true" songs, but few as literal as this one, which is filled with affirmations as Gabrielle sings about finding the man of her dreams.
  • Gabrielle's dreams became a nightmare when Tony Antoniou, her boyfriend when she released this song, dumped her in April 1995 the day after she gave birth to their son, Jordan. She didn't see him again until January 1996, when she called him after being questioned by police about Antoniou, who was a suspect in the murder of his stepfather. Gabrielle called to let him know and allowed him to stay with her. Antoniou was later arrested and confessed to stabbing his stepfather 52 times before cutting off his head and burying it in the woods. At the 1997 trial, Gabrielle was called as a witness. "I always choose the wrong men," she said.
  • This was originally recorded in 1991 by Gabrielle as a demo with a sample of the guitar of Tracy Chapman's recording of "Fast Car." Produced by Victor Trim, it was initially a limited release on the Victim label before being picked up by Jetstar. Trim and Gabrielle subsequently fell out over business matters but the track began to receive some airplay. However it was deleted after objections by Tracy Chapman to the sample of "Fast Car." The song subsequently was picked up by an A&R man at London's Go! Beat records and they contacted Gabrielle. After signing her, the track was re-recorded without the Chapman sample and it became an international hit.
  • Gabrielle had a regular gig singing at the London club Moonlighting when she wrote the lyrics for "Dreams." Inspiration came from naysayers who told her that singing in the club was the best it would get for her; she fleshed it out into a love song even though she was not in love. "Although I was trying to be creative and make it a love song, I was actually making reference to me wanting to sing," she told The Guardian.
  • Gabrielle wrote this with the composer Tim Laws; it was produced by Richie Fermie. The song is accented by strings played by The Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • This was the first single released by Gabrielle, who was born Louise Gabrielle Bobb in East London. When it shot to #1 in the UK, she became a celebrity there, and she followed it up with more hits, including another #1, "Rise," in 2000. In America, Gabrielle was heard but rarely seen, as "Dreams" got plenty of radio play but the singer remained focused on Britain, choosing to to home life over global domination. He only other American chart entries were "I Wish," which reached #52 in 1994, and "Give Me A Little More Time," which made #112 in 1996.
  • This entered the UK chart at #2, which at the time was the biggest entry for a debuting female artist. It is Gabrielle's biggest selling single in the UK, selling over 500,000 copies.
  • When this became a hit, Victor Trim took Gabrielle to court claiming that he had produced the music for this song and that he owned the lyrics because she had assigned him her rights in a publishing deal that she was supposed to have signed. However it was completely untrue and eventually his lawyers withdrew.
  • The video was directed by Kate Garner of the band Haysi Fantayzee. Garner, who also did the photography for the album, alternated between gritty street scenes and vibrant shots of Gabrielle in an opulent setting. For many, it was the first look at Gabrielle, who wears an eyepatch to hide a droopy eyelid.
  • In 2013, Gabrielle recorded a new version with the producer Naughty Boy for her greatest hits package Now & Always: 20 Years of Dreaming.
  • The producer Alex Ross created a new version of this song in 2017 with male-female, back-and-forth vocals by Dakota and T-Pain.

Comments: 3

  • Victor from Maidenhead, United KingdomJOHN KENNEDY IS A COPYRIGHT PIRATE OF "DREAMS" SUNG BY GABRIELLE.John Kennedy's audacious quote from Timesonline: Click: http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article5808865.ece "I want Pirate Bay to close down," he said. "I want some compensation and I want it to be clear people cannot steal other people's property without there being consequences" ---------------------------------------- Throughout the 3 years injunction, preparing for trial, I naturally had many meetings with my commercial lawyers Richard Bray, and John Kennedy. However, after losing the High Court trial, evidence came to light indicating John Kennedy had acted in serious conflict of interests, and colluded throughout this whole period. John had formulated and witnessed the publishing deal contract, between PolyGram and Tim Laws (my studio engineer) in October 1993, based upon Tim owning the "Dreams" copyright. A few weeks prior to trial, in June 1996, John benefited further when he then took up Chairmanship of PolyGram, and wound up J.P. Kennedy & Co.
  • Victor from Maidenhead, United KingdomFurther to the "Dreams" saga is the fact that it is now apparent that my commercial lawyer, John Kennedy, now the head of the International Federation of the Phonogarhic Industry (IFPI), who looked after all my recording transactions before and after creating "Dreams" had acted in serious conflict of interest colluding with my sound engineer and Go! Discs/PolyGram Ltd to steal my copyright while supporting my case that I owned it. More info and my letter to John at the IFPI can be found on the following links:

    SEE COMMENTS 11-13 IN THE LINK BELOW...
    http://www.blogto.com/tech/2009/03/canadian_musics_digital_divide/index.php
  • Victor from Maidenhead, United KingdomTo correct Edward pearce's story on the "Dreams" background, please note that Dreams was a hit in Europe in 1991-1992 on my original Victim Records label. It was Gabrielle's new partnership a year later with Go Discs that applied a court injunction on my original hit version so it did not compete with their rerecoded version because i would not sell my copyright to them. Although an expert witness called Guy Protheroe confirmed in his report that I was the true copyright owner I suffered a conspiracy by the music industry which being presently investigated. Indeed at trial, supplement to Guy Protheroe's 'Expert Report,' Junior Counsel had informed the Legal Aid Board (who funded my legal team) that Gabrielle, and her witnesses, had seriously misled the Court. Regardless, my lawyers, Hamlin Slowe, abandoned me at the steps of the High Court in 1996, and my application to the Court, for an adjournment to seek new representation was refused by the trial Judge, Robin Jacobs, forcing me to litigate in person. Unsuccessful approaches were also made on my witnesses, to prevent them giving evidence. Prior to trial, my lawyers had notified me that Justice Jacobs was a close associate of their firm. As my opponents were fully represented by specialist lawyers and QC's, etc, the refusal of legal representation at trial, undoubtedly, caused me to lose, and inflicted substantial loss on the public fund."
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Did They Really Sing In That Movie?Fact or Fiction

Bradley Cooper, Michael J. Fox, Rami Malek, Reese Witherspoon, Gwyneth Paltrow and George Clooney: Which actors really sang in their movies?

Women Who RockSong Writing

Evelyn McDonnell, editor of the book Women Who Rock, on why the Supremes are just as important as Bob Dylan.

Stephen Christian of AnberlinSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist for Anberlin breaks down "Impossible" and covers some tracks from their 2012 album Vital.

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

Danny KortchmarSongwriter Interviews

Danny played guitar on Sweet Baby James, Tapestry, and Running On Empty. He also co-wrote many hit songs, including "Dirty Laundry," "Sunset Grill" and "Tender Is The Night."

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"They're Playing My Song

Chris and his wife Tina were the rhythm section for Talking Heads when they formed The Tom Tom Club. "Genius of Love" was their blockbuster, but David Byrne only mentioned it once.