These Dreams

Album: Heart (1985)
Charted: 8 1

Songfacts®:

  • Up to the Heart album, the band wrote most of their own songs. In 1985, they signed with Columbia Records and got help from some experienced songwriters. This was one was written by Bernie Taupin and Martin Page. Taupin is most famous as Elton John's lyricist, but in the mid-'80s he wrote lyrics outside of Elton's orbit, including two that were huge hits.

    Taupin chose Martin Page to compose the music because he was impressed with Martin's group Q-Feel, which had a popular song in Los Angeles called "Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)." The first song Taupin and Page composed was "We Built This City," which was a #1 hit for Starship. The second was "These Dreams," which was originally titled "Boys In The Mist." Taupin wrote the song for Stevie Nicks with a dreamlike feel typical of her work. She turned it down, so Page composed the music and changed the title.

    In a Songfacts interview with Martin Page, he explained: "I didn't quite vibe off of that title, and although I'd only just started with Bernie, the bridge was the chorus to me - it said 'these dreams' was the bridge. I moved the bridge into the chorus and used 'boys in the mist' in a verse setting."

    Heart took the song, and it became their first #1 hit.
  • Nancy Wilson sang lead on this track. Her sister Ann typically handled lead vocals, but when they heard the demo the group thought it suited Nancy's voice. Nancy had a nasty cold when she first recorded her vocals, but their producer Ron Nevison liked some of the raspiness. When Nancy was feeling better, they recorded more takes in her healthy voice, with Nancy doing her best to re-create the raspy parts Nevison liked.
  • On the album, this song was dedicated to Sharon Hess, a good friend of Nancy Wilson's who died of Leukemia. Sharon's sister, Shannon Hess-Terlop, told Songfacts the story:

    "Sharon was a fan who had a custom, handmade blue acoustic guitar made for Nancy. It was her dying wish to meet Nancy and give it to her. She did get her wish, and was able to spend several days in the recording studio with the band while they were working on this album. She died four weeks later, on Nancy's birthday.

    The reason for choosing that particular song for the dedication was simply because it was the only song on the album where Nancy sang lead vocals.

    Nancy and Sharon became very close, bonded even during the time she was in California with Nancy. In Nancy's words: Sharon was my 'soulmate of the sea.' When Sharon got very ill during her visit, and was unable to leave her hotel room, it was Nancy, and Scotty Olson (her then guitar roadie and later bandmate) who got her out of the hotel, and drove her to the hospital on the Presidio in San Francisco (Sharon was US Army).

    Nancy later came back to visit Sharon in the hospital, when things were looking so very bleak, we thought she might not make it back home at all. This was the first time I met Nancy. When she arrived, after greeting my mother and myself, she just went into Sharon's room, climbed up on the bed and lay down beside her (Sharon was sleeping). That visit buoyed Sharon's spirits so much, that to her doctor's amazement, she was able to make the horrible trip home via military transport, and she died a few weeks later."

    Here are some photos of Sharon and Nancy.
  • In 1985, MTV had been around for four years, and it was clear that music videos were very important. For "These Dreams," Heart enlisted director Jeff Stein to create a dreamy clip with lots of water, wind, and close-up shots of the Wilson sisters. Along with their clips for "What About Love" and "Never," the video helped bring Heart into the MTV era and introduced them to a new audience.
  • After Stevie Nicks turned down this song, it was offered to Kim Carnes, who had previously recorded a few songs Martin Page had written, including "Invisible Hands" and "I Pretend." Carnes liked "These Dreams," but didn't like the vocal range required to sing it, so she passed. The song found its way to Heart thanks to Peter Wolf - not the J. Geils lead singer but a musician/producer who played on the Heart album. Wolf had produced Page's song "We Built This City" when he was working for Starship, played the demo for The Wilson sister, who decided to record it.
  • When Songfacts spoke with Martin Page, he talked about his inspiration for this song's music. Said Page: "With 'These Dreams,' you could see it was such a beautiful, ethereal lyric, which touched on elements of 'Candle In The Wind.' It had that sense of absolute beauty about it. When I sat down to write it, I wrote it as an electric hymn. I tried to do a demo which sounded like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark doing 'Candle in the Wind.' To have an 'Enola Gay' feeling about it, so you had a feeling of a hymn.

    I love English choral music, so it's interesting that on 'These Dreams,' I wanted to make it modern. The demo is much more, shall we say, experimental and more like the Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark kind of thing, yet Heart broke it down to its essence and made it very simplistic. I think in a way that's what really made it such a successful record."
  • "These Dreams" was part of an impressive resurgence for Heart, which by 1985 was a very different band than the '70s iteration responsible for rockers like "Crazy On You" and "Barracuda." That lineup - the one that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 - had six members, only three of whom were left by the time they did the Heart album: Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, and multi-instrumentalist Howard Leese. The rhythm section was bass player Mark Andes and drummer Denny Carmassi.

    This lineup earned them a far broader audience thanks to accessible hits like "These Dreams," "What About Love," and the chart-topper "Alone" from their next album, Bad Animals. Heart's legacy, though, rests in their groundbreaking '70s output when they defied rock convention by storming the gates with two female leaders who wrote most of their songs. Even more impressive: They broke through from Canada, where they had moved from America so guitarist Roger Fisher could avoid the Vietnam War.
  • The album was produced by Ron Nevison, who Heart approved because he had worked with Led Zeppelin. In a Songfacts interview with Nevison, he said: "My manager sent me a cassette of five songs that Bernie Taupin had written - because he managed Bernie Taupin - and one of these was 'These Dreams.' I listened to it on the plane, and I felt, 'This is going to be great for Nancy.' Never dreaming it would be a #1 hit."
  • When the TV show Family Guy did their take on the Jack and the Beanstalk fairytale, an animated Heart appeared, performing this song with with lyrics altered to "These Beans," and then playing "What About Love" as "What About Beans." The episode, which aired January 12, 2014, was called "Grimm Job." Ann and Nancy Wilson re-recorded their vocals for the bit.

Comments: 20

  • Left Head Kick from Middle Class Usa This song makes me think of someone I spent many years with. She had a place on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.
    Hearing the words: “spare a little candle, save some light for me” makes me think of her and that place on Milpas Street. That’s almost something she would say.

    I remember we would be up there and sometimes during the summertime it will be so hot we would open up the screen on the balcony and see the moon.
    “Save some light for me.”

    A couple times during the summertime we would cook and take the food outside, with the moon right above us.

    “The sweetest song is silence that I ever heard” - that sounds like something she would tell me as well.

    I felt I could be vulnerable around her, that I could open up to her. Somethings I didn’t want her to see about me, but I shared most things with her. The important stuff.

    Sometimes you miss the simplest things:
    1) how someone smiles when they open the door
    2) how you may fall asleep next to someone, or put their hand on you.

    Certain people stay with you after they’re gone. Their spirit, their heart, their voice, whatever. Something stays with you.

    This was before a lot of things happened, but a part of her is still with me. I still talk to her in my mind and when I feel her spirit come to visit. She’s the only person I ever really opened up to. “Save some light for me.”

    I will.
  • Carri from TxThis is about the Wiccan religion or whatever you want to call it. I saw the lyrics as well. Looked up I believe where it was produced or something a while back. And it had ties to the Wiccan movement. Magic spells and so on. The sisters are also Wiccans. Love the Album. I’m not Wiccan just like their music. I can relate to it. I’m an Empath and can feel the energy around me. Not fun. That has nothing to do with magic!
  • Rachel from NjI love this song! It is so pretty!
  • Bob from IndianaI like this song, thanks for posting. I like their song called "Never" which is on this album as well. I'm surprised you guys don't have that song on here, oh well.
  • Ozzyjohnny from Surfers Paradise AustraliaDonald Marshall stipulates this track has sinister undertones that upon investigation actually check out.
    The song, he states was actually written describing the state[s] of mind when under the hypnotic effects of M.K.Ultra & also when one's having an O.B.E. The chorus and the verse mentioning the glass wall are quite fitting. Either way it's truly an ethereal song which seems to hide a deeper darker meaning than what mainstream music journalism provides.
  • Reela from Los AngelesThis song is about taking drugs.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenTwo things: First, I previously read a capsule about this song that said Nancy's guide vocal, recorded when she had the bad cold, was the one they actually went with after trying unsuccessfully to duplicate her "raspiness." Second, thanks be to heaven that neither Nicks nor Carnes (especially the latter) got their hands on this song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 12th 1986, "These Dreams" by Heart entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #54; and nine weeks later on March 16th, 1986 it peaked at #1 for one week...
    And on March 9th, 1986 it also reached #1 {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    The record it replaced at #1 on both charts was "Sara" by Starship...
    Between 1976 and 1993 the Canadian quintet had thirty Top 100 records; nine made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, their other #1 record was "Alone", for three weeks on July 5th, 1987...
    They just missed having a third #1 record when "All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You"* peaked at #2 for 2 weeks on May 20th, 1990 {the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Vogue" by Madonna}...
    * Personally, my favorite Heart record.
  • Frank from Best (near Eindhoven & Psv), NetherlandsHas to be one of the "greatest" rock and roll ballad of all time. Really Great.
  • Coy from Palestine, TxHas to be the "worst" rock and roll ballad of all time. Really stupid.
  • Xav from Chicago, IlActually, I believe "Alone" is their biggest hit. But this was their first #1. Like other hard rock groups, their biggest hits are on the ballad-y side. (Although "Alone" has that arena rock sound--the slick 'eighties production took them further away from their original Seattle sound.)
  • Joe from Sheridan, OrI just downloaded this Album. Ah, memories. I was a 9 or 10 year old watching too much MTV. I just wanted to tell everyone that I distinctly remember this song was "The Number one Video of All Time" in a top 200 (or 100 or 500 or whatever) videos of all time countdown I watched in about '88. So, the video had been out a couple years. I was pretty surprised that was the winner, at the time. Funny how this was their biggest hit, and the only one Nancy sang.
  • Courtney from Salt Lake City, UtThis song reminds me of my ex boyfriend, the love of my life and soul mate. I dream about him all the time no matter what I do I can't seem to get over him...For some reason this song reminds me of him. I just recently found out he is getting married in two weeks. "I want to see him cleary...All I remember are the dreams in the mist." I miss him very much. I "live another life in my dreams."
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThis did not become a hit in the UK until 1988 when made No.8 after it was re-released to cash in on the success of UK Top 3 success 'Alone' in 1987. Follow-up 'What About Love' also went Top 20 in the UK on re-release in 1988, but Heart's only other major UK success since this spell was their surprise 1990 UK Top 10 hit 'All I Wanna Do (Is Make Love To You)' from the 'Brigade' album.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiaboth were good sorts as well, did here Anne always had a weight problem ,went as far as having her stomach reduced
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaBest show I ever saw (and i've seen EVERYONE) was
    Heart at empire staduim in Vancouver around 1980.
  • Zoey from Athens , Al"Funny how your feet in dreams never touch the earth". Thats the best line in this entire song. I never really listened to the lyrics until I came across this line and everything fell into place. Dreams really are amazing and you never really touch the ground. Amazing someone would come up with that ... or even think like that. I love it!
  • Lalya from Mission Viejo, CaAnn and Nancy Wilson are two REAL rock n roll women. I love everything they've done and wish we had more female rockers today.
  • Honzin from Prague, Czech RepublicWonderful lyrics!!
  • Janetlee from Panama City, FlI really like this song, but Magic Man and Crazy Over You are my 2 favorites by Heart. They also do my favorite version of Tell It Like It Is !!
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