Begun as an experiment, ‘Sweet Dreams’ launched Eurythmics to international stardom and is still filling dancefloors to this day.
With its strident electro beat and pulsing analogue synth riff, topped with Annie Lennox’s hooky, almost sinister nursery rhyme‑like vocal, Eurythmics’ 1983 single ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’ is an instantly recognisable track that became a Top 10 hit the world over, reaching number two in the UK and number one in the States. Produced and co‑written by Dave Stewart, Lennox’s partner in the duo, it was the breakthrough song that made their careers, ending a run of five flop singles.
Still, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’ was anything but a calculated attempt to have a hit, being a three‑and‑a‑half minute pop song which broke with traditional structure by essentially having no chorus (its verses providing the hookline). At first, even Eurythmics’ paymasters at their record label RCA weren’t convinced that the track was strong enough to be a single. “The record label were not really interested in us,” Stewart remembers today. “I kept going in there and I’d say, ‘Look, we’re doing really great things.’ They just couldn’t understand it.”
All of that changed with the song’s release in the UK on 21st January 1983, when Eurythmics brought a dash of colour, femininity and soul to the mainly bloke‑ish world of ’80s synth pop. What had initially started out as Stewart and Lennox’s experiment with synthesizers and an eight‑track tape machine above a picture framing shop in London’s Chalk Farm went on to become a timeless pop and club anthem. “All hell let loose,” says Stewart. “Every country in the world was playing ‘Sweet Dreams’, from Norway to Australia to Israel... it didn’t matter where.
“We were in a little bubble away from anything that was going on in the pop music world. So that’s why we didn’t sound like anybody in the pop music world at the time.”
Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox were no strangers to the charts, having enjoyed two hits with their previous band the Tourists: their 1979 cover of Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ and...
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