Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Fleetwood Mac, “Dreams”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Fleetwood Mac, “Dreams”

37 years ago today, one of Fleetwood Mac’s most beloved songs finally made its way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, almost three months after its initial release as a single: “Dreams,” written by Stevie Nicks.

Given the turmoil and upheaval going on within the ranks of Fleetwood Mac while the band was recording the Rumours album – the relationship between Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham was on the rocks, the marriage of John and Christine McVie was coming to a conclusion, and Mick Fleetwood was in the midst of divorce proceedings – it’s a wonder that the record was even completed, let alone that it produced such a classic single. Somehow or other, though, Nicks slipped off to another studio and…well, we’ll let her tell it, since she offered up the story of writing the song in Blender.

“One day when I wasn't required in the main studio, I took a Fender Rhodes piano and went into another studio that was said to belong to Sly, of Sly & the Family Stone. It was a black-and-red room, with a sunken pit in the middle where there was a piano, and a big black-velvet bed with Victorian drapes. I sat down on the bed with my keyboard in front of me. I found a drum pattern, switched my little cassette player on and wrote 'Dreams' in about 10 minutes. Right away I liked the fact that I was doing something with a dance beat, because that made it a little unusual for me.”

In this case, “a little unusual” definitely proved to be a good thing: Nicks played the song to the rest of the band, they dug it enough to record it the very next day, and…well, of course, you already know the rest of the story.

What you may not know, however, is just how many different versions of “Dreams” are floating around out there, so to celebrate the anniversary of the song hitting #1, we’ve compiled a playlist that features a dozen of ‘em, starting with the original and wrapping up with Nicks’ 2005 reprise of the song with Deep Dish, where she really got to do something with a dance beat.