Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Dreams and classic songs
#1
Does anyone ever wonder what's at the origin of some of the most well-known pop songs having come through to their composers in dreams?

Like McCartney with Yesterday, which he just called Scrambled Eggs for a few years before he wrote the lyrics:





Or Keith Richards having the riff for Satisfaction coming also while sleeping:





Billy Joel said the whole melody and chords for Just the Way You Are came through in a dream:
  • On a July 16, 2006 blog for the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun, Joel said that he dreamt the melody and chord progression and wrote the lyrics over a few days after the dream recurred. He added that the drum pattern was suggested by his producer at the time, Phil Ramone.
  • Joel expanded to USA Today: "I dreamt the melody, not the words. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and going, 'This is a great idea for a song.' A couple of weeks later, I'm in a business meeting, and the dream reoccurs to me right at that moment because my mind had drifted off from hearing numbers and legal jargon. And I said, 'I have to go!' I got home and I ended up writing it all in one sitting, pretty much. It took me maybe two or three hours to write the lyrics."
    http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=810


[-] The following 5 users Like Ninshub's post:
  • Typoz, tim, Laird, chuck, Doug
Reply
#2
McCartney also wrote Let It Be through a powerful dream of his deceased mother Mary. (People have sometimes mistakenly interpreted that part of the song as the Virgin Mary.)

Quote:I was going through a really difficult time around the autumn of 1968. It was late in the Beatles’ career and we had begun making a new album, a follow-up to the “White Album.” As a group we were starting to have problems. I think I was sensing the Beatles were breaking up, so I was staying up late at night, drinking, doing drugs, clubbing, the way a lot of people were at the time. I was really living and playing hard.

The other guys were all living out in the country with their partners, but I was still a bachelor in London with my own house in St. John’s Wood. And that was kind of at the back of my mind also, that maybe it was about time I found someone, because it was before I got together with Linda.

So, I was exhausted! Some nights I’d go to bed and my head would just flop on the pillow; and when I’d wake up I’d have difficulty pulling it off, thinking, “Good job I woke up just then or I might have suffocated.”

Then one night, somewhere between deep sleep and insomnia, I had the most comforting dream about my mother, who died when I was only 14. She had been a nurse, my mum, and very hardworking, because she wanted the best for us. We weren’t a well-off family- we didn’t have a car, we just about had a television – so both of my parents went out to work, and Mum contributed a good half to the family income. At night when she came home, she would cook, so we didn’t have a lot of time with each other. But she was just a very comforting presence in my life. And when she died, one of the difficulties I had, as the years went by, was that I couldn’t recall her face so easily. That’s how it is for everyone, I think. As each day goes by, you just can’t bring their face into your mind, you have to use photographs and reminders like that.

So in this dream twelve years later, my mother appeared, and there was her face, completely clear, particularly her eyes, and she said to me very gently, very reassuringly: “Let it be.”

It was lovely. I woke up with a great feeling. It was really like she had visited me at this very difficult point in my life and gave me this message: Be gentle, don’t fight things, just try and go with the flow and it will all work out.

So, being a musician, I went right over to the piano and started writing a song: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me”… Mary was my mother’s name… “Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” There will be an answer, let it be.” It didn’t take long. I wrote the main body of it in one go, and then the subsequent verses developed from there: “When all the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.”

I thought it was special, so I played it to the guys and ’round a lot of people, and later it also became the title of the album, because it had so much value to me, and because it just seemed definitive, those three little syllables. Plus, when something happens like that, as if by magic, I think it has a resonance that other people notice too.

Not very long after the dream, I got together with Linda, which was the saving of me. And it was as if my mum had sent her, you could say.

The song is also one of the first things Linda and I ever did together musically. We went over to Abbey Road Studios one day, where the recording sessions were in place. I lived nearby and often used to just drop in when I knew an engineer would be there and do little bits on my own. And I just thought, “Oh it would be good to try harmony in mind, and although Linda wasn’t a professional singer, I’d heard her sing around the house, and knew she could hold a note and sing that high.
So she tried it, and it worked and it stayed on the record. You can hear it to this day.

These days, the song has become almost like a hymn. We sang it at Linda’s memorial service. And after September 11 the radio played it a lot, which made it the obvious choice for me to sing when I did the benefit concert in New York City. Even before September 11th, people used to lean out of cars and trucks and say, “Yo, Paul, let it be.”

So those words are really very special to me, because not only did my mum come to me in a dream and reassure me with them at a very difficult time in my life – and sure enough, things did get better after that – but also, in putting them into a song, and recording it with the Beatles, it became a comforting, healing statement for other people too.

Paul McCartney

Outtake from January 1969 recording session:


[-] The following 5 users Like Ninshub's post:
  • Typoz, Hurmanetar, tim, Laird, Doug
Reply
#3
John Lennon also wrote this song based on a dream with spirits singing to him:


Quote:May Pang: This was one of John's favorite songs, because it literally came to him in a dream. He woke up and wrote down those words along with the melody. He had no idea what it meant, but he thought it sounded beautiful. John arranged the strings in such a way that the song really does sound like a dream. It was the last song written for the album, and went thru a couple of title changes: So Long Ago, and Walls & Bridges.

The album Walls And Bridges was recorded in July and August 1974. By that time Lennon had settled on the title #9 Dream, and had a chorus refrain - Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé - which he claimed had come to him in a dream. The words had no meaning, but summed up the ethereal atmosphere Lennon conjured up in the lyrics and production.

https://www.beatlesbible.com/people/john...s/9-dream/





So long ago
Was it in a dream, was it just a dream?
I know, yes I know
Seemed so very real, it seemed so real to me
Took a walk down the street
Through the heat whispered trees
I thought I could hear (hear, hear, hear)
Somebody call out my name as it started to rain
Two spirits dancing so strange

Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé

Dream, dream away
Magic in the air, was magic in the air?
I believe, yes I believe
More I cannot say, what more can I say?
On a river of sound
Through the mirror go around, around
I thought I could feel (feel, feel, feel)
Music touching my soul, something warm, sudden cold
The spirit dance was unfolding
[-] The following 3 users Like Ninshub's post:
  • tim, Laird, Doug
Reply
#4
Great posts, Ian ! There's no set rules for how songwriters get their inspiration. Let it be is one of my favourite songs, it's makes my hair stand on end to be honest, not least because of the origin of the hook (which is also the title).

Many people (don't mean you, Ian) think that Lennon and McCartney wrote their songs in collaboration... words McCartney, music/melody Lennon or vice versa but in fact they both wrote the words and music themselves and only occasionally chipped in with something for each other. Neither of them could read music either as is the case with the vast majority of modern songwriters. It's one the great misnomers and it puts a lot of people off even trying to write a song but it doesn't matter one jot.

Writers get their ideas from literally anything, and they may write it down on the back of a cigarette packet or on the back of their hand. You can start with the words or the music, doesn't matter but whatever you write you have to work on it (particularly lyrically)  and not just be satisfied with the first attempts. You can nearly always improve a lyric if you give it a bit of time, put it away in a drawer and look at it again with fresh eyes a week later.

Then you see it (more clearly the value of what you've created) without being biased (We're all  precious about our own creations unfortunately) 

I would encourage anyone to have a go > IF < they feel they have the talent and an enormous amount of patience especially if you just want to write and not sing your own stuff. Unfortunately it's almost impossible these days (and has been since about 1980) for new writers to get a cover (ie persuade a record company to use one of your songs for their artists). It's a closed shop and unless you "know" someone in the business with some real "clout" or influence your songs will forever be ignored, even if they are good.

Why is that ? When a successful recording artist is looking for a new song, they approach songwriters who are already successful (with a proven track record of hits). Nepotism, like anything. Even if a publishing company has signed a song of yours (which in itself takes some doing) (and you don't get an advance BTW) and actually intends to promote that product to said singer, it will be amongst literally hundreds of others, the competition is so great and it's not likely that yours will even be seriously considered in competition with Marvin Hamlisch (now sadly deceased)

That's the way it is but of course you just never know and just one hit song can make the writer a considerable amount of money without him/her having to do anything, particularly if it's covered by other artists and picked up by advertising agencies.

I haven't really answered your question of course, only the writers themselves can do that but I accept McCartneys explanation for Let it be and it sounds like an after death communication to me, but who knows.
[-] The following 2 users Like tim's post:
  • Ninshub, Doug
Reply
#5
There's also a violin sonata by Giuseppe Tartini (1692–1770) which was allegedly based on music played on Tartini's violin by the devil in a dream:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin_Son..._(Tartini)

Interestingly, although it's viewed as his best work, Tartini reportedly said it was far inferior to what he had heard in his dream.



"There are more things in philosophy than are dreamt of in heaven and earth."
[-] The following 3 users Like Chris's post:
  • Ninshub, Oleo, Typoz
Reply
#6
I'm more impressed when the music (rather than lyrics) comes through the dream, and where it becomes a defining artist's song (Yesterday, Satisfaction) rather than the songwriter being inspired by the dream (although a song like Let It Be is also impressive when it seems like there was the possibility of a spirit communication), but here's another status-defining classic in the latter category:

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix - arguably his best-known song.

Quote:Hendrix claimed this was inspired by a dream where he was walking under the sea. In the dream, he said a purple haze surrounded him, engulfed him and got him lost. It was a traumatic experience, but in his dream his faith in Jesus saved him.
At one point, Hendrix wrote the chorus as "Purple Haze, Jesus Saves," but decided against it.
http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2553

Also, Sting got the key lines from Every Breath You Take in a dream, the Police's biggest hit:

Quote:'I've never had a partner. I sometimes wish I had. It means I have to compete with myself. Some songs take months. The best come quickly and are very simple. They are given to you.' Perhaps his best known is 'Every Breath You Take' (. . . I'll be watching you). 'I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour.
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style...20343.html
Reply
#7
(11-28-2017, 03:09 AM)Ninshub Wrote: I'm more impressed when the music (rather than lyrics) comes through the dream, and where it becomes a defining artist's song (Yesterday, Satisfaction) rather than the songwriter being inspired by the dream (although a song like Let It Be is also impressive when it seems like there was the possibility of a spirit communication), but here's another status-defining classic in the latter category:

Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix - arguably his best-known song.


Also, Sting got the key lines from Every Breath You Take in a dream, the Police's biggest hit:

Thanks, Ian. I didn't know that about Hendrix, very interesting ! Did Sting mean by that line "I'll be watching you" that he woke up with the melody attached to it ? Dunno but it's a haunting song. I used to like it more than I do now, but I'm getting old and tastes change on some things.
[-] The following 1 user Likes tim's post:
  • Ninshub
Reply
#8
(11-28-2017, 02:01 PM)tim Wrote: Thanks, Ian. I didn't know that about Hendrix, very interesting ! Did Sting mean by that line "I'll be watching you" that he woke up with the melody attached to it ? Dunno but it's a haunting song. I used to like it more than I do now, but I'm getting old and tastes change on some things.
I think he meant that the woke up with the line "Every breath you take I'll be watching you", but no melody (I assumed).

The rest of the quote: "The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn't realise at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control. These were the Reagan, Star Wars years. Oh God, now you'll say I'm being pretentious . . . "
Reply
#9
(11-28-2017, 02:16 PM)Ninshub Wrote: I think he meant that the woke up with the line "Every breath you take I'll be watching you", but no melody (I assumed).

The rest of the quote: "The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn't realise at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control. These were the Reagan, Star Wars years. Oh God, now you'll say I'm being pretentious . . . "

"Oh God, now you'll say I'm being pretentious . . . "

Not at all, Ian. I suppose it could be looked at as being sinister (l'll be watching you) but the melody is too pleasant to draw focus on that IMHO.
Reply
#10
I wish I were better at listening to lyrics. I tend to listen to songs for the music and only pick up the odd lines and chorus. However, when I force myself to really listen, I find so much treasure. Bob Dylan is in a class of his own yet it is only in recent years I have made a point of taking in the lyrics and the man is a great poet. 

As for dreams, there's obviously his song, Bob Dylan's Dream:


Quote:While riding on a train going west
I fell asleep for to take my rest
I dreamed a dream that made me sad
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had

And then the dream theme appears in other classics such as Talking World War 3 Blues:

Quote:One time ago a crazy dream came to me
I dreamt I was walkin' into World War Three
I went to the doctor the very next day
To see what kinda words he could say
He said it was a bad dream
I wouldn't worry 'bout it none, though
Them old dreams are only in your head

And, without mentioning a dream at all, what could be more dreamlike (or nightmarish) than Desolation Row? One of my all time favourite songs:




Quote:They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad, they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row

Cinderella, she seems so easy
It takes one to know one, she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning
“You Belong to Me I Believe”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place my friend
You'd better leave”
And the only sound that’s left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row

Now the moon is almost hidden
The stars are beginning to hide
The fortune-telling lady
Has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel
And The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love
Or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing
He’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row

Ophelia, she’s ’neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon
Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking
Into Desolation Row

Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk
Now he looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
You would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world
Inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients
They’re trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser
She’s in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read
“Have Mercy on His Soul”
They all play on the pennywhistle
You can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough
From Desolation Row

Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains
They’re getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera
In a perfect image of a priest
They are spoon feeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words
And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls
“Get outta here if you don’t know
Casanova is just being punished for going
To Desolation Row”

At midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody’s shouting
“Which side are you on?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

Yes, I received your letter yesterday
(About the time the doorknob broke)
When you asked me how I was doing
Or's that some kinda joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can’t read too good
Don’t send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them
From Desolation Row
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” ― C.G. Jung
[-] The following 1 user Likes Kamarling's post:
  • Oleo
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)