Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)

"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" is a song written and performed by the British new wave music duo Eurythmics. The song is the title track of their album of the same name and was released as the fourth and final single from the album in early 1983. The song became their breakthrough hit, establishing the duo worldwide. Its music video helped to propel the song to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was the first single released by Eurythmics in the US.

"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
Artwork for most releases
Single by Eurythmics
from the album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
B-side"I Could Give You A Mirror"
Released21 January 1983 (1983-01-21)
Format7" single, 12" single
Length3:35 (7" single)
4:48 (12" single)
LabelRCA Records
Producer(s)David A. Stewart
Eurythmics singles chronology
"Love Is a Stranger"
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
"Who's That Girl?"

""Love Is a Stranger" (1991 reissue)"

""Sweet Dreams '91" (Remix)"

"I Saved the World Today"
Music video
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" on YouTube

"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" is arguably Eurythmics' signature song. Following its success, their previous single, "Love Is a Stranger", was re-released and also became a worldwide hit. On Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time issue in 2003, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" was ranked number 356.[3] Eurythmics have regularly performed the song in all their live sets since 1982, and it is often performed by Annie Lennox on her solo tours.

In 1991, the song was remixed and reissued to promote Eurythmics' Greatest Hits album. It re-charted in the UK, reaching number 48, and was also a moderate hit in dance clubs. Another remix by Steve Angello was released in France in 2006, along with the track "I've Got a Life" (peaking at number 10).



Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart wrote the song after the Tourists had broken up and they formed Eurythmics. Although the two of them also broke up as a couple, they continued to work together. They became interested in electronic music and bought new synthesisers to play around with. According to Stewart, he managed to produce the beat and riff of the song on one of their new synthesisers, and Lennox, on hearing it, said: "What the hell is that?" and started playing on another synthesiser, and beginnings of the song came out of the two duelling synths.[4]

According to Lennox, the lyrics reflected the unhappy time after the break up of the Tourists, when she felt that they were "in a dream world", and that whatever they were chasing was never going to happen. She described the song as saying: "Look at the state of us. How can it get worse?", adding "I was feeling very vulnerable. The song was an expression of how I felt: hopeless and nihilistic." Stewart however thought the lyrics too depressing, and added the "hold your head up, moving on" line to make it more uplifting.[4]

Commenting on the line "Some of them want to use you … some of them want to be abused", Lennox said that "people think it’s about sex or S&M, and it’s not about that at all".[4]


"Sweet Dreams" was created and recorded in two places, first in the Eurythmics' tiny project studio in the Chalk Farm district of London, above a picture framing shop, then in a small room at The Church Studios in North London. The home studio was equipped with a Tascam 8-track half-inch tape recorder, a Soundcraft mixer, a Roland Space Echo, a Klark Teknik DN50 spring reverb, a B.E.L. Electronics noise reduction unit, and a single Beyerdynamic M 201 TG microphone. The gear was purchased second-hand after Lennox and Stewart obtained a bank loan for £5000.[5]

Also purchased with the bank loan was a £2000 Movement Systems Drum Computer, one of only about 30 built, with the Eurythmics having to sleep for a few days at the Bridgwater apartment of the manufacturer while their early prototype unit was being assembled. The MCS Drum Computer provided drum sounds, and also triggered sequences on a Roland SH-101 synthesizer, used for the synth bass line. To fill out the complement of instruments, Lennox played a borrowed Oberheim OB-X for sustained string sounds. Their only microphone, a utilitarian model typically used for hi-hat, performed all the acoustic duties, including tracking Lennox's vocals.[5]

Stewart recalls he was in a manic mood while Lennox was depressed. Stewart was upbeat because he had just survived surgery on a punctured lung, and felt like he had been given a new lease on life. Lennox was feeling low because of the poor results from past musical work. She perked up when she heard Stewart first experimenting with the song's bass line sequence. She "leapt off the floor" and started to fill in the song with the Oberheim synth.[5]

According to Stewart, the record company did not think the song was suitable as a single as it lacked a chorus. However, when a radio DJ in Cleveland kept playing the song from the album, and it generated a strong local response, the label decided to release it.[4]

Chart performance

"Sweet Dreams" was Eurythmics' commercial breakthrough in the United Kingdom and all over the world. The single entered the UK chart at number 63 in February 1983 and reached number two the following month.[6] Although it is one of the most successful songs of the genre Synth-Pop of the 80s, it could not reach the first position, since it was blocked by the successful ballad of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler, only for a week.

"Sweet Dreams" was the first ever single release by Eurythmics in the United States when it was released in May 1983. The single debuted at number 90 and slowly eased up the chart.[7] By August, the single had reached number two and stayed there for four weeks, kept from the top by the Police's "Every Breath You Take" before "Sweet Dreams" took the number one spot.

Music video

The music video for "Sweet Dreams" was directed by Chris Ashbrook and filmed in January 1983, shortly before the single and the album was released. The video received heavy airplay on the then-fledgling MTV channel and is widely considered a classic clip from the early-MTV era.

The music video begins with a fist pounding on a table, with the camera panning up to reveal Lennox in a boardroom, with images of a Saturn V launch projected on a screen behind her, which are later replaced by a shot of a crowd walking down a street. Stewart is shown typing on a computer (actually an MCS drum computer). The camera cuts to Lennox and Stewart meditating on the table. Stewart is next shown playing a cello in a field. The scene then returns to the boardroom, with Lennox and Stewart lying down on the table, and a cow walking around them. Stewart is shown again typing on the computer, with the cow chewing something right next to him. The scene cuts to the duo in a field, with a herd of cows, and Stewart still typing. Lennox and Stewart are then seen floating in a boat, with Stewart again playing a cello. The video ends with Lennox lying in bed, with the last shot being a book on a nightstand bearing a cover identical to the album. The screen then fades to black as Lennox turns off the bedside lamp.

Lennox's androgynous visual image, with close-cropped, orange-coloured hair, and attired in a man's suit brandishing a cane, immediately made her a household name. Her gender-bending image would be further explored in other Eurythmics videos such as "Love Is a Stranger" and "Who's That Girl?".

A second video was also produced, featuring Lennox and Stewart on a train. A close-up shot of Lennox's lips is occasionally seen in the train car's window as she sings the song.[8]

Track listings

7" single

  • A: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" (LP Version) – 3:36
  • B: "I Could Give You A Mirror" (Alternate Version) – 4:15

12" single

  • A: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" (Extended Version) – 4:48
  • B1: "I Could Give You A Mirror" (Alternate Version) – 4:15
  • B2: "Baby's Gone Blue" (Non-LP track) – 4:19

3" CD (1989 re-release)

  1. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (LP version) – 3:36
  2. "I Could Give You a Mirror" (Alternate Version) – 4:15
  3. "Here Comes the Rain Again" (LP Version) – 4:54
  4. "Paint a Rumour" – 7:30

CD single (1991 re-release)

  1. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) ’91 - (3:35)
  2. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Nightmare Remix) - (7:27)
  3. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Hot Remix) (remixed by Giorgio Moroder) - (5:21)
  4. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (House Remix) (remixed by Giorgio Moroder) - (3:34)

Digital Downloading

  1. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Ummet Ozcan Remix) - (3:22)
  2. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Noisia Remix) - (6:02)

Credits and personnel

  • Annie Lennox – vocals, synthesizer, piano
  • David A. Stewart – synthesizer, programming
  • Robert Crash – e-drums, synthesizer
  • Adam Williams – synthesizer
  • Reynard Falconer – synthesizer
  • Brooklyn Wonderland - synthesizer



Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[42] Gold 50,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[43] Platinum 90,000^
France (SNEP)[44] Gold 951,000[44]
Italy (FIMI)[45] Platinum 50,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[46] Platinum 1,000,000
United States (RIAA)[47] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Cover versions

The song has been covered by Marilyn Manson in 1995 and by JX Riders in 2016. The song is also included in the "Backstage Romance" number of Moulin Rouge! (musical), where it is sung in a medley with Bad Romance, Tainted Love, Seven Nation Army, and Toxic. Rapper Nas also has a cover version titled “Street Dreams” on his 1996 album “It Was Written.” The song was also covered by Selena Gomez in 2016 during her Revival Tour.

Marilyn Manson cover

"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
Single by Marilyn Manson
from the album Smells Like Children
FormatCD single
RecordedSummer 1995
  • 4:25 (single edit)
  • 4:53 (album version)
Marilyn Manson singles chronology
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
"The Beautiful People"
Audio sample
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
  • file
  • help
Music video
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" on YouTube

Marilyn Manson released a cover version as the first single from Smells Like Children (1995), an EP of covers, remixes and interludes. In his 1998 autobiography, the band's eponymous vocalist said he fought their label to have this track released as a single, saying: "They didn't want to release [it], which I knew would be a song that even people who didn't like our band would like. [Nothing] wanted to release our version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' 'I Put a Spell on You', which was far too dark, sprawling and esoteric, even for some of our own fans. We battled the label this time, and learned we could win. ... It was a disheartening experience, but it didn't hurt half as much as the fact that no one at our label ever congratulated us on the success of the song."[51]

The track became the band's first legitimate hit. The music video was directed by American photographer Dean Karr,[52] and was shot near downtown Los Angeles. It featured images of the vocalist self-mutilating while wearing a tutu,[53] as well as scenes of him riding a pig.[54] It was placed on heavy rotation on MTV,[55] and was nominated for Best Rock Video at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.[56] In 2010, Billboard rated it the "scariest music video ever made", beating Michael Jackson's "Thriller".[53][54] The video also appeared at number three in the publication's 2013 list of "The 15 Scariest Music Videos Ever".[57] Dave Stewart has said that he liked this version of his song, and that "the video was one of the scariest things [he]'d seen at the time."[58]

The song went on to appear on the band's 2004 greatest hits album, Lest We Forget: The Best Of. It also featured on soundtracks to the films Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005),[59] Gamer (2009),[60] and A Perfect Day (2015),[61] in movies such as House on Haunted Hill (1999),[62] and Trick 'r Treat (2007),[63] as well as the trailer for Wrath of the Titans (2012),[64] in the pilot episode of The Following,[65] on the BBC drama Luther,[66] and the Nature three-part miniseries "Okavango: River of Dreams" [67]. Britney Spears created a music video using Manson's version of the song.[68] This video – also directed by Chris Ashbrook – was used as an interlude on her 2009 concert tour The Circus Starring Britney Spears.[69]

Track listing

  1. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" – 4:25
  2. "Dance of the Dope Hats" (Remix by Anthony Valcic, Dave Ogilvie and Joseph Bishara) – 4:46
  3. "Down in the Park" (Gary Numan cover) – 4:58
  4. "Lunchbox (Next Motherfucker)" (Remix by Charlie Clouser) – 4:47


JX Riders featuring Skylar Stecker version

In 2016, JX Riders featuring Skylar Stecker went to number one on the US dance chart with their version.[78]

See also


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  2. Larry Starr, Christopher Alan Waterman (2007). Oxford University Press (ed.). American popular music: from minstrelsy to MP3, Vol. 1. ISBN 978-0195300536. ""Sweet Dreams" is a good example of commercial new wave music of the early 1980s, an outgrowth of the 1970s new wave/punk scene promoted by major record labels."
  3. "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  4. Simpson, Dave (11 December 2017). "Eurythmics: how we made Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". The Guardian.
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  8. Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams HQ (1983, Bananas) - "alternative video clip". YouTube. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  9. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives: Australian Chart Book. p. 105. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between 1983 and 19 June 1988.
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