Song of the Day: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” (or simply “Sweet Dreams“) is a song written and performed by the British pop music duo Eurythmics (Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart). It was released as a single in early 1983, the title track of their album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), one of their biggest hits, and the song which provided the group with their breakthrough into commercial success. Its striking music video helped to propel the song to #2 on the UK singles chart and to their only #1 ranking on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, on 3 September 1983, after The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” had held it off at #2 for four consecutive weeks in August. It was the fourth and final single released from the Sweet Dreams album in the UK and the first ever single to be released by Eurythmics in the United States.


Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Hold your head up, keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on, keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on, keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on, keep your head up

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused

Hold your head up, keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on, keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on, keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on, keep your head up

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something


The original recording’s main instrumentation featured a sequenced analog synthesizer riff, which Stewart accidentally discovered in the studio when he played a bass track backwards. Apart from the synthesizer, the arrangement also utilises a Movement Systems Drum Computer, a piano in the middle eight, and Lennox’s multitracked harmony vocals.

In the book Annie Lennox: The Biography, Lennox explained that this song is about the search for fulfillment, and the “Sweet Dreams” are the desires that motivate us.

Stewart and Lennox had very little money, and were thrilled when a bank gave them a loan to buy some equipment and make a record. They made the most of their meager budget, using an 8 track recorder and a complicated drum machine Stewart drove 200 miles to procure. They made the most of their 8 tracks, with Stewart’s Roland synthesizer and Lennox’ Kurzweil keyboard added to the drum pattern Stewart created, forming the basis for the song. As Stewart tells it in his Songbook, Lennox was a bit depressed, but coming up with this track snapped her out of it and she quickly came up with the “Sweet Dreams are made of this” and “Some of them want to use you” lyrics. Says Stewart: “I suggested there had to be another bit, and that bit should be positive. So in the middle we added these chord changes rising upwards with ‘Hold your head up, moving on.’ To us it was a major breakthrough. It just goes from beginning to end and the whole song is a chorus, there is not one note that is not a hook.” ( interview with Dave Stewart.)

The song ends with a keyboard fade out, but when Eurythmics played it live, they changed the arrangement and ended the song with the lyrics “Keep your head up” so it would end with a sense of hope.

Marilyn Manson cover

Marilyn Manson added some extra lines to the lyrics that are not present in the Eurythmics version: “I wanna use you and abuse you/I wanna know what’s inside you,” along with “I’m gonna use you and abuse you/I gotta know what’s inside you.”

In 2010 the music video was rated the “Scariest music video ever made” by Billboard, beating Michael Jacksons Thriller for the top spot.

Emily Browning cover

Actress Emily Browning made a slow version cover of this song for her movie Sucker Punch, accompanying a scene of Browning’s character being taken to an institution and on the film’s soundtrack.

Other cover versions

  • Macedonian darkwave band Mizar recorded an Orthodox folk version for their second album Svjat Dreams. An early version from 1989 appears on the compilation Svedozhba.
  • Soul Rebels Brass Band covered the song on their Rounder Records debut record, Unlock Your Mind, released on January 31, 2012, and they performed the song on Later with Jools Holland in 2011.
  • Italian-based Croatian singer Sharon C. covered the song for her same-titled debut single released in 1997, and since then it has been featured on many compilations including Dancemania 8.
  • Polish band Moonlight covered the song for their 1999 EP Flos.
  • French electroclash duo Miss Kittin & The Hacker covered the song for their 1999 EP Intimités.
  • Actress Maria Bello performed the song in the movie Duets (2000), which is included on the soundtrack.
  • “Sweet Dreams” was partially covered by Geri Halliwell as a medley with her song, “Scream If You Wanna Go Faster” in late 2004.
  • Finnish a cappella group Club for Five recorded a cover of the song.
  • Brazilian singer Badi Assad covered the song for her 2006 album Wonderland.
  • Brazilian singer Danni Carlos covered the song for her 2006 album Rock ´n´ Road Movies.
  • German singer Thomas Anders (formerly of Modern Talking) recorded a jazzy, lounge music cover of the song for his 2006 solo album Songs Forever.
  • Australian girlgroup Girlband recorded a cover of the song for their unreleased debut album.
  • Tanghetto, the neo-tango band based in Buenos Aires recorded and released the song as part of their El Miedo a la Libertad album in 2008. Their cover is an instrumental version, where thebandoneon takes the “role” of the lead voice.
  • American Christian rock singer Krystal Meyers covered the song on the 2008 Japanese release of her third album Make Some Noise.
  • Ukrainian pop/rock band Lama covered the song as “Світ мрій” (“World of Dreams”) for their 2008 album Світло і Тінь (Light and Shadow).
  • The German Underground rapper Frauenarzt covered the sample of this song as “Feuchte Träume” on Feuchte Träume (Gastparts 3) in 2008.
  • The melody was featured in the U96 featuring Das Bo single “Mr. DJ, Put on the Red Light” and was sung by Tryna Loules, who released it in 2006.
  • Sylvie Vartan covered it in French (1983) under the title “Déprime”, famous for its deep rhymes.
  • In a 2002 episode of The Simpsons, “Half-Decent Proposal”, at the end of the episode, Artie Ziff (Jon Lovitz) begins to sing the song through a speaker, culminating with the lyrics “I am watching you through a camera!”
  • Doctor Steel covered the chorus of “Sweet Dreams” in the end of his song “Lullaby Bye”.
  • French singer Emily Loizeau covered jazz version of “Sweet Dreams” on her album Pays Sauvage (Track 15).
  • The German/Greek a cappella band Five Live covered “Sweet Dreams” on their album Five Live live (track 4).
  • Delta Goodrem covered ‘Sweet Dreams’ on her 2008 Believe Again Tour . The cover was later released on the CD/DVD release of the tour.
  • Tori Amos covered the song live in Boston, MA while on her Original Sinsuality Tour in 2005.
  • The German pop-singer Judith Hildebrandt performed the song live on 23 April 2009 in the Ultimative Chart-Show.
  • Japanese musician Tomoyasu Hotei covered it on his 2009 cover album Modern Times Rock’N’Roll.
  • Allison Crowe recorded a stripped-down acoustic version of “Sweet Dreams” for a Hollywood movie project in mid-2010
  • Korean girl group Girls’ Generation covered this song on a music TV show in 2010.
  • Singer Kitty Brucknell covered the song on the fourth live show in the Eighth series of the UK X Factor.
  • British singer Leona Lewis covered the song in her tour The Labyrinth.
  • Danish group WhoMadeWho released a cover version of the song in 2012.
  • The singer of the Belgium band Trigger Finger Ruben Block covered the song for the Dutch television show ‘De Wereld Draait Door’ in 2011.

Remixes and sampling

  • American pop singer Britney Spears used a sample of the song on the song “Everybody” which appeared as an iTunes and Japan bonus track of her 2007 album Blackout. The song was produced by JR Rotem, and was used later as a B-side of her single “Break the Ice”. Spears also used Marilyn Manson’s version of the song in an interlude for The Circus Starring Britney Spears world tour.
  • The American rapper Swing (later on known as Swingfly) released a Euro-pop version of the song featuring Dr Alban. It included additional rap verses but sampling greatly on the original song. The single had chart success in Sweden and in many European clubs.
  • Rapper Nas uses an interpolation of the chorus from “Sweet Dreams” in his 1996 hit “Street Dreams”.
  • Pink and Redman used “Sweet Dreams” in a remix of Pink’s 2001 hit, “Get the Party Started”.
  • Tricky used a sample in the track “You don’t wanna” in the 2001 album Blowback.
  • A eurodance remix of the song, “Sweet Dreams X-Clusive”, was recorded for the 2001 compilation Dancemania Speed 7.
  • Faith Evans sampled the song for the remix of her single “You Gets No Love” featuring original collaborator P. Diddy and rapper G. Dep.
  • Stefy’s song “Chelsea” features a sample of “Sweet Dreams” and was featured in the soundtrack for the 2006 film John Tucker Must Die.
  • Drum and bass group Noisia recorded a remix of the song.
  • Petey Pablo samples “Sweet Dreams” in his song “Get Me Out of Jail”.
  • UK artist M.I.A. mashed “Sweet Dreams” with Pretty Tony’s “Fix It in the Mix” and her own “10 Dollar” to produce the seventeenth track off Diplo and her Piracy Funds Terrorism mixtape.
  • Play-N-Skillz sampled and sped up the famous riff in their song “Get Freaky”, featuring Pitbull.
  • Rapper Busta Rhymes uses as similar riff in his 2009 single “World Go Round” featuring Estelle.
  • Freestyle singer Rockell sampled the bassline and intro in her 1997 single “I Fell in Love”.
  • British electropop group Sohodolls sampled the songs on their song “Trash the Rental” taken from their album Ribbed Music for the Numb Generation.
  • Escape The Fate sampled the intro effect from the Marilyn Manson version, for their song “Lost in Darkness”.
  • The Black Eyed Peas used this song to mix it with their song My Humps.
  • Avicii sampled the song in his mix titled “Swede Dreams”.
  • Beyoncé Knowles used fragments of the song when singing “Sweet Dreams” in Glastonbury.
  • Rapper Ludacris had mixed it with his song Stand Up in a faster tone with the music from the song in the background.
  • Swedish House Mafia have performed and used a remix of this song in their “Until One” Documentary.
  • Panamanian Spanish Reggae singer Aldo Ranks uses an interpolation of this song in his song “Asesina”.

Appearances in other media

  • The song was used on D-TV’s Monster Hits on NBC in 1987.
  • Soul Rebels Brass Band performed their version of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” on Later with Jools Holland in 2011.
  • Eurythmics performed the song at the 1984 Grammy Awards. The live performance of the song was released on the 1994 album Grammy’s Greatest Moments Volume I.
  • The Eurythmics version was used on Season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance, danced by Neil Haskell and Sabra Johnson, choreographed by Mandy Moore. It was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding choreography. The same routine was later used and made slightly longer for the finale of the UK version, danced by Lizzie Gough and Tommy Franzen.
  • The song was used as the theme for NBC’s 1996 made-for-TV thriller, Sweet Dreams, starring Tiffani Thiessen and Amy Yasbeck, using both the original Eurythmics version and the Manson cover.
  • The Eurythmics version was used in the film Striptease.
  • Used in the TV series The Simpsons in the 2002 episode “Half-Decent Proposal”.
  • It was used as the theme song for the 2005 TV reality series, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.
  • A rock cover performed by Theo Crous was used in a VW Golf GTI MkV commercial.
  • The Manson cover was used in a 2006 Fiat Grande Punto commercial.
  • The song was used in the first episode of series three of the British drama Ashes to Ashes, on the series unveiling of Gene Hunt’s Audi Quattro on Alex Drake’s noting that “There’s nothing for it – let’s fire up the Quattro”.
  • The original version of the song was used in Everybody Hates Chris.
  • Used in American Pie: The Wedding during the dance off scene.
  • The track was used in the Flynn’s Arcade scene on Tron: Legacy.
  • In the Parks and Recreation episode “Telethon”, “Pawnee’s most bookable talent” Denise Yermley sings the song during a telethon.
  • Both the original and the Marilyn Manson cover version were used in the pilot of the 2011 TV series Grimm.
  • It was used on the YouTube video for See No Evil, where it was sung by Jacob Goodnight (played by Glenn Jacobs), lip syncing Manson’s lips; voices from the cast of the film can be heard as well, including Samantha Noble, Luke Pegler, Michael J. Pagan and other actors and actresses.
  • The Manson cover was used for the credits in one of the episodes of Luther TV series.
  • The song was used in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
  • This song was also covered by Emily Browning, and her cover of the song appeared in the movie Sucker Punch.
  • This song was performed by a musical couple in the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. Video became viral and got 15M+ views at the “Youtube”.


Eurythmics were a British music duo consisting of members Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart, now disbanded but known to reunite from time to time.

Origin Sunderland and Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Genres Synthpop, dance-rock, new wave, post-punk, pop rock
Years active 1980–1990, 1999–2005
Labels RCA, Arista
Associated acts The Catch, The Tourists
Past members Annie Lennox
David A. Stewart

[via Wikipedia/Songfacts]

Image: Cycle of Life – by Eddy-Shinjuku

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