Thanks to TikTok, yet another song, this time from the ’70s, come to life in 2020. The song is Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Dreams.” The song gained massive traction on TikTok after one man posted a video of him skateboarding whilst the song was playing. However, this song’s mainstream attention is nothing new, as the song peaked at #1 in the US charts, and the only song to do so for Fleetwood Mac. In this article, we dive into the rich and bittersweet history behind this track.
“Dreams” was released as the second single off of Fleetwood Mac’s eleventh studio album ‘Rumors,’ on March 24, 1977. The song was written by the lead vocalist of the band Stevie Nicks.
Story Behind “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
The song captures the feelings of Stevie Nicks who was going through a turbulent time in her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham, guitarist of the band. However, this song did not help their crumbling relationship as Lindsey Buckingham wrote his own response song “Go Your Own Way,” which came out rather aggressive and as the final blow to their relationship.
Stevie Nicks also recalled the night she revealed the song to Lindsey Buckingham; “I remember the night I wrote ‘Dreams.’ I walked in and handed a cassette of the song to Lindsey. It was a rough take, just me singing solo and playing piano. Even though he was mad with me at the time, Lindsey played it and then looked up at me and smiled. What was going on between us was sad. We were couples who couldn’t make it through. But, as musicians, we still respected each other – and we got some brilliant songs out of it.”
In an interview with Q magazine in 2009, Stevie Nicks talked about the battle between these two songs and their impact; “It was the fairy and the gnome. I was trying to be all philosophical. And he was just mad.”
Despite the personal struggles, both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham continued to work together in the band.
Listen to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
“Dreams” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
These lyrics detail the conflicts in the relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Stevie says that Lindsey wanted freedom, and his attempts to achieve it were becoming too daunting to tolerate. It has come to a point where he would just act carelessly in the name of ‘freedom.’ Stevie realizes that she cannot stop him from doing what he wants. She cannot control him. But she knows that he is playing the fool with something good for him as well. He is inviting to a life of loneliness.
Stevie Nicks further emphasizes what lays ahead for Lindsey Buckingham after this relationship falls apart-a complete stillness of everything lively around him, and regret of not protecting the best thing in his life.
Often times, it is only after we lose someone, do we realize the value they added into our lives.
While the line “thunder only happens when it’s raining” is factually inaccurate, it does convey the message Stevie wants to perfectly. ‘Thunder’ could be referenced to a worse situation in the ‘rain.’ The song itself could be the ‘thunder’ in their troubled relationship which is symbolized as ‘rain.’ However, this line could be interpreted in several other ways too. One such interpretation is where ‘thunder’ equates to love and ‘rain’ equates to turbulent times in the relationship. This infers that the true testament of love happens when a relationship goes through problems.
The next lyrics indicate that Stevie Nicks had some trust issues towards her partner Lindsey Buckingham. She refers to him as a ‘player,’ slang for a guy who associates with multiple women at once. At the time of this song, Fleetwood Mac was one of the most popular bands in the world. So naturally, women might have not been a shortcoming for Lindsey Buckingham had he chose to welcome them. For him, it would make sense that his perspective on women is that “they will come and they will go.” However, the important part that he would fail to see is that they do in fact leave. So Stevie knows that he will be left alone and broken after this wave washes him over.
In the second verse of the song, Stevie Nicks further says that she can see the future clearer now–a future without Lindsey by her. However, she decides to keep these visions to herself because she knows she cannot change him. She believes that it is only she who wants this relationship to work out. But she does not want to admit that to Lindsey either.
Selling dreams is a reference to lying and manipulating someone. However, what Lindsey does not understand is that he is selling himself a dream–a dream of happiness without the right woman by his side. But Stevie recognizes this dream–“a dream of loneliness.”
The song comes from a deep wound in Stevie Nick’s heart, however, the fact that this song was released altogether, and the fact that all the band members, including Lindsey Buckingham, worked on this song, shows their artistical maturity and respect towards each other’s craft.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the full lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.