These might be some of the most popular lyrics in music history for they have been repeated, remixed, re-recorded countless times over the decades since they were first sung. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” was a single by the British pop duo Eurythmics from 1983. The song has not yet stepped down from the limelight.
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart formed ‘Eurythmics’ in 1980. Whilst they could not succeed as a couple, they excelled at being musicians. Produced by Dave Stewart, sung by Annie Lennox, and written by both, “Sweet Dreams” became Eurythmics’ biggest hit to date. The song was released as the fourth and final single from Eurythmics’ second studio album of the same name in 1983. It reached #1 in the US and #2 in the UK singles charts following a few months since its release.
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” was ranked at #365 in the Rolling Stones’ magazines ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time‘ list of 2003. The song was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010.
Throughout the years, many different artists have performed, remixed, and sampled this song. Most notable among these are; the cover by Marilyn Manson, Mika, Avicii, Lorde, Patty Gurdy, and sampled by Faith Evans, Britney Spears, Shakira, Leona Lewis, and interpolated by Nas, and the Broadway Cast of Moulin Rouge! The Musical.
Listen to “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics
Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
The repetitive lyrics have been interpreted by many over the course of years in different lights. However, Dave Stewart, himself, explained the inspiration being the song in his memoir;
This was a weird time in our lives. Annie and I had broken up, but we spent hours and hours together every day in the studio.
Annie Lennox gave her interpretation of the song in a later interview with the New York Times;
I thought it was the end of the road and that was that. We were trying to write, and I was miserable. And he just went, well, ‘I’ll do this anyway.
So, it is clear that the song was birthed in a time of turmoil in the relationship between the co-creators of the song. But how was something magical created out of this chaos?
Annie Lennox told The Guardian that they did not want to create a depressing song about their tumulous personal life;
“Look at the state of us. How can it get worse?… 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.”
And so it became what they had envisioned for it.
Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I’ve traveled the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s lookin’ for something
These famous lyrics from the hook of the song talk about the never-ending chase that every human being does in their lifetime in this world. We move from one goal to another. We never stop. There is always a sweeter dream just beyond our reach. Or, when we do reach one sweet dream, another appears just around the corner. On to this and then to the next.
You could have traveled the entire world, but you would still be dissatisfied. There is always something sweeter out there.
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were both in a band named The Tourist that broke off in 1980. On top of this, they were having relationship struggles. To make things worse, Eurythmics’ first album ‘In the Garden’ (1981) had little success. Needless to say, both of them were deeply unsatisfied with the state they were in. It looked as if something better had to be just out there. And it was their career-defining hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”
If they did not find success in their career, they would have had to settle with something else to numb this pain. Everybody has to fill the holes in their souls with something. This is why we are always out looking for something.
The lyrics in the pre-chorus singing that some people want to use/abuse you and get used/abused by you, have been interpreted in a sexual light by some fans. However, Dave Stewart disputed this. These lines refer to a much general sentiment of how society operates.
Everybody tries to use someone else as a stepping stone to further their success or gains, especially in the show business. Everybody flocks to the next hot commodity, suck it dry, and move on to the next. There will always be both of these kinds of people in society, and sometimes you have no choice in the role you play in this.
So far, a song about sweet dreams sounds quite dark and bleak. So, Eurythmics added a bridge to lighten the mood and give hope to the listeners. Hold your head up through your issues and don’t let it fall down no matter what. This is exactly, what Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart did through their breakup and they came up with this massive hit. Your key could be right around the corner.
Don’t give up!
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.