Set Adrift on Memory Bliss

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"Set Adrift on Memory Bliss"
Single by P.M. Dawn
from the album Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience
B-side "For the Love of Peace"
Released October 5, 1991
Format CD maxi, 7" single, 12" single
Genre Hip hop
Length 4:10
Label Gee Street, Island
Writer(s) Gary Kemp
Attrell Cordes
Producer(s) P.M. Dawn
P.M. Dawn singles chronology
"A Watcher's Point of View (Don't 'Cha Think)"
"Set Adrift on Memory Bliss"
"Paper Doll"

"Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" is the signature hit by P.M. Dawn from their debut album Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience. Writing credit is given to Attrell Cordes (Prince Be of P.M. Dawn) and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, as the song is built around samples of their 1983 hit "True," as well as samples from The Soul Searchers' "Ashley's Roachclip." The main drumbeat also samples from Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid in Full". Spandau Ballet lead singer Tony Hadley made a cameo in the video to this song, appearing near the end of the video.

This song was the group's first (and only) #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and also reached #3 in the United Kingdom. It ranks #81 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop. The song was the first number one song after the debut of the Nielsen SoundScan system, which monitored airplay and sales more closely than before, when Billboard had to rely on humans to report sales and airplay data. According to the test charts of the SoundScan system, "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" was at number one for at least three weeks, but officially has a one-week reign at number one.


The opening verse is influenced by the Joni Mitchell song "The Boho Dance". The original "A camera pans the cocktail hour / Behind a blind of potted palms" becomes "The camera pans the cocktail glass / Behind a blind of plastic plants", and the line "Subterranean by your own design" is echoed as "Subterranean by design". In the second verse, they mention two hit songs from 1985. "Careless whisper from a careless man" refers to "Careless Whisper" by George Michael, and "A neutron dance for a neutron fan" makes reference to "Neutron Dance" by The Pointer Sisters. The line "Christina Applegate, you gotta put me on" is a reference to the song "Bonita Applebum" by A Tribe Called Quest. ("Bonita Applebum, I gotta put you on")

Cover versions and uses in the media[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

The song has been parodied in the 1994 hip-hop mockumentary film and its soundtrack album, Fear of a Black Hat as a solo single for rapper Tone-Def (Mark Christopher Lawrence) in oft-scatology terms, "I'm Just A Human."

Track listings[edit]

Charts and sales[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"All 4 Love" by Color Me Badd
New Zealand RIANZ number-one single
October 18, 1991 – October 25, 1991 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Fly" by U2
Preceded by
"When a Man Loves a Woman" by Michael Bolton
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
November 30, 1991 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Black or White" by Michael Jackson

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss", in various singles charts (Retrieved April 7, 2008)
  2. ^ Belgian peak
  3. ^ Canadian dance peak
  4. ^ a b "Single top 100 over 1991" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  5. ^ German Singles Chart (Retrieved April 7, 2008)
  6. ^ Irish Single Chart (Retrieved April 7, 2008)
  7. ^ Italian Single Chart Hit parade Italia (Retrieved June 1, 2008)
  8. ^ UK Singles Chart (Retrieved April 7, 2008)
  9. ^ a b c Billboard (Retrieved September 11, 2008)
  10. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1992". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  11. ^ U.S. certifications (Retrieved September 11, 2008)