The Dream Academy
|The Dream Academy...|
L-R: Nick Laird-Clowes, Kate St. John, and Gilbert Gabriel
|Genres||Folk rock, dream pop, New Wave|
|Labels||Blanco y Negro, Reprise, Warner Bros.|
|Associated acts||David Gilmour|
|Past members||Gilbert Gabriel
Kate St. John
The Dream Academy were an English folk rock band, comprising singer/guitarist Nick Laird-Clowes; multi-instrumentalist (chiefly oboe, English horn player) Kate St John; plus keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel. They are most noted for their hit single, "Life in a Northern Town".
Laird-Clowes and Gabriel met each other in the late 1970s whilst the former was in a band called The Act. Their idea was to create a songscape different from the power pop groups popular at the time in the UK, by mixing instruments and sounds that had not been done prominently before, such as strings, woodwinds, percussion (timpani), and synthesisers. At first, Laird-Clowes and Gabriel called themselves the Politics of Pop.
Laird-Clowes met Kate St John (then of The Ravishing Beauties) at a party, and asked her to join. The trio settled on the name The Dream Academy and shopped their demos for nearly two years. Their work was rejected by every record label before finally landing a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1985. Along the way, they made some close connections with Adam Peters and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, a friend of Laird-Clowes, who produced and/or played on two of their albums and co-wrote one song, "Twelve-Eight Angel".
Their first single, "Life in a Northern Town" was a worldwide success and sizeable hit in the U.S., charting at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, from an album co-produced by Gilmour. The song also made number 15 in the UK Singles Chart. The single was a tribute to the English singer-songwriter Nick Drake. It was their only major chart success. Reportedly, their record label initially did not want to release this single. The record company introduced session drummer Andy Kanavan to the band. They thought it needed more drums but Laird-Clowes and Gabriel were staunch in their opinion that it was perfect. They commented on its unique sound, and feeling of a winter snowstorm created almost unintentionally by the recording looping techniques of the time. The song also was initially called "Morning Lasted All Day" but was changed when Paul Simon commented to Laird-Clowes (to whom he was giving guitar lessons) that it was not a good title.
The band launched a worldwide promotional tour based on the chart success of "Life in a Northern Town" and appeared on the television programmes Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, American Bandstand (with Dick Clark), MTV (interview with J.J. Jackson), and Top of the Pops. The Dream Academy's eponymous debut album also reached a wide audience in the U.S. Their two subsequent albums did not match the initial success.
They toured once, in 1991. During the same year, Gabriel and St John decided to leave the group to pursue solo musical interests and projects. Laird-Clowes ultimately decided that he could not go on further under the Dream Academy name, and took some time off to travel to Southeast Asia and Africa. Shortly thereafter, he began to work with David Gilmour on lyrics for Pink Floyd's The Division Bell, before recording his solo album under the name Trashmonk. Lately, he has produced and consulted on numerous film soundtracks and has nearly finished his sophomore Trashmonk album.
All three members of the band remain active recording musicians, each with his or her own career. They are said to have reunited on a forthcoming album, Angels and Fools, by Gabriel's unsigned band, The Believers, on the track "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want", a cover version of the song by The Smiths. Gabriel has also had numerous projects since called The Excellent Staircase, Melt21, and The Daze.
Studio albums 
|Year||Album details||Peak chart
|1985||The Dream Academy
|1990||A Different Kind of Weather
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
Compilation albums 
|2000||Best of the Dream Academy
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1985||"Life in a Northern Town"||15||7||2||7||The Dream Academy|
|"The Edge of Forever"||—||—||—||37|
|1986||"The Love Parade"||68||36||13||—|
|"Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want"||83||—||—||—||Ferris Bueller's Day Off (soundtrack)|
|"Indian Summer"||—||—||—||—||Remembrance Days|
|1987||'The Lesson of Love"||—||—||—||—|
|"Power to Believe"||—||—||—||—|
|"In the Heart"||—||—||—||—||Non-album song|
|1990||"Love"||—||—||—||—||A Different Kind of Weather|
|1991||"Angel of Mercy"||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
See also 
- Dream pop
- List of dream pop artists
- List of folk rock artists
- List of New Wave bands and artists
- List of performers on Top of the Pops
- Oboes in popular music
- "They were considered Folk but with New Wave/New Romantic leanings and a bit of synth-pop tossed in"
- "Biography by Jason Ankeny". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 168. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Apprentice to the stars. The Independent, 26 March 1999
- "Chart Stats – Dream Academy". chartstats.com. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- "The Dream Academy Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- "The Dream Academy Album & Song Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- "The Dream Academy Album & Song Chart History: Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
- "allmusic ((( The Dream Academy > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 August 2010.