Dreamer (Livin' Joy song)
|Single by Livin' Joy|
|from the album Don't Stop Movin'|
|Released||22 August 1994 (original) |
1 May 1995 (re-Issue)
|Length||3:40 (1994 Radio Mix)|
3:44 (1995 Re-release 7' Mix)
|Livin' Joy singles chronology|
1995 Edition Cover
"Dreamer" is a song produced and recorded by Italian house group Livin' Joy. It features vocals by Janice Robinson, who also co-wrote the song. It was number one in the US Hot Dance Club Play chart that year. On 13 May 1995, it entered the UK Singles Chart at number 1.
The song was first released in the United Kingdom on 3 September 1994, going straight in at number 18 in the UK Singles Chart. It had a slow and steady decline down the charts shortly after, slipping from its number 18 debut down to 67, exiting the top 100 the following week. On 22 October 1994 it returned to the UK charts after a few weeks out of the top 100, coming straight back in at number 85 before sliding to number 97 and then exiting the top 100 once more. The record seemed to show no signs of dying away as once more it re-entered the UK top 100 (on 12 November 1994) at number 99. The following week it climbed to number 85 before descending one final time to number 97 before it bowed out.
Gianni Visnadi (one of the two producers behind Livin' Joy) was no stranger to the UK chart at this point. He and his brother Paolo, had already released a previous dance track under the Alex Party banner. 'Read My Lips/Saturday Night Party' was released on 18 December 1993 where it entered at number 49. It remained in the top 100 for 6 weeks before it was re-released yet again on 28 May 1994. This time he had a little more success as which 'Read My Lips' peaked at number 29. It spent 5 weeks in the top 100.
After seeing the moderate success of "Dreamer" and "Read My Lips", both Paolo and Gianni then decided to focus on Alex Party once again to record "Don't Give Me Your Life" which peaked at number 2 in the United Kingdom where it spent 8 weeks in the top 10 and a total of 14 weeks in the top 100. After the major success of "Don't Give Me Your Life", the signature Visnadi sounds of thumping beats, commanding vocals and the organ sounds and synths had cemented themselves as the popular sound in dance music. Visnadi decided to revive 'Dreamer' under the Livin' Joy banner. It received an updated remix but stayed true to its original form. This was the single that finally took the Visnadi brothers to number 1. beating the out-going number one by Oasis by a narrow margin of just 500 sales.
"Dreamer" stayed on top of the chart for only a week, eventually being knocked off by the monster hit "Unchained Melody" by Robson & Jerome. "Dreamer" racked up an impressive run in the top 100, spending 21 non-consecutive weeks in the UK chart, ending the year as the 40th biggest selling single of 1995.
In the United States, the song was a sleeper hit on pop radio, but finally managed to peak at number 72 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 38 on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart, number 10 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart and number 40 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. In mid-1996, "Dreamer" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 95.
"Wrap Me Up" entered the chart on 18 November 1995 and peaked at number 17, spending just six weeks in the top 100. As a last stab at success under the Alex Party banner, Visnadi remixed and re-released "Read My Lips". This did not match the success of "Don't Give Me Your Life", crashing into the top 40 at number 28 where it dropped out of the UK top 100 in just two weeks. Alex Party was then scrapped and their focus was back on Livin' Joy.
Janice Robinson was a singer from the U.S and was the original vocalist on the 1994 and 1995 editions of "Dreamer". When the group was unable to reach a deal with Robinson for a follow-up single she was replaced by Doris Diggs (stage name Tameka Starr). Starr recorded a version of "Dreamer" for the Livin' Joy album entitled 'Don't Stop Movin'", but the original by Janice Robinson was a hidden track on the album.
Diggs remained the group's singer until their last single in 1999 with "Just for the Sex of It" with plans for a commercial release, but due to the public's disinterest it was eventually only released in the UK and Australia where it peaked at number 76 on the charts and managed to receive a limited club run where it was a popular hit in the nightclubs.
Robinson released her own version of "Dreamer" as a solo artist in 2005 reaching number 5 in the US Dance chart.
Tameka Starr is now known under the name Tameko Star and is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
An example of Italo house and Eurodance, the song nonetheless is said to blend elements from different electronic genres. Tom Ewing of Freaky Trigger explained: "The bumping, cut-up rhythms and vocals that begin the remixed 'Dreamer' [that was a hit] feel like garage, for example, but as Janice Robinson takes the song into its urgently blissful chorus I want to call it house – or even go more specific and say handbag house, that showy, uplifting offshoot that strutted across superclub dancefloors in the mid-90s."
Billboard wrote about the song: "Act weaves an irresistible fabric of vibrant house rhythms, blippy electro synth sounds, and fluttering diva vocal loops. Single's stateside run is aided by fresh remixes from Junior Vasquez, who is also on quite a roll these days."
The Gavin Report wrote: "Though they enjoyed plenty of exposure on the Euro club scene, this track didn't quite get the support needed from American radio. That was then, this is now. Early indications are that the second run for this high-energy entry will be a lot healthier."
Network 40 wrote in their review: "Interest in the project has taken off quicker than the availability of the record. (...) True Dance music for Crossover radio is no easy trick; Livin' Joy has a story being told in the clubs. It's time for radio to embrace another hit record."
Tom Ewing of Freaky Trigger rated the song 9/10, saying the song is "not just about joy – the song’s chorus is a concentrated blurt of fierce hope, a fantasy of togetherness so intense but so impossible that Robinson takes it in double-time, like she’s trying to grab a moment – or a dream – before it vanishes. The song slinks and builds up to that point, its loping bass and keyboard figures giving Robinson space to stretch out a bit and approach lines like 'Love, life and laughter is all I believe' with the lived-in relish they deserve." He explained the song "captures the thing house, and handbag house, do better than almost anything: condense all the hopes, fears, desperation, and fantasies that a dancefloor magics into being, leaving an intense hit of pop that stays in your mind long after the night ends."
Impact and legacy
BuzzFeed listed the song in the "The 101 Greatest Dance Songs Of the '90s" at number 74 in 2017. They wrote: "Female vocals set to a house beat = everything you could want from an early-'90s dance song."
There are two versions, the first video for the 1994 version had split screen footage of sped up urban cityscapes with a silhouetted female dancer (unclear if this is Janice Robinson) and for the 1995 re-release with a new edit had Robinson performing the song with some scenes on a carousel horse and other scenes on a brass bed and silver foiled background, she also has various changes of wigs and costumes throughout the video. There are certain shots that go from colour to black and white, also inter-cut separately are dancers/models acting out seductive poses with one model taking a shower fully clothed and other shots with a model holding and stroking a Chihuahua dog.
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||400,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- 1994 UK CD single
- Dreamer (Original Club Mix) 5:37
- Dreamer (Slo Moshun Mix) 10:37
- Dreamer (Junior's Sound Factory Mix) 9:47
- Dreamer (Factory Dub) 7:05
- Dreamer (Junior Vasquez Sound Factory Instrumental) 9:44
- Dreamer (Radio Mix) 3:38
- 1994 UK 12" Promo
- Dreamer (Original Club Mix) 5:39
- Dreamer (Alex Party Underground Mix) 5:20
- Dreamer (Piano Mix)
- 1995 Re-release CD
- Dreamer (7" Mix) 3:44
- Dreamer (Original Club Mix) 5:39
- Dreamer (Rollo Armstrong Big Mix) 8:36
- Dreamer (Loveland's Viva Tenerife Mix) 6:53
- Dreamer (Junior Vasquez Sound Factory Mix) 8:56
- Dreamer (Jupiter 12" Collision Mix) 6:01
Janice Robinson solo version (2005)
- 2005 CD, Maxi-single
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Jack D. Elliot Rebirth Club Mix) 6:27
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Xenon's Mix) 7:00
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Jamie J Sanchez Club Mix) 7:37
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Livewater Futuristic Club Vocal) 8:56
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Twisted Dee Club Mix) 8:21
- 2006 5× File, MP3, Maxi-single
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Joe Bermudez & Klubjumpers Nocternal Emissions Club Mix) 8:46
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Nic Mercy's Epic Anthem) 9:30
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (John Farruggio's Club Mix) 9:27
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Radboy's Rockin' Mix) 7:44
- Dreamer (ReMixed) (Dancin' Divaz Club Mix) 7:34
Matt Helders version
A cover version of the song by Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders was released on his Late Night Tales compilation in 2008. This version features vocals from Nesreen Shah. It was also released as a 7" vinyl single limited to 1000 copies. Arctic Monkeys lead singer Alex Turner's spoken word story "A Choice Of Three" appears as a b-side.
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