Dreams (Gabrielle song)

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Gabrielle - Dreams.jpg
Single by Gabrielle
from the album Find Your Way
Released7 June 1993 (1993-06-07)[1]
GenreBritish soul[2]
Producer(s)Richie Fermie
Gabrielle singles chronology
"Going Nowhere"
Music video
"Dreams" on YouTube

"Dreams" is a song by British singer Gabrielle. It was written by Gabrielle and Tim Laws and produced by Richie Fermie for her debut studio album Find Your Way (1993). Originally, the song included a sample of the song "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman,[3] but because of copyright reasons the sample had to be removed.[4] Released as Gabrielle's debut single, "Dreams" entered the UK Singles Chart at number two, which was the highest chart entry a debut act had scored in the United Kingdom at that time.[3] before reaching number one for three weeks in June 1993. The song also peaked at number 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States while peaking at number-one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart.

"Dreams" is widely seen as Gabrielle's signature song and its lyrics inspired as the title of her greatest hits compilation Dreams Can Come True, Greatest Hits Vol. 1 (2001). The song was later sampled by the More Fire Crew on their 2002 single "Dreams" and is featured heavily in the 1999 Paul Thomas Anderson film Magnolia, where William H. Macy's downtrodden character Donnie Smith plays the song repeatedly as a motivational aid. In 2013, Gabrielle re-recorded the track with producer Naughty Boy for her compilation album Now and Always: 20 Years of Dreaming.

Background and release[edit]

"I don’t think Gabs had been in a studio before and I’m pretty sure Dreams was only her second ever recorded vocal, after the duet she did earlier with the other girl. I didn’t have a vast amount of experience with singers then, but Gabs was awesome. She sang Dreams twice. I took the best bits and that was that. She didn’t need fancy production techniques. She had the voice."

—Producer Tim Laws talking to The Guardian about the song.[5]

Gabrielle used to perform at a London club called Moonlighting. One night after she'd performed Luther Vandross covers at the club, a woman told her, "This is as good at it's going to get for you." Disheartened by this, the singer went home and wrote the first lines of "Dreams" in her diary.[6] Shortly after, Gabrielle and another singer, Jackie King from the club, got a opportunity to make a record in a studio in Byfleet, Surrey. Her boyfriend had paid for them to do it. Producer Tim Laws was impressed by her voice and asked if she could come back later on her own. The singer then performed the lyrics of "Dreams" over Laws' music which was a backing track, using a Korg M1 synthesiser for most of the parts – piano, bass, string line – with an Akai S900 firing off drum loops and hits. The first version became a hit in nightclubs, being played by underground DJs. After selling a few thousand copies, Gabrielle got signed to Go! Beat label. This was the version that featured the "Fast Car" sample by Tracy Chapman.[7] After the use of that sample wasn't cleared, a producer named Richie Fermie rerecorded a new version of "Dreams", without the sample. This version made it straight to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart as the highest charting debut single ever, before hitting number-one.

Critical reception[edit]

Larry Flick from Billboard described the song as a "gloriously romantic, uplifting pop/dance shuffler" with a "wildly infectious chorus, delivered with a sly, feline grace." He commented further that a "interplay of contrasting elements like acoustic strumming, hip-hop-styled beats, and disco strings works surprisingly well".[8] Tom Ewing of Freaky Trigger noted Gabrielle's voice as "soaked in personality" and complimented the production as "reassuringly professional, very close to the kind of powerpoint soul the Lighthouse Family would serve up later in the 90s."[9] Dave Sholin from the Gavin Report commented that Gabrielle's "warm vocal style is just right to complement the hook-laden melody that she co-wrote."[10] A reviewer from Irish Independent called it a "smooth debut pop single".[11] Knight Ridder described the song as "hypnotic".[12] Music writer James Masterton wrote in his weekly UK chart commentary, that it is "another one of those records that is a hit almost before it even started." He also described it as "[a] haunting dreamy ballad" and "a unique record".[13]

Pan-European magazine Music & Media noted it as "immaculate".[14] Alan Jones from Music Week said about the original 1992 release, that "the soothing and gentle guitar intro to Tracy Chapman's Fast Car underpins this superbly soulful dance cut, written and performed by a 22-year-old newcomer from Sydenham. Chiming synth strings and a Soul II Soul shuffle propel it along nicely, the uncluttered arrangement and production (by Unit 3) allowing her fine vocals room to breathe." He added, "Initially on a limited pressing of 1,500, which have now sold out, this is already getting specialist radio play, and could very easily explode as a major pop hit, given adequate distribution."[15] Another editor, Andy Beevers called the 1993 version "excellent".[16] Marts Andrups from the magazine's RM Dance Update deemed it "a stunning debut with "summer hit" written all over it. Like a funky Tracy Chapman, there's a beautiful soul vocal over a deceptively simple acoustic guitar and string arrangement."[17]

Chart performance[edit]

In Europe, the song reached number one in the United Kingdom on 20 June 1993 and stayed there for three weeks. Before, it had entered the chart at number 2. At that time, it was the highest chart entry a debut female solo act had scored in the UK.[18] It was a top-five hit in Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Sweden and a top-10 hit in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. On the Eurochart Hot 100, "Dreams" reached its best position as number six on 14 August. Outside Europe, the single peaked at number one on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart on 23 October, and the Canadian RPM Dance/Urban chart. In 1993, Dreams had sold 513,000 copies in United Kingdom.[19]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Dreams" was directed by British photographer, fine artist and singer Kate Garner.[20] It was published on YouTube in September 2013. The video has amassed more than 13,5 million views as of September 2021.[21]

Track listings[edit]

UK CD single[22]
1."Dreams" (7-inch version)3:44
2."Dreams" (The Developed Arrested Mix)6:25
3."Dreams" (Our Tribe House Mix)6:41
4."Dreams" (Dignity Mix)5:44
5."Dreams" (Easy Mix)5:39
6."Dreams" (Law's House)4:00
7."Dreams" (The Red Underground Mix)6:16
US CD single[23]
1."Dreams" (7-inch version)3:44
2."Dreams" (Breakdown Mix)3:53
3."Dreams" (acoustic version)3:51
4."Dreams" (Dignity Mix edit)3:44
5."Dreams" (Easy Mix edit)3:46

Charts and certifications[edit]

Other versions[edit]


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External links[edit]