Sweet Dreams (Don Gibson song)

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"Sweet Dreams" or "Sweet Dreams (of You)" is a country ballad, which was written by Don Gibson. Gibson originally recorded the song in 1955; his version hit the top ten of Billboard's country chart, but was eclipsed by the success of a competing version by Faron Young. In 1960, after Gibson had established himself as a country music superstar, he released a new version as a single. This version also charted in the top ten on the country chart[1] and also crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number ninety-three. The song has become a country standard, with other notable versions by Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1956) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[2] 9
Chart (1960) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[2] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[3] 93

Faron Young version[edit]

In the summer of 1956 Faron Young recorded "Sweet Dreams" and took it all the way to #2 on the country charts. It was this version that garnered Gibson his first recognition as a talented songwriter.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1956) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 2

Patsy Cline version[edit]

"Sweet Dreams"
Single by Patsy Cline
from the album The Patsy Cline Story
Released 1963
Recorded 1963
Genre Country
Length 2:31
Label Decca
Writer(s) Don Gibson
Producer(s) Owen Bradley
Patsy Cline singles chronology
"Leavin' On Your Mind"
"Sweet Dreams"
"Faded Love"

In early 1963, Patsy Cline was recording songs for her next album, Faded Love, which was set for release in late March, 1963. However, on March 5, Cline died in a plane crash on the way home from a benefit in Kansas City, Missouri for the family of Cactus Jack Call, a disc jockey who was killed in an automobile accident so, therefore, the album was never released. The songs were later compiled for the release Patsy Cline the Last Sessions in 1988.

Instead, Decca Records issued a double album, entitled The Patsy Cline Story, in the summer of 1963.[citation needed]

In 1963, "Sweet Dreams" was released to the public and became a big Crossover hit, making it to #5 on the Country charts and to #44 on the pop music charts. It also peaked on the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts at #15.[citation needed] This song was followed by two other songs that were planned for release on Cline's upcoming album: "Leavin' on Your Mind" and "Faded Love", which both became hits.

It was said that Cline did not like the use of the violins that producer Owen Bradley was bringing into the song, because she feared she was becoming too "pop" for her Country audience[citation needed]. But upon hearing the song after the playbacks the night she recorded it, she supposedly held a record up of her first record and "Sweet Dreams" and proclaimed "Well, here it is: The first and the last."[citation needed] This quote came from the video called Remembering Patsy, and was quoted by Jan Howard whose husband at the time was Harlan Howard.

In 1985, the song became the title tune of a Patsy Cline biopic starring Jessica Lange as Cline. Cline's hit version of "Sweet Dreams" was included on the film's soundtrack, along with "Crazy," "She's Got You," and many of her other songs. The song also featured in Martin Scorsese's 2006 movie The Departed, Asif Kapadia's 2006 movie The Return, and The Coen Brothers film Blood Simple.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1963) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[5] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 44
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 15

Tommy McLain version[edit]

The version to experience the most success on Billboard's pop charts is the one recorded by Tommy McLain. This version, released as a single in 1966, is the only one to have entered the top forty.[7]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 15

Emmylou Harris version[edit]

Emmylou Harris' 1975 recording of the song was the most successful version on Billboard's country charts to date. The song first appeared on Harris' album Elite Hotel, and was released as the album's third single in the fall of 1976, reaching number one in December.


Preceded by
"Thinkin' of a Rendezvous"
by Johnny Duncan
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
(Emmylou Harris version)

December 25, 1976-January 1, 1977
Succeeded by
"Broken Down in Tiny Pieces"
by Billy "Crash" Craddock
Preceded by
"Every Face Tells a Story"
by Olivia Newton-John
RPM Country Tracks number-one single
(Emmylou Harris version)

January 15, 1977
Succeeded by
"I Can't Believe She Gives It All to Me"
by Conway Twitty

Reba McEntire version[edit]

"Sweet Dreams"
Single by Reba McEntire
from the album Out of a Dream
Released 1979
Genre Country
Length 2:59
Label PolyGram/Mercury
Writer(s) Don Gibson
Producer(s) Jerry Kennedy
Reba McEntire singles chronology
"That Makes Two of Us"
"Sweet Dreams"
"(I Still Long to Hold You) Now and Then"

Entertainer Reba McEntire recorded her version on her second album, Out of a Dream, in 1979. "Sweet Dreams" gave her her first solo top twenty hit, peaking at #19 on the Hot Country Songs chart. For many years until March 15, 1991, McEntire closed her concerts with a cappella version of the song.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1979) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 19
Canada RPM Country Singles 46

Other versions[edit]

The song was also featured on the Tammy Wynette album D-I-V-O-R-C-E[9] and on the Elvis Costello & The Attractions 1981 album Almost Blue.

In 1986, Sweet Dreams featured on the Mekons album, "The Edge of the World".[10]

Many instrumental versions have also been recorded of this song. Ace Cannon first recorded it for his 1965 album Nashville Hits and subsequently recorded at least two more versions. Another version was by Roy Buchanan, on his 1972 album Roy Buchanan, which also plays during the closing of the Martin Scorsese film The Departed. Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler recorded one in 1990 on their album Neck and Neck on Columbia Records. And in 1997 the band Hellecasters also cover it on their "Return of the Hellecasters" album, featuring Jerry Donahue, John Jorgenson, and Will Ray.

In 1980 "Sweet Dreams" was part of the soundtrack for the Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner's Daughter and was sung by Beverly D'Angelo who was portraying Patsy Cline.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. New York: Billboard Books. pp. 122–123. ISBN 0-8230-7632-6. 
  2. ^ a b "Don Gibson – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Don Gibson.
  3. ^ "Don Gibson – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Don Gibson.
  4. ^ "Faron Young – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Faron Young.
  5. ^ "Patsy Cline – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Patsy Cline.
  6. ^ "Patsy Cline – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Patsy Cline.
  7. ^ Craig Harris (1940-03-15). "Tommy McLain | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  8. ^ "Tommy McLain – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Tommy McLain.
  9. ^ Greg Adams. "D-I-V-O-R-C-E - Tammy Wynette | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  10. ^ AStewart Mason. "The Edge of the World - The Mekons | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-26.