The Dream Academy

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The Dream Academy
The Dream Academy in 1991 Left to right: Nick Laird-Clowes, Kate St John, and Gilbert Gabriel
The Dream Academy in 1991
Left to right: Nick Laird-Clowes, Kate St John, and Gilbert Gabriel
Background information
OriginLondon, England
Years active
  • 1983 (1983)–1991 (1991)
  • 2014, 2016–2017
Past members

The Dream Academy were a British band consisting of singer/guitarist Nick Laird-Clowes, multi-instrumentalist (chiefly oboe, cor anglais player) Kate St John, and keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel. The band is most noted for their 1985 hit singles "Life in a Northern Town", "The Love Parade" and their 1985 cover of the Smiths' song "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want", which was featured in the John Hughes film Ferris Bueller's Day Off in 1986.


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 been rarely done prominently before, such as strings, woodwinds, percussion (timpani) and synthesizers. At first, Laird-Clowes and Gabriel called themselves the Politics of Paradise.[citation needed]

Laird-Clowes met Kate St John (then of The Ravishing Beauties) at a party and asked her to join his band. 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 they finally landed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1985.[citation needed] Along the way, they made connections with Adam Peters and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, a friend of Laird-Clowes. Gilmour would go on to produce and/or play on two of their albums and co-write one Dream Academy song, "Twelve-Eight Angel".[citation needed]

The band's 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.[3] The song also made number 15 in the UK Singles Chart.[4] The single was dedicated to the English singer-songwriter Nick Drake.[5][6] It was their only major chart success, though the follow up single "The Love Parade" achieved moderate success in the United States.[citation needed]

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 their initial success.[3]

The band 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 would not go further under the Dream Academy name.[7][better source needed]

On 27 October 2016, Laird-Clowes and St John, accompanied by keyboardist Maxwell Cooke and drummer/percussionist Daisy Palmer, performed three shows in Japan.[citation needed]

On 4 February 2017, Laird-Clowes and St John—again accompanied by Max Cooke—performed a 13-song acoustic set at The Tabernacle, Talgarth, Wales.[8]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart
1985 The Dream Academy 58 20
1987 Remembrance Days 181
1990 A Different Kind of Weather
  • Release date: 1990
  • Label: Reprise Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details
2000 Best of the Dream Academy
2014 The Morning Lasted All Day: A Retrospective[11]
  • Release date: 29 July 2014
  • Label: Real Gone Music


Year Single Peak chart positions Album


1985 "Life in a Northern Town" 15 4 14 7 9 7 2 7 The Dream Academy
"The Edge of Forever" 37
"This World"
1986 "The Love Parade" 68 30 41 36 13 37
"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 single
1990 "Love" A Different Kind of Weather
1991 "Angel of Mercy"
2014 "Sunrising" The Morning Lasted All Day
"—" denotes releases that did not chart
  1. ^ While none of the group's songs charted on the official Album Top 100 or Single Top 100, "Life in a Northern Town" was a hit on the Dutch Charts' unranked Single Tip chart.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Monger, James Christopher. "The Dream Academy – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  2. ^ Stafford, James. "30 Years Ago: Love and Rockets Evolve From Bauhaus With 'Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven'".
  3. ^ a b "Biography by Jason Ankeny". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 168. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "The Dream Academy | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic.
  6. ^ "Pop: Apprentice to the stars". The Independent. 26 March 1999. Archived from the original on 18 June 2022.
  7. ^ "Nick Laird-Clowes". Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  8. ^ "The Tabernacle, Talgarth". Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company – Dream Academy". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  10. ^ "The Dream Academy Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  11. ^ "The Morning Lasted All Day A Retrospective: Music". Amazon. 29 July 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 96. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. the Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid 1983 and 19 June 1988.
  13. ^ "The Dream Academy – The Love Parade". Ultratop Hung Medien Portal (in Dutch). Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  14. ^ "RPM100 Singles" (PDF). RPM. 1 March 1986. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  15. ^ "RPM100 Singles" (PDF). RPM. 5 July 1986. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Adult Contemporary" (PDF). RPM. 5 April 1986. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  17. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Group. "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  18. ^ "The Dream Academy – Life in a Northern Town". Dutch Charts Hung Medien Portal (in Dutch). Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  19. ^ "The Dream Academy Album & Song Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  20. ^ "The Dream Academy Album & Song Chart History: Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  21. ^ "The Dream Academy > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 August 2010.

External links[edit]