“Sweet Dreams” – A Widely Covered Song
Losing someone that we love would definitely give us a hard time forgetting. It could cost you your sleep as you try not to dwell on past memories. The same could be said about the character in the song “Sweet Dreams.”
The Song’s Origin
“Sweet Dreams” was written by American songwriter Don Gibson for Acuff-Rose Publishing. Gibson’s own rendition of the song in 1955 gained him his first single on the Billboard Chart. This peaked and settled as the number nine hit. But it was Faron Young’s version that really bloomed and made the song popular. “Sweet Dreams” reached the number two spot on the country chart in 1956.
Several other artists made covers of Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams.” Patsy Cline recorded her own version of the song as a part of her album “Faded Love.” Cline’s album was released in the same year she died from that devastating plane crash. Her version of “Sweet Dreams” topped and reached the number five spot in the country charts and crossed over the pop charts at number forty-four and number fifteen on the Adult Contemporary Chart.
Reba McEntire also did her own version of “Sweet Dreams.” She incorporated the song as a single to her album “Out of the Dream.” McEntire’s version reached the number nineteen spot of the country chart. The likes of Tammy Wynette, Tommy Mclain, and Brenda Lee also made their own individual cover of “Sweet Dreams.”
Yet among all the covers made by several famous artists in the country music scene, Emmylou Harris’ cover made the best chart performance. In 1975, Harris recorded her rendition of “Sweet Dreams” as a part of her album “Elite Hotel.” After a year, Harris released “Sweet Dreams” as a single and it made its way to the top of the country music chart. This was the only version of “Sweet Dreams” to score number 1 on the charts covering more grounds of popularity than that of Young’s version in 1956.
Elite Hotel, Emmylou Harris’ album, also gained praise as it marked Harris’ first album to make its way to the top of the Billboard’s Chart. The album also earned Harris a Grammy Award.
Harris grew up in a family that had a strong military background. Her father was a Marine Corps Officer who spent some time as a prisoner of war. Harris spent her youth in North Carolina and Woodbridge, Virginia. After graduating from the Gar-Field Senior High School, she went on to study at the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Shortly afterward, Harris dropped out of college to pursue her dreams in the music industry. She moved to New York City where she worked as a waitress and had performances in Greenwich Village Coffeehouse.
In 1970, Harris recorded her debut album “Gliding Bird.” After moving back to Washington D.C., Harris was slowly making a name for herself. She had a unique receptivity to country, folk and bluegrass music. Shortly after, Harris was introduced by the Flying Burrito Brothers to their ex-bandleader Gram Parsons. Parsons became Harris’ mentor in music. Unfortunately, Parsons died from a heart attack in 1973. This eventually leads to the release of Harris’ solo major label debut entitled “Pieces in the Sky.” She also signed up with the Warner Bros / Reprise Records.
In the succeeding years, Harris has become a well-known country artist, winning several awards and being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Harris’ latest accolade was her Grammy award for the Best Americana Album in 2014 for her duet with Rodney Crowell entitled “Old Yellow Moon.”
Singer/songwriter Don Gibson was one of the biggest and most influential names in the Country Music scene in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Gibson was able to produce several hits both as a singer and a songwriter. The music that Gibson produced captured a broad audience as his songs featured the traditional country style of music and the trend of country-pop.
After the release of his first single, “Sweet Dreams” in 1956, Gibson has become a consistent hitmaker which eventually turned his songs to becoming a Country classic. Several artists have covered Gibson’s songs including Patsy Cline, Ray Charles, Kitty Wells Emmylou Harris, Neil Young, and Ronnie Milsap.