The Story of... 'Dreams' by Fleetwood Mac

5 October 2020, 09:16 | Updated: 8 October 2020, 10:07

Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

'Dreams' is one of Fleetwood Mac's most famous and popular songs, and it still sounds fantastic over 40 years later.

Written by Stevie Nicks for Fleetwood Mac's brilliant yet turbulent Rumours album, it's one of the greatest songs about a relationship in turmoil.

The classic song has now re-entered the charts thanks to a TikTok viral video, so let's look back at its history so far...

But what inspired the song and who else has covered it? Here's all the big facts behind 'Dreams':

  1. Who wrote 'Dreams'?

    Fleetwood Mac - Dreams (Official Music Video)

    Stevie Nicks wrote the song for Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album, released in 1977.

    This was the second Fleetwood Mac album with Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham after 1975's self-titled album.

    Buckingham and Nicks were in a relationship when they first joined the band, having previously released their own Buckingham Nicks album as a duo in 1973.

    Nicks wrote the song in early 1976 at the Record Plant studio in Sausalito, California.

    Read more: Stevie Nicks is writing a movie based on her song 'Rhiannon'

    "One day when I wasn't required in the main studio," Nicks told Blender magazine, "I took a Fender Rhodes piano and went into another studio that was said to belong to Sly Stone, of Sly and the Family Stone.

    "It was a black-and-red room, with a sunken pit in the middle where there was a piano, and a big black-velvet bed with Victorian drapes.

    "I sat down on the bed with my keyboard in front of me. I found a drum pattern, switched my little cassette player on and wrote 'Dreams' in about 10 minutes.

    "Right away I liked the fact that I was doing something with a dance beat, because that made it a little unusual for me."

  2. What inspired the song?

    Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham
    Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Picture: Getty

    All five members of Fleetwood Mac were experiencing emotional troubles while recording the Rumours album.

    Mick Fleetwood was going through a divorce, Christine McVie was separating from her husband and bandmate John McVie.

    Meanwhile, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were ending their eight-year relationship.

    "We had to go through this elaborate exercise of denial," Buckingham told Blender magazine, "keeping our personal feelings in one corner of the room while trying to be professional in the other."

    The line, 'Players only love you when they're playing,' was directed at Buckingham.

    Nicks hadn't been pleased when he brought 'Go Your Own Way' to the Rumours sessions, as it was clearly about her. She told Q magazine: "It was the fairy and the gnome. I was trying to be all philosophical. And he was just mad."

    Read more: The astonishing night Stevie Nicks was turned away from a Wham concert

    She later recalled how Buckingham liked the song despite the tough subject matter, telling the Daily Mail: "I remember the night I wrote 'Dreams.' I walked in and handed a cassette of the song to Lindsey.

    "It was a rough take, just me singing solo and playing piano. Even though he was mad with me at the time, Lindsey played it and then looked up at me and smiled.

    "What was going on between us was sad. We were couples who couldn't make it through. But, as musicians, we still respected each other - and we got some brilliant songs out of it."

  3. What did the other band members think of it?

    Fleetwood Mac in 1975
    Fleetwood Mac in 1975. Picture: Getty

    When Nicks played the song to the rest of the group for the first time, "They weren't nuts about it. But I said 'Please! Please record this song, at least try it'. Because the way I play things sometimes... you really have to listen."

    The band recorded the song the following day. While only a basic track was recorded, recording assistant Cris Morris remembered that "all [they] kept was the drum track and live vocal from Stevie – the guitars and bass were added later in Los Angeles."

    Read more: The 20 greatest Fleetwood Mac songs

    Christine McVie described the song as having "just three chords and one note in the left hand" and "boring" when Nicks played a rough version on the piano.

    McVie changed her mind later after Buckingham "fashioned three sections out of identical chords, making each section sound completely different. He created the impression that there's a thread running through the whole thing."

  4. Which band members performed in the song?

    In 'Dreams', Stevie Nicks performed lead vocals and backing vocals.

    Christine McVie provided backing vocals while also playing electric piano, organ and vibraphone.

    Lindsey Buckingham played electric and acoustic guitars and sang backing vocals.

    Mick Fleetwood played drums and congas, while John McVie played bass guitar.

  5. Who has covered it?

    The Corrs - Dreams (Todd Terry Remix) (Official Music Video)

    The Corrs originally recorded 'Dreams' for Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, which also featured 'Don't Stop' by Elton John, 'You Make Loving Fun' by Jewel and others.

    It was later remixed by Oliver Leiber and then Todd Terry, becoming the Irish band's first big UK hit, reaching number six.

    In 2005, Stevie Nicks provided new vocals for a dance remix by Deep Dish, reaching number 14 in the UK.

    It has also been covered by:

    - Bastille and Gabrielle Aplin

    - The Kills

    - Glee Cast

    - Eternal

    - Lissie

    - Years & Years

    In 2020, it saw a resurgence in popularity when TikTok user Doggface208 (real name Nathan Apodaca) uploaded a video of him skateboarding down a road while drinking Ocean Spray juice and lip-syncing along to the song. Because, why not?