Thanks to TikTok, another song, this time from the 70s, comes to life in 2020. The song is Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Dreams”. The song gained popularity on TikTok after a man posted a video of him skateboarding while the song played. However, mainstream attention to this song is nothing new, as the song peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. charts, and the only song to do so for Fleetwood Mac. In this article, we dive into the rich, bittersweet history of this song.
“Dreams” was released as the second single from Fleetwood Mac’s eleventh studio album “Rumors” on March 24, 1977. The song was written by lead vocalist Stevie Nicks.
The Story Behind Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams
The song captures the feelings of Stevie Nicks going through a turbulent time in his relationship with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. However, this song did not help their relationship which fell apart as Lindsey Buckingham wrote her own response song “Go Your Own Way”, which came out rather aggressive and as the final blow to their relationship.
Stevie Nicks also recalled the night she revealed the song to Lindsey Buckingham; “I remember the night I wrote ‘Dreams’. I walked in and handed a tape of the song to Lindsey. It was a tough take, just me singing solo and playing the piano. Even though he was mad at me at the time, Lindsey played it and then looked up at me and smiled. What was happening between us was sad. We were couples who couldn’t get out of it. But, as musicians, we always respected each other – and we made brilliant songs out of it. “
In an interview with Q magazine in 2009, Stevie Nicks spoke about the battle between these two songs and their impact; “It was the fairy and the gnome. I was trying to be quite a philosopher. And he was just crazy.
Despite personal struggles, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham continued to work together within the group.
Listen to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
Meaning of “Dreams” Lyrics and Song Review
These lyrics detail the conflicts in the relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Stevie says Lindsey wanted freedom and her attempts to achieve it were becoming too intimidating to be tolerated. It got to a point where he would just act carelessly in the name of “freedom.” Stevie realizes that she can’t stop him from doing what he wants. She can’t control him. But she knows he’s playing the fool with something good for him, too. It invites to a life of solitude.
Stevie Nicks puts more emphasis on what awaits Lindsey Buckingham after this relationship breaks down – complete stillness to everything around her and regret for not protecting the best thing in her life.
Often, it is only after losing someone that we realize the value that they have added to our lives.
While the line “Thunder only comes when it rains” is factually inaccurate, it conveys the message that Stevie wants it perfectly. “Thunder” could refer to a worse situation in the “rain”. The song itself could be the “thunder” in their troubled relationship which is symbolized by “the rain”. However, this line could also be interpreted in several other ways. One of those interpretations is where “thunder” equates to love and “rain” equates to turbulent times in the relationship. This implies that the true testament of love occurs when a relationship is going through some trouble.
The following lyrics indicate that Stevie Nicks had trust issues with his partner Lindsey Buckingham. She refers to him as a “gamer,” slang denoting a guy who dates several women at the same time. At the time of this song, Fleetwood Mac was one of the most popular bands in the world. So naturally, women might not have been a fault for Lindsey Buckingham if he had chosen to welcome them. For him, it would make sense for his take on women to be that “They will come and they will go. However, the important part that he wouldn’t see is that they actually leave. So Stevie knows he’ll be left alone and broken after this wave sweeps him away.
In the song’s second verse, Stevie Nicks further says that she can see the future more clearly now – a future without Lindsey by her side. However, she decides to keep these visions to herself as she knows she can’t change him. She thinks it’s only her who wants this relationship to work. But she doesn’t want to admit it to Lindsey, either.
Selling dreams is a reference to lying and manipulating someone. What Lindsey doesn’t understand, however, is that he’s selling himself a dream – a dream of happiness without the right woman by his side. But Stevie recognizes this dream–“a dream of loneliness.”
The song comes from a deep wound in Stevie Nick’s heart, however, the fact that this song was released in full, and the fact that everyone in the band, including Lindsey Buckingham, worked on this song, shows their artistic maturity and their respect for one another. Arts and crafts.
Let us know what you think of this song in the comments below. Check out the full lyrics and breakdown of meaning on Genius.
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