Playlist: Our Favorite Songs About The Surreal Realm of Dreams/Dreaming

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*Image of Freud (apparently interpreting dreams) taken from the internet and likely subject to copyright

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Editor’s Note: Right before I went to bed last night I saw the terrible, terrible news that the world of rock n roll had lost another bright light. Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins, dead at 50. Such terrible, terrible sad news. My condolences to Taylor’s family (especially his 3 kids) and to Dave Grohl and all the Foo Fighter’s family. I’m not a huge fan of the Foo Fighters but this one did hit me kind of hard… fifty is still so¬† young.

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“To sleep, perchance to dream” – Hamlet, William Shakespeare

I’ve always had a more classical bent to my reading. While the Rock Chick is prone to reading murder mysteries I’m more likely to be found reading ‘The Canterbury Tales.’ I’m not suggesting that’s better, it’s probably just weirder. Don’t get me wrong, any more I’m as likely to be reading Michael Connelly as Ernest Hemingway. I had a History Professor in college who, along with an English Professor, had published a reading list which I bought for $2 and it has provided me a lifetime of entertainment. That’s all well and good, but it gets me funny looks.

I was in an airport with the guy who hired me to my current company, many years ago, and I purchased Freud’s The Interpretation Of Dreams at the airport news stand. The guy I was with – we are both Traveling Salesmen – was horrified. My mom had a friend who was a psychologist and I mentioned to him I was reading Freud and even he shuddered…”Find a nice murder mystery, it’s easier to read.” He’d clearly been traumatized somewhere along his educational path by having to write a paper about Freud. In truth I only finished about 2/3’s of the book. Freud gets down in the weeds of trying to break dreams down into a mathematical formula.

While most of Freud’s theories have fallen out of favor amongst the psychological community, you have to give the guy credit. He was really the first person to delve into the surreal mental area of dreams. Freud theorized that the events of your day inspire thoughts and those thoughts are the raw material of your dreams. You eat an apple for lunch and it reminds you of your mother baking a pie and that night you dream your mother is smoking a cigar while juggling pies. Hey, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar,” folks. I don’t know if anybody will ever be able to tell us why we dream what we dream but it’s certainly interesting to wonder.

Last year I posted a playlist of songs about Sleeping, or my inability to sleep anyway. Longtime readers know I’m a sucker for a thematic playlist… My playlists are really more about trying to expose people to deep tracks or songs they might not have heard (or not heard in a while, anyway). Like this post, I led it off with the Shakespeare quote from Hamlet, from his most famous soliloquy, “To sleep, perchance to dream.” Hamlet was actually contemplating death, that whole “To be or not to be” thing. By “to sleep” he meant “to die” and the dreams he spoke of, which actually terrified him, symbolized what you saw after death. Leave it to me to take a lighthearted rock n roll playlist and go heavy on you… but I guess that’s my M.O.

For this post, I don’t mean anything quite that heavy. I’m just thinking about dreams. It amuses me that they also use the word “dreams” for our aspirations. It makes our wishes seem unattainable. It was George Carlin who once said, “They call it the American Dream because you’d have to be asleep to believe it.” There are plenty of songs on this list that pertain to that whole aspirational dream thing. There are also a few tracks that are about day dreaming. But what is a day dream but a dream that you’re actually conscious for and can actively choreograph. For me, when I think of dreams, I’m thinking about the theater of the mind, when you’ve finally gone into that deep R.E.M. sleep and the subconscious takes over.

As an insomniac there are many nights I don’t dream. But when I do they’re vivid. And usually not hard to interpret. Many people have recurring dreams. I’ve had the dream of falling but not since I was a kid. I’ve had the dream where I’m being menaced and I try to run but my body won’t move… I usually start making horrible noises in my sleep and the Rock Chick wakes me, thank god. I used to have a recurring dream where I was naked in public – like down at the mall – and I was trying to get home… standing behind anything I can find so people can’t see me. I’ve never had the dream where my teeth are falling out but apparently that is a common one. Another common dream I’d like to have is the dream that you’re flying – without an airplane. How cool would that be?

The most common recurring dream I have is set in college. I’m my current age, yet I’m in college. I have to go take an English final (ironically, my weakest subject). But I haven’t been in the class all semester. Many times in the dream I struggle to find the right classroom. If I fail this exam I’ll have to stay in college another semester. In some versions of this recurring dream, I actually skip to the part where I’m looking to find a place to stay because I flunked the exam. The prospect of living with the Vikings I lived with back in the day horrifies me. These are not pleasant dreams. I’ve grown accustomed to an easier lifestyle where I actually bathe and don’t eat fast food all the time.

In good times I dream about being with all my old pals and drinking fine bourbon. Those are great dreams. I always know when I’m happy dreaming. Those are rare. My recurring bad dream involves loss. Sometimes I’m visited by dead relatives – or believe or not, a favorite pet – and they are trying to deliver a message. I’m lost in a parking lot, or some innocuous place and my grandfather shows up 40 years after his death to tell me I’m lost… yeah, grandpa I get that. There are some who might believe this is a visitation from the spiritual world. I just think those people we’ve lost symbolize something to us and their appearance in the dream is merely metaphoric, not some ghost contact. I lost my grandfather, my first close relative to pass, when I was in high school. It was tough. That left a mark and that wound surfaces in dreams…

The worst dreams I have are usually when I see a person whose relationship with me ended long ago. Sometimes it’s the deceased persons mentioned above but more likely it’s someone I’ve had a falling out with or a former lover I’ve broken up with. I’m not pining for anybody but those severed relationships, like the loss of my grandfather left a scar. Those people have come to symbolize loss and pain. Especially when the break occurred early on in your life. When things are going badly or I suffer a defeat or loss those “symbols of loss and pain” pop into my head to underscore the fact. My subconscious seems hell bent on torturing me. I struggle to sleep and if things are going bad my mind creates horrible dreams for me.

It’s not always a miserable dream like that. Last night I dreamed I was in a fine restaurant with the Rock Chick and some old buddies and we were eating and drinking and telling old stories – stories that didn’t really make sense in the context of the dream but hey, who cares. Sometimes things I see in my dream happen in real life later down the road. I know that sounds crazy. I used to think that was deja vu but I’m told it’s something called precognition. It’s probably just another trick my brain plays on me. I just hope last night’s dream was one of those that actually happen… it looked like a fun night.

Without further adieu, here are our favorite songs about dreams or dreaming. You’ll find this on Spotify under BourbonAndvinyl.net Dreams/Dreaming. I stand with Neil Young on the whole Spotify thing and that moron Joe Rogan but after all these years it’d be impractical to try and re-platform all our playlists. I’m still looking into it. Neil is on this playlist here in the B&V labs but obviously not on this playlist. As always, if you have a favorite “dream’ themed track, please put it in the comments section and I’ll add it to the playlist. The playlists are, as always, a B&V community thing, not just my purview.

  1. Rainbow, “Street Of Dreams” – I’ve always liked Rainbow, I need to get them on the playlists more often. For some reason this song always reminds me of ‘Nightmare On Elm Street.’
  2. Bruce Springsteen, “I’ll See You In My Dreams” – Great track from Letter To You about seeing his old bandmates in his dreams… I see my old pals in dreams as well.
  3. Alice Cooper, “Caught In A Dream” – Old Alice Cooper is just sooo damn good.
  4. Queensryche, “Silent Lucidity” – I know it sounds like a cop-out but this is my favorite Queensryche track.
  5. Fleetwood Mac, “Dreams” – This song has stuck with me from grade school and evokes the memory of being at the city pool and hearing it on the loudspeaker. I wonder if I’ll dream about that tonight…
  6. Arc Angels, “Living In A Dream” – I hear the Arc Angels (Doyle Bramhall III and Charlie Sexton w/ Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rhythm section) have reunited. I hope so.
  7. Neil Young, “Dreamin’ Man” – While not on the Spotify version of this list, this is still a great acoustic track from Neil.
  8. Ozzy Osbourne, “Dreamer” – I wanted the song “Nightmares” which is a bonus track and not on Spotify, so I went with this great, late-period, Beatlesque track.
  9. David Bowie, “Moonage Daydream” – Like I said, a daydream is just a dream we can choreograph…
  10. Fiona Apple, “Sleep To Dream” – One of two tracks that’s also on our Sleep playlist.
  11. Talking Heads, “City of Dreams” – Great track from an often overlooked LP.
  12. Depeche Mode, “Dream On” – The Rock Chick turned me onto this track.
  13. Alice Cooper, “Welcome To My Nightmare” – Sometimes dreams go bad… hence I had to include a nightmare track.
  14. Supertramp, “Dreamer” – You never hear Supertramp any more and that’s too bad.
  15. The Cult, “Dreamtime” – From their great debut LP. I’m going to see these guys later this spring.
  16. Cream, “Dreaming” – Surreal track fits this playlist perfectly.
  17. Judas Priest, “Dreamer, Deceiver” – An epic ballad with a great guitar solo. This one is for my friend Stormin’ as he loves this track.
  18. AC/DC, “Rock N Roll Dream” – Have AC/DC done a bad album? I think not. Great deep track here.
  19. Blondie, “Dreaming” – I’ve always dug Blondie.
  20. Stevie Nicks, “In Your Dreams” – Stevie Nicks is quietly having a late career resurgence that everyone should be checking out.
  21. Aerosmith, “Dream On” – Well, you knew this one was gonna be here.
  22. Talking Heads, “Dream Operator” – A second track from the aforementioned overlooked LP, True Stories.
  23. Neil Young, “Pocahontas” – This has got to be the description of a dream. There’s no way someone consciously comes up with “Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me…”
  24. Mudcrutch, “Dreams of Flying” – Great track. I wish I’d have a dream like this.
  25. Van Morrison, “These Dreams of You” – Van in happier, saner days.
  26. Crosby, Stills & Nash, “In My Dreams” – Another great CSN track that you won’t find on Spotify.
  27. Bob Dylan, “Dreamin’ Of You” – Great, late period Dylan.
  28. Python Lee Jackson (Featuring Rod Stewart), “In A Broken Dream” – Early Rod Stewart before he was well, Rod Stewart. He just sings the crap out of this song.
  29. Dave Matthews Band, “Dreamgirl” – Great boozy love song.
  30. Elvis Presley, “If I Can Dream” – Elvis making a huge statement about racism and the state of the nation. The King goes big and kills it!
  31. Bruce Springsteen, “Book of Dreams” – A quiet track from Lucky Town. The ballads from that era tended to be better than the rockers.
  32. Van Halen, “Dreams” – Van Hagar era track with keyboards.
  33. Joe Walsh, “Dreams” – The Rock Chick has been getting into Joe lately, which is awesome. We saw him open for Tom Petty the last time we saw him and Joe delivered.
  34. Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” – Another perfect fit.
  35. Cheap Trick, “Dream The Night Away” – Cheap Trick have so many great tunes.
  36. Beck, “Dreams” – Great song from a bad album.
  37. David Crosby & Graham Nash, “Cowboy of Dreams’ – Seek this deep track out. You’ll thank me.
  38. Van Morrison, “Call Me Up In Dreamland” – Another track from Van’s prime.
  39. Randy Newman, “Last Night I Had A Dream” – I love Randy Newman. “Last night I had a dream… you were in it and I was in it…”
  40. Bob Dylan, “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” – Great track about Dylan and Captain Ahab finding America and getting busted by the cops.
  41. Cheap Trick, “Dream Police” – Great paranoid rock anthem.
  42. The Allman Brothers, “Dreams” – I shy away from tracks that run 7 minutes on my playlists but I couldn’t omit this seminal Allman Brothers track.
  43. Aretha Franklin, “Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream” – The Queen of Soul’s birthday was this week… had to include her.
  44. R.E.M., “I Don’t Sleep, I Dream” – The second track that does double duty on this playlist and our Sleep playlist.
  45. Pink Floyd, “The Gunners Dream” – I love this track. A guy dreaming about a fellow soldier’s dream… Roger Water recently re did this song.
  46. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “Dreamville” – A lighthearted moment from The Last DJ.
  47. Dave Matthews Band, “Sleep To Dream Her” – This track always stuck out to me.
  48. John Lennon, “#9 Dream” – There are so many great Lennon solo tracks out there.
  49. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “Angel Dream (No. 4)” – Beautiful song from the She’s The One Soundtrack and the recently re-imagined version of the album, Angel Dream.
  50. Green Day, “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” – I’ve sort of lost touch with Green Day these days but this is one of their biggest tracks.
  51. CSNY, “Dream For Him” – Another great David Crosby penned track.
  52. Van Halen, “Little Dreamer” – From their legendary eponymous debut LP.

Reader Suggestions:

  1. Neil Young, “After the Goldrush” – A song that was on an early incarnation of this list that I just plum forgot. Great reader suggestion. Although you won’t find this on our Spotify playlist for obvious reasons.
  2. Lovin’ Spoonful, “Daydreamin'” – Another great reader suggestion.

That’s it folks. Let me know if you have anything to add! And, as always, may your dreams be pleasant and light… I’ll take care of the heavy bad dreams down here in the B&V labs…

Cheers!