In Dreams
(BMI Title Code: 715827)

Musical composition copyright ©1963 Acuff-Rose Music Inc./Barbara Orbison Music Company/
Orbi Lee Publishing/R Key Darkus Publishing
This material is copyrighted ©2001, 2002 and may not be reproduced
in any manner or distributed outside of without
the author's express written consent. All rights reserved.

Author: Roy Kelton Orbison (1936-1988)
Performed by: Roy Orbison
Original Album: In Dreams (Monument Records, 1963)
Produced by: Fred Foster
Recorded at: Monument Studios, Nashville, Tennessee

About the song: A chart-topping single and the title track to Orbison's well-received 1963 album, "In Dreams" reached number 19 on the R&B charts and number 7 on the pop charts in the United States. This is due in no small part to Orbison's large following in the African-American community during the early 1960s, which many consider to be the golden years of his career. He produced nine Top 10 hits between 1960 and 1964, surpassing his success as an artist for Sun Records during the 1950s.

Other media: While the title "In Dreams" is shared with a number of compilation and "Best Of" album projects of Orbison's music, it is also the title of a documentary film released in 2000, currently available on DVD. Featuring interviews with notable musicians who were strongly influenced by Orbison's work, including k.d. lang, Robert Plant, Bono, Dwight Yokum, and several of the Gibb brothers, it covers The Big O's life and career, and includes numerous filmed performances.

Personal notes: "In Dreams" is a deeply haunting song, and one of the finest examples of Roy Orbison's moody, doom-laden yet gorgeous ballads that have reduced many a strong man to tears (sixtiespop). It features Orbison's amazing vocal range at its finest, spanning nearly two full octaves in a lyrical crescendo, floating ever higher in accompaniment with the moving string arrangement. Re-popularized in 1986 by David Lynch's film noir Blue Velvet, this song contributed significantly to Orbison's last great comeback before his death in 1988. I node the lyrics to it here only because it is my favorite Roy Orbison song, and because it makes me understand Elvis when he described Roy as "The greatest singer in the world."


A candy-colored clown they call the sandman
Tiptoes to my room every night
Just to sprinkle stardust, and to whisper:
"Go to sleep, everything is all right."

I close my eyes, then I drift away
Into the magic night, I softly say
A silent prayer, like dreamers do
Then I fall asleep to dream my dreams of you.

In dreams I walk with you
In dreams I talk to you
In dreams you're mine, all of the time
We're together in dreams, in dreams...

But just before the dawn
I awake and find you gone
I can't help it, I can't help it if I cry
I remember that you said goodbye.

It's too bad that all these things
Can only happen in my dreams
Only in dreams
In beautiful dreams.

Source information:
Billboard Top R&B Singles. Joel Whitman, 2000.
Encyclopedia of Record Producers. Eric Olsen, 1999.
Thanks to earthen for contributing source information to this writeup.
Updated June 28, 2002

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