Archive | April 27, 2014

Them Pore Old Bosses Need All the Help They Can Get Remembering the Lyrics

Okay, I keep a vast menagerie of peeves as pets. Here’s one.

The name of the Roy Orbison song is not “Sweet Dreams, Baby.” It’s “Sweet Dream Baby.” (Or, strictly speaking, just “Dream Baby.”) He’s not wishing her sweet dreams; it’s not a lullaby. He’s saying that she’s his “sweet dream baby,” the subject of his sweet dreams. (Dreams whose fulfillment is not necessarily to be expected.) Listen, you can hear that he’s singing “sweet dream baby” and not “sweet dreams, baby,” even if the person who uploaded the song to YouTube labeled it “Sweet Dreams, Baby”:

Among the factors that have contributed to the confusion is a commercial from a few years back; I forget what the commercial was for, but it showed a kid eating a cookie (though it wasn’t an ad for cookies) while playing a version with “dreams” in the lyrics. Another is this iconic performance, where it can easily sound as though Orbison is singing “dreams”:

But if you listen carefully – and watch both Orbison’s lips and those of Bruce Springsteen, who’s accompanying him here – it becomes clear that Orbison is still singing “dream” and it’s Springsteen who’s adding the S. That’s right: while backing up Orbison at an Orbison tribute, the Boss is singing the wrong goddamn lyrics.

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