Dream On :: Kelly Sweet
“Half my life is books,
live and learn from fools and from sages.
You know it’s true,
oh ll these feelings,
come back to you.”
Some of my favorite music moments are the unexpected finds, the sonic surprises that catch me off guard and leave me delighted, and inspired. Cover song discoveries are some of my favorite of these kinds of moments. Anyone who knows me or reads my posts here know that I adore a good cover, and today’s find, Kelly Sweet’s cover of Dream On, is what I would call a good cover, and a stunning surprise. I love the dreaminess of it (fitting, right?), the magic that seems to be weaved into it, the simple moments and the soaring ones.
This cover takes the original and turns it around, reinterpreting it into a gorgeously lush composition. Although I do love the Seventies Rock staple, this take on it sinks right in to me, too. I especially love the strings here, the Spanish guitar sound that adds to the dreamy delight of the song to me. That and Kelly’s crystal clear voice, and impressive range.
Dream On is originally by Aerosmith, and is featured on their 1973 debut album, Aerosmith. Written by lead singer Steven Tyler, this song became their first major hit and classic rock radio staple. Released in June 1973, it peaked at # 59 nationally but hit big in the band’s native Boston, where it was the # 1 single of the year on the less commercial top 40 station WBZ-FM, # 5 for the year on highly rated Top 40 WRKO-AM and # 16 on heritage Top 40 WMEX-AM.
The album version of Dream On (4:28, as opposed to the 3:25 1973 45 rpm edit), was re-issued early in 1976, debuting at # 81 On January 10, breaking into the Top 40 on February 14 and peaking at # 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 national chart, April 10. Columbia chose to service Top 40 radio stations with a re-issue of the 3:25 edited version, thus, many 1976 Pop Radio listeners were exposed to the group’s first Top 10 effort through the 45 edit.
Dream On was first played live in Mansfield, Connecticut at the Shaboo Inn. In a 2011 interview, Tyler reminisced about his father, a Juilliard-trained musician. He recalled lying beneath his dad’s piano as a three-year-old listening to him play classical music. “That’s where I got that Dream On chordage,” he said.
Tyler says that this was the only song on the band’s first album where he used his real voice. He was insecure about how his voice sounded on tape, so for the other songs, he tried to sing a bit lower and sound more like soul artists, such as James Brown. The song is also famous for its building climax to showcase Tyler’s trademark screams.
The song is composed in the key of F minor
.There have a been a few other memorable covers of Dream On that I’ve heard and enjoyed, including a version by The Mission U.K. (see below) that appeared on their 1987 album Children. It has that late 80’s death-rock/goth/dark rock feel to it that I loved during that time in my life.
Dream On :: The Mission U.K.
Do you have a favorite Aerosmith cover song? What do you think of this cover of Dream On? What about Kelly Sweet’s version? Have you heard any of the other covers of Dream On that you enjoy?
Dream On (live) :: Aerosmith