Roy Orbison – In Dreams

How I love this song but…no matter how hard I try I cannot get the movie Blue Velvet out of my head while listening to it. The song helped revive Roy’s career when it appeared in the movie. Here is what Roy said:

Oh God! I was aghast, truly shocked! I remember sneaking into a little cinema in Malibu, where I live, to see it, Some people behind me evidently recognised me because they started laughing when the “In Dreams” sequence came on. But I was shocked, almost mortified, because they were talking about ‘the candy coloured clown’ in relation to doing a dope deal, then Dean Stockwell did that weird miming thing with that lamp. Then they were beating up that young kid! I thought, ‘What in the world? But later, when I was touring, we got the video out and I really got to appreciate not only what David Lynch gave to the song, and what the song in turn gave to the film, but how innovative the movie was, how it really achieved this otherworldy quality that added a whole new dimension to “In Dreams”. I find it hard to verbalise why, but Blue Velvet really succeeded in making my music contemporary again.

Roy Orbison claimed in interviews that the lyrics for this song came to him in a dream he wrote the music once he woke up. The song peaked #7 in the Billboard 100 in 1963. While the song was in the charts Orbison toured Britain with a new unknown group, named the Beatles.

From Songfacts

This song is featured in a key scene in the 1986 film Blue Velvet where Dean Stockwell’s character lip-synchs to the song. Orbison initially rejected director David Lynch’s request to use this song, but later made a video for the track with scenes from the film.

The use of this song in Blue Velvet sparked a career resurgence for Orbison. Because of legal entanglements, he didn’t have access to the master recordings of many of his hits, so after the movie drummed up interest in his work, he set about re-recording his songs for a compilation called In Dreams: The Greatest Hits. When Orbison asked Lynch if he could use footage of the film in a video for the re-recorded “In Dreams,” Lynch not only agreed, but offered to help with the song. With T Bone Burnett producing, Lynch directed Orbison in his performance as he would an actor in a film, and it worked, allowing Orbison to be faithful to the original recording by doing it with no overdubs.

Shortly before he died, Roy Orbison recorded a follow-up to this song called “In The Real World” on his 1989 album Mystery Girl.

In Dreams

A candy-colored clown they call the sandman
Tiptoes to my room every night
Just to sprinkle star dust and to whisper
“Go to sleep, everything is alright”

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 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

Too bad it only seems
It only happens in my dreams
Only in dreams
In beautiful dreams.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Roy Orbison – In Dreams”

  1. My dad used to play Roy’s songs for me as a kid. I always loved his music. This one is one of his many classics.

    I was excited when You Got It came out, and to hear him in the Traveling Wilburys. I was just starting out in radio and working in the newsroom when the “urgent” bulletin came across the wire that he had died.

    Such a talent.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That was so sad but it seemed like his life was marked by tragic things. I was so happy for him to have that comeback with the Wilburys also… He was getting noticed again and it was about time.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Good song! I’m glad I don’t remember the Blue Velvet scene, now that I read about it. Saw that movie a long long time ago & recall thinking it wasn’t as good as the critics had been saying, but now, can’t recall very much of it. On a tangent, the one david Lynch work I really like is called “The Straight Story”… based on a real story of an old guy who needs to see his brother one last time, but can’t legally drive the several hundred miles between them… check it out if you ever see it listed!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dave, Hans pointed out to me that there are two scenes with “In Dreams” in “Blue Velvet”. One is with Dean Stockwell and surreal, and one is with Dennis Hopper terrorizing the kid, Kyle. I’ve seen “The Straight Story” and it’s awesome. Another Lynch movie I love is “Wild at Heart”. Another strange but good strange.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I watched it again a few nights ago. Love David Lynch. “Rabbits” is the creepiest thing I have seen by him…Nothing really happens in it…it’s just so depressing and you wonder what is really happening.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yipes don’t want to see that one then. Eraserhead is surreal and psychosis-inducing. Mulholland Drive was creepy too if I remember right. There is another, Last Exit to Brooklyn, I think, that is very depressing and weird also.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Max, this is an excellent write-up on one of my favorite Roy Orbison songs. Didn’t realized “Blue Velvet” revived Roy’s career but am grateful it did. Listening to his Greatest Hits the other night, it is astounding how many stellar songs he had. Jim wrote about him the other day, where I saw his music described as “operatic ballads” which is a perfect description.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Frank Booth was a frightening character…. and Roy- what a voice- but I don’t think he could have sang just any old song and made it sound right- the songs he wrote- and covered were usually spot on to fit his voice. One of those fellas who always seemed old and he was only 52 when he passed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just watched Blue Velvet again a few days ago… David Lynch is different to say the least.
      He did seem much older. That is my age now…it doesnt seem real.

      Liked by 1 person

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