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.
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.
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.