Hall and Oates – You Make My Dreams

I have always liked this keyboard-driven song. The funky riff makes it irresistible. After this album, they released Private Eyes and that is when I stopped following them as much…although Private Eyes was a huge success.

You Make My Dreams peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100 and #17 in Canada in 1981. The song came off of the album Voices which peaked at #17 in the Billboard Album Charts and it went gold in Canada.

Voices was a huge success with 4 singles coming off the album making the top 40.  How Does It Feel to Be Back, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, Kiss on My List, and this song. Along with those songs the album also included “Everytime You Go Away” which wasn’t released as a single for some reason. Later on, Paul Young covered the song and had a #1 song in the Billboard 100.

Back in 2020, the song reached 1 billion streams worldwide. The riff in this song was played on a Yamaha CP30 Electric Piano.

Yamaha CP30 Electric Piano 1981 Brown | Yamaha CP30 Electric | Reverb

The single was not initially a hit in the UK but gathered momentum as time went on thanks to its frequent use on TV and film soundtracks. In 2018 it was the UK’s most-streamed song during the year out of all the records released in 1980.

John Oates: “It’s a great song, simple as that. Good songs are good songs. They stand on their own, they can be stripped away of the production. A song is what happens when a writer sits down on their individual instrument and creates something out of nothing. And there’s magic involved and there’s inspiration involved. ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ represents a vibe, it represents a collaboration between myself and Daryl and the band in the studio in the ’80s. Its simplicity and directness is where the charm lies in that song.”

“It’s amazing, right? What really gets me about this is when the song ‘You Make My Dreams’ was released as a single in 1981, it wasn’t a massive Number One hit – it reached Number Five in the US. We couldn’t have predicted the impact it would have. Over the years, it’s taken on a life of its own. It’s become this anthemic feel-good thing. A lot of it started with its use in the movie 500 Days of Summer and the dance sequence they created around that song. From there on, it took on this life of its own. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s an amazing feel-good groove and it has a great timeless appeal.”

Daryl Hall: “It’s funny – it’s ubiquitous, especially now. I think because it’s such a happy song, just a pure expression of joy. And it’s set to a really old-time-gospel kind of feel.”

You Make My Dreams

What I want you’ve got
But it might be hard to handle
Like the flame that burns the candle
But the candle feeds the flame, yeah yeah
What I got full stock
Of thoughts and dreams that scatter
And you pull them all together
And how I can’t explain, oh yeah

Well well you (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
You make my dreams come true
(Ooh you you ooh ooh)
Well well well you (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Oh yeah, you make my dreams come true
(You you you you) hell yeah (you)

On a night when bad dreams become a screamer
When they’re messin’ with a dreamer
I can laugh it in the face
Twist and shout my way out
And wrap yourself around me
Cause I ain’t the way you found me
And I’ll never be the same, oh yeah

Well cause you (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Hmmm hmm, you make my dreams come true
(Ooh you you you) oh yeah (you)
Well well well you (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Ooh, you make my dreams come true
(You you you you) oh yeah (you)
Well, listen to this

I’m down on my daydream
All that sleepwalk should be over by now
I know

Well you, hell yeah
You make my dreams come true
(You you you you) oh yeah (you)
I’ve been waiting for, waiting for you girl
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Oh yeah, you make my dreams come true
(You you you you) Me you, me you, me
I’ve been waiting for, waiting for you girl
(Ooh ooh ooh ooh) all my life

You make my dreams come true
(You you) whoa (you you)
Whoa whoa, I’ve been waiting for
Waiting for, waiting for, waiting for
Waiting for, waiting for, waiting for
(You make my dreams) ooh ooh ooh ooh

I’ve been waiting for you, girl (you you you you)
(You make my dreams, you you you you)



Hall and Oates – Sara Smile

I liked Hall and Oates until the early 80s when they started to use more of a formula.

Daryl Hall wrote this for his collaborator/girlfriend Sara Allen. She contributed to many of the duo’s hit singles, including “You Make My Dreams”, “Private Eyes”, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”, and “Maneater”.

They never got married, but Daryl and Sara were together for about 28 years before they broke up in 2001. In Entertainment Weekly October 16, 2009, Hall listed this as one of their favorite songs and explained: “That was a postcard to Sara Allen, who was my partner for many, many years, a ‘having a great time, wish you were here,’ kind of thing. I cannot tell you how many girls have told me they were named for it!”

Sara’s sister, Janna Allen, co-wrote their hit “Kiss On My List.” Janna died of leukemia in 1993 at age 36.

Sara Smile peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 in 1976.


From Songfacts

The album’s cover photo by Mick Jagger’s makeup designer Pierre LaRoche is a glitzy shot of Hall and Oates in heavy makeup. John Oates talked about the eye-catching image in Nick Tosches’ biography Dangerous Dances: “We decided that if we were going to put our faces on an album cover for the first time we wanted to do it in a big way. Pierre said, in that French accent of his, ‘I will immortalize you!’ And he just did. To this day it’s the only album cover that people ask us about.”

David Bowie said that LaRoche was the best makeup artist he ever worked with.

According to Barry Rudolph, who was an engineer on the session, Hall sang his vocal live with the band. The only edit they made was to punch in over the word “Sara” in the beginning of the second chorus. With the backing vocals, Hall was trying to get them to sound like the doo-wop group The Dells.

In 2009, the country singer Jimmy Wayne recorded an updated version of this song with Hall & Oates. Wayne got his first record deal because of this tune after the Dreamworks executive Scott Borchetta heard him sing it, and it has been part of his concert repertoire ever since. Wayne said in publicity materials: “Over 13 years ago, I picked a Hall & Oates Greatest Hits CD out of a bargain box that sat outside the department store in the old Gaston Mall in Gastonia, North Carolina. I listened to the CD on my way home and I heard ‘Sara Smile’ for the first time. I began singing this song long before I knew how to play it on guitar, and I just felt like it was as if the song was written for me.”

The Jimmy Wayne updated version was Hall & Oates’ debut on the Hot Country Songs chart.

This song was performed on the episode “Tom, Sarah and Usher” of the Adult Swim show The Boondocks. In the episode, Tom DuBois starts to sing the song to his wife, when Usher comes in and sings the song a lot better. 

Tommy Mottola, who would later become chairman of Sony Music and marry Mariah Carey, was Hall & Oates’ manager at the time. He had some experience as a musician (recording as “T.D. Valentine”) and is credited for playing keyboards on the Daryl Hall And John Oates album.

Chris Bond produced this track with Hall & Oates. According to Scott Edwards, who played bass on this song, much of its success is attributable to Bond. Says Edwards: “Chris Bond was the real impetus behind ‘Sara Smile,’ ‘Rich Girl,’ ‘She’s Gone’ for Hall & Oates. But he was never given the accolades he deserved. He’s the one in my mind that was really responsible for their success. They may have written the lyrics and the chords and all that, but Chris was the one who figured out the production and the projection of it. He was a really good arranger and he wrote out note for note. He knew exactly how long he wanted you to let a note ring, how to hit it, how to release it. He was a good guitar player, but he played all the instruments. So he was one person who really could write out everything and it would be great.” (Here’s our full Scott Edwards interview.)

As you can imagine, this is a tough song for Sara Allen to hear, and since it still shows up on many playlists she can’t always avoid it. Daryl Hall explained to American Songwriter: “When that song comes on, the reality hits that we’re not together anymore, so it’s a very poignant and hard thing for her to deal with. I can still sing that song today and feel real about it – and always will – because emotions don’t change even though circumstances change.”

This song has been performed a number of times on Daryl Hall’s show Live From Daryl’s House. Jimmy Wayne, Rumor, Monte Montgomery and Smokey Robinson have all done the song with Hall on the program. One artist who did not was Train, whose lead singer Pat Monahan asked Hall how he hit the high notes. “That surprised me,” Hall said in our 2015 interview. “Because Pat has a higher voice than me. Pat Monahan could sing that song in his sleep.”

Sara Smile

Baby hair with a woman’s eyes
I can feel you watching in the night
All alone with me and we’re waiting for the sunlight
When I feel cold, you warm me
And when I feel I can’t go on, you come and hold me
It’s you and me forever

Sara smile
Won’t you smile a while for me, Sara

If you feel like leaving, you know you can go
But why don’t you stay until tomorrow?
If you want to be free, you know, all you got to do is say so
And when you feel cold, I’ll warm you
And when you feel you can’t go on, I’ll come and hold you
It’s you and me forever

Sara smile
Won’t you smile a while for me, Sara
Sara smile
Won’t you smile a while for me, Sara

Won’t you smile a while for me, Sara
Oh smile a while, won’t you laugh Sara
Make me feel like a man not keeping me crazy crazy
Smile a while