Few songs are instantly recognisable with only a mere half-second drum fill. Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ is a golden rarity that proves utterly iconic from the very get-go. In the 45 years since it was released, it has never faltered from its lofty perch as the peak of cruising pop-rock and the slew of artists it has clearly inspired is testimony to this.
The song perfectly couples vulnerability with a cathartic so-screw-it liberation that is matched by the moody yet euphonic music and it doesn’t miss a single note. ‘Dreams’ is far too catchy and too sing-along to be considered the pinnacle of heart-breaking music; in fact, it is even played at weddings by less lyrically scrupulous DJs. However, the story behind it is one that doesn’t get much more tragic this side of Orpheus. As Stevie Nicks was forced to present it to the very person she poured the heartache out about.
The true triumph of the song now resides with the yardstick that very few tracks get to measure themselves with: it would seem that the anthemic hit now occupies a very particular place in all of our lives. The true transcendent nature of the track means it has mingled with our memories indelibly, and whether you love it or loath it, that is no doubt a measure of pop culture at its finest.
There is also no doubt that the musicians who have chosen to cover the track below are no different. Perhaps that is why covers of it prove so great—the artists can fill a piece of perfect music with their own personal corroborations. If that isn’t nice, what is? Thus, from Angel Olsen to Richie Havens, we’ve collated the best of them for your delectation below.
The 4 best covers of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’:
“Do you have dreams?” Angel Olsen asks the audience, moment before making a small fantasy come true as she embarks upon a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s timeless pop-rock wonder ‘Dreams’ then waltzes into her own ‘Sweet Dreams’.
Over the course of her brief career so far, Olsen has already established herself as a premium cover artist in both senses of that word. Whether performing her own scintillating slew of tracks to date or trying her hand at those written by others, a cosmic allure comes shining through as she croons her way towards atmospheric perfection.
Anything that Richie Havens touches is tinged with an added sense of spiritualism. His voice wraps around any tune like a blanket and serves up a patch of comforting bliss. He’s been practising the art of covers since his days inspiring Bob Dylan as a pioneer amid the Greenwich Village folk scene… and boy oh boy does ‘Dreams’ reap the rewards of his dogeared timeless renditions.
The track had only been released for about two and half years when Havens wade in and made it seem like you were hearing it for the first time all over again. With light wailing guitar flourishes and a few instrumental embellishments Havens really puts the wind through your locks. A fine, fine cover.
The slow gathering storm of The Kills’ rendition brings the thunder to the track in a downpour that perfectly suits the sultry tones of Alison Mosshart. The track achieves the rare music oddity of a sparse arrangement somehow carrying more weight than a jampacked instrumental.
Jamie Hince’s heavy guitar work for track wavers around with little arpeggios and hammer-ons thrown in on a whim but never without any due care for the melody of the original masterpiece. If you can subvert a classic with such seamless aplomb without denigrating it, then you know you’re doing something right.
Appearing on SiriusXM, Ohio folk trio CAAMP delivered a faithful rendition of the classic with a gruff vocal take and a sweet chirping banjo. Eddie Vedder comparisons prove obvious, but not without good reason. The result is a mellowed piece of perfectly melodious music with just enough of a brisling edge to stop you from drifting into a daydream.
In short, CAAMP’s version doesn’t fiddle with the formula too much, it just moves a few months further down the line of the narrative and looks back at the track from a sunnier disposition than Nicks was afforded. The result is something like a sanguine ode to the original that washes down great with a brew.