Music

'Sweet Dreams': A Country Hit For More Than Just Patsy Cline

AP Photo and AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The song "Sweet Dreams" (sometimes titled "Sweet Dreams (Of You)") became synonymous enough with Patsy Cline over the years that it became the title of a biopic starring Jessica Lange and an unrelated book of essays on Cline's legacy. Yet she wasn't the first or last country music legend to find chart success with the Don Gibson composition.

Gibson, the recording artist and songwriter who'd soon change popular music forever with "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Oh, Lonesome Me," struck first in 1956. That version cracked the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart's Top 10 and inspired Nashville star Faron Young to cut his own interpretation, which made it to No. 2 that same year. Young's success paved the way for a 1960 re-recording by Gibson to reclaim a spot on the country chart's Top 10 and enter the all-genre Hot 100 chart.

Cline cut her beloved version with producer Owen Bradley in 1963 for planned album Faded Love. Gibson's lyrics about heartbreak suited the mighty voice and jazz-flavored sound that elevated prior Cline standards "I Fall to Pieces," "Walkin' After Midnight" and "She's Got You."

Unsurprisingly, it became a posthumous hit, released the month after Cline died in a plane crash. The Top 5 country hit also ranked No. 15 on the adult contemporary chart and a respectable 44th place on the pop charts.

To hear Cline's final recording session, which included "Sweet Dreams," check out the 1988 compilation The Last Sessions.

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"Sweet Dreams" climbed the charts one last time in the '60s when Tommy McLain's recording became a Top 15 pop hit.

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In the '70s, two future Country Music Hall of Fame inductees found success with "Sweet Dreams." First came Emmylou Harris' 1976 version, the only recording of "Sweet Dreams" to date to reach No. 1 on the country charts. Three years later, a young woman destined for stardom, Reba McEntire, scored her first Top 20 single with her own take on the Gibson classic.

Other artists to record "Sweet Dreams" over the years include Tammy Wynette, Elvis Costello and even actor Beverly D'Angelo for the soundtrack of Loretta Lynn biopic Coal Miner's Daughter.

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'Sweet Dreams': A Country Hit For More Than Just Patsy Cline