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15 Songs That Came From Dreams

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It doesn’t seem fair that some musicians can become so well versed in their craft that they can actually tap into their own subconscious to dream up parts—or the entirety—of a new song to add to their already impressive catalogs. But here are 15 examples of famous musicians who did just that.

1. THE BEATLES // "YESTERDAY" (1965)

Paul McCartney awoke one night, went from his bed to a nearby piano, and played one of the most covered songs in music history for the very first time anywhere. He spent months asking people if they had heard the tune before, believing that he must have unconsciously plagiarized the tune from someone. Once he determined that he had indeed come up with it on his own, he started to work on the lyrics.

2. THE ROLLING STONES // "(I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION" (1965)

Keith Richards came up with the legendary riff and the words “I can’t get no satisfaction” after waking up in the middle of the night and recording it onto a cassette tape (before falling back to sleep). The band was worried that the hook sounded too similar to “Dancing in the Street,” but went ahead and recorded it in a studio anyway.

3. THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE // "PURPLE HAZE" (1967)

Hendrix once told an interviewer that "Purple Haze" was based on a dream of his in which he walked under the sea before a purple haze surrounded him. In another interview, he said the song came to him in a dream after reading a sci-fi novel, believed to be Philip José Farmer’s book Night of Light.

4. THE BEATLES // "LET IT BE" (1970)

Paul McCartney’s mother, Mary, died when he was just 14 years old. As The Beatles were on the verge of breaking up, Paul had a dream “between deep sleep and insomnia” about Mary, who reassuringly told him to “let it be.” The next day he started writing the song on his piano.

5. JOHN LENNON // "#9 DREAM" (1974)

McCartney wasn’t the only Beatle to turn dreams into music (though he was the only one to do it while the band was still together). After hearing "Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé” in a dream, John Lennon turned the gibberish into the chorus for this solo tune, which peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

6. QUEEN // "THE PROPHET’S SONG" (1975)

The lyrics to this eight-plus-minute number came from guitarist Brian May’s fever dreams while dealing with hepatitis (from a tainted needle). It’s the longest song with lyrics that Queen ever recorded.

7. RUSH // "LA VILLA STRANGIATO" (1978)

The 12-part instrumental came from guitarist Alex Lifeson’s nightmares. Lifeson was known for his vivid bad dreams while the band was on tour, and would wake up his bandmates describing them.

8. THE POLICE // "EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE" (1983)

Sting woke up in the middle of the night with the line "Every breath you take, I’ll be watching you" in his head. He went to his piano and wrote the song in 30 minutes.

9. TODD RUNDGREN // "BANG THE DRUM ALL DAY" (1983)

Rundgren claimed that most of this song, including the entire chorus, came to him in a dream. He hurried to his recording studio to record everything he remembered hearing.

10. ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS // "HONEY, ARE YOU STRAIGHT OR ARE YOU BLIND?" (1986)

After dreaming up the song, Costello recorded it on a cassette player in his kitchen. Since there was no guitar around for the demo, he slapped the counter to accompany his voice.

11. R.E.M. // "IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT (AND I FEEL FINE)" (1987)

The lyrics came from a dream Michael Stipe had where he was at a party similar to one he had attended when he was 19 years old in New York City. In the dream party, all of the attendees had the initials L.B. (Lester Bangs, Lenny Bruce, Leonard Bernstein), and like in real life, the only food was cheesecake and jelly beans.

12. BILLY JOEL // "THE RIVER OF DREAMS" (1993)

Joel woke up one day singing what would become the title track to his 1993 album, and it “wouldn’t go away.” He took it as a sign that he should work on it.

13. JOHNNY CASH // "THE MAN COMES AROUND" (2002)

Cash had a dream that he met with Queen Elizabeth, who told him he was like a thorn bush caught in a whirlwind. When he read something similar in the Book of Revelation years later, he was inspired to write a song about it. The idea to use mariachi horns in “Ring of Fire” also came to the musician while he was sleeping.

14. THE KILLERS // “ENTERLUDE” (2006)

Brandon Flowers dreamed of Kurt Cobain singing on a floating ship. He sounded like Bob Dylan, and the melody he was singing became the melody to “Enterlude.”

15. FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE // "IF ONLY FOR A NIGHT" (2011)

While sleeping in a camper van in Germany, Florence Welch was visited by her deceased grandmother in a dream. The singer remembered holding onto her grandmother’s legs and crying as she gave her life advice, then translated the experience into song.

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Everything You Need to Know About Record Store Day
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The unlikely resurgence of vinyl as an alternative to digital music formats is made up of more than just a small subculture of purists. Today, more than 1400 independent record stores deal in both vintage and current releases. Those store owners and community supporters created Record Store Day in 2007 as a way of celebrating the grassroots movement that’s allowed a once-dying medium to thrive.

To commemorate this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21, a number of stores (a searchable list can be found here) will be offering promotional items, live music, signings, and more. While events vary widely by store, a number of artists will be issuing exclusive LPs that will be distributed around the country.

For Grateful Dead fans, a live recording of a February 27, 1969 show at Fillmore West in San Francisco will be released and limited to 6700 copies; Arcade Fire’s 2003 EP album will see a vinyl release for the first time, limited to 3000 copies; "Roxanne," the Police single celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will see a 7-inch single release with the original jacket art.

The day also promises to be a big one for David Bowie fans. A special white vinyl version of 1977’s Bowie Now will be on shelves, along with Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78), a previously-unreleased, three-record set. Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and dozens of other artists will also be contributing releases.

No store is likely to carry everything you might want, so before making the stop, it might be best to call ahead and then plan on getting there early. If you’re one of the unlucky vinyl supporters without a brick and mortar store nearby, you can check out Discogs.com, which will be selling the special releases online.

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Jim Henson's Labyrinth Is Being Adapted Into a Stage Musical
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Henson Company

More than 30 years after its cinematic debut, Labyrinth could be hitting the stage. In an interview with Forbes, Jim Henson's son and Henson Company CEO Brian Henson shared plans to transform the cult classic into a live musical.

While the new musical would be missing David Bowie in his starring role as Jareth the Goblin King, it would hopefully feature the soundtrack Bowie helped write. Brian Henson says there isn't a set timeline for the project yet, but the stage adaptation of the original film is already in the works.

As for a location, Henson told Forbes he envisions it running, "Not necessarily [on] Broadway, it could be for London's West End, but it will be a stage show, a big theatrical version. It’s very exciting."

Labyrinth premiered in 1986 to measly box office earnings and tepid reviews, but Jim Henson's fairytale has since grown into a phenomenon beloved by nostalgic '80s kids and younger generations alike. In the same Forbes interview, Brian Henson also confirmed the 2017 news that a long-anticipated Labyrinth sequel is apparently in development. Though he couldn't give any specifics, Henson confirmed that, "we are still excited about it but the process moves very slowly and very carefully. We're still excited about the idea of a sequel, we are working on something, but nothing that's close enough to say it's about to be in pre-production or anything like that."

While fans eagerly await those projects to come out, they can get their fix when the film returns to theaters across the U.S. on April 29, May 1, and May 2. Don't forget to wear your best Labyrinth swag to the event.

[h/t Forbes]

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