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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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"Weird Al" Yankovic Is Getting the Funko Treatment
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Though the New York Toy Fair—the largest trade show for playthings in the western hemisphere—won't officially kick off until Saturday, February 17, kids and kids-at-heart are already finding much to get excited about as the world's biggest toy companies ready to unleash their newest wares on the world. One item that has gotten us—and fans of fine parody songs everywhere—excited is "Weird Al" Yankovic's induction into the Funko Pop! family. The accordion-loving songwriter behind hits like "Eat It," "White & Nerdy," "Amish Paradise," and "Smells Like Nirvana" shared the news via Twitter, and included what we can only hope is a final rendering of his miniaturized, blockheaded vinyl likeness:

In late December, Funko announced that a Weird Al toy would be coming in 2018 as part of the beloved brand's Pop Rocks series. Though we know he'll be joined by Alice Cooper, Kurt Cobain, Elton John, and the members of Mötley Crüe, there's no word yet on exactly when you’ll be able to get your hands on Pop! Al. But knowing that he's coming is enough … for now.

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11 Fun Facts About The Wedding Singer
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

On February 13, 1998, Adam Sandler gave Valentine’s Day sweethearts a retro treat with The Wedding Singer, a 1980s-set rom-com about a heartbroken wedding singer named Robbie Hart (Sandler) who falls in love with a waitress/bride-to-be whose married name will leave her as Julia Gulia (Drew Barrymore).

At this point in Sandler’s career, he was known more for his puerile comedies like Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison, not as a romantic leading man. The Wedding Singer changed all that. After earning its $18 million budget back during its opening weekend alone, The Wedding Singer went on to gross $123 million worldwide—making it Sandler’s highest-grossing movie to date at the time.

Besides being a bona fide box office hit, the film’s two ’80s-heavy soundtracks—which included tunes by The Police, David Bowie, The Psychedelic Furs, New Order, and The Smiths—were also popular. For the film’s 20th anniversary, here are 11 fun facts about The Wedding Singer.

1. THE DIRECTOR’S OWN REAL-LIFE HEARTBREAK ALLOWED HIM TO TAP INTO THE FILM’S EMOTION.

Longtime Sandler friend and collaborator Frank Coraci directed The Wedding Singer, and said that his own experience with having his heart broken was part of what allowed him to tap into the movie’s unique balance of humor and heartfelt romance.

“I remember lying in bed and not being able to move, so it was easy to tap into that pretty quickly,” Coraci told The Hollywood News of his own heartbreak, which happened a couple of years before the movie came along. “I think the distance between those two things was good. It let me look at it differently and allowed it to be funny. I think if had happened before, The Wedding Singer would have been one seriously depressing movie.”

2. THE IDEA TO SET THE FILM IN THE 1980S CAME FROM THE RADIO.

The Wedding Singer was written by Tim Herlihy, a longtime collaborator of Sandler’s who, in addition to writing for Saturday Night Live, wrote the scripts for Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Waterboy (among other Sandler-starring films). Sandler mentioned to Herlihy that he wanted to do “a film about a wedding singer who gets left at the altar.” For his part, Herlihy let the radio inspire him. “I was listening to the radio show Lost in the ’80s, and I said, ‘I want to do a movie set in the 1980s. So of course, we thought, ‘Why don’t we do a story about a wedding singer in the 1980s?’”

3. SANDLER WANTED TO MAKE A “PRO-LOVE” FILM.

While promoting the movie on Late Night With Conan O’Brien in 1998, Sandler said, “We wanted to make a romantic comedy that was heavy on the laughs. It was nice to do a movie that was pro-marriage and pro-love.” He explained men have a difficult time falling in love. “You got guys who say they don’t want to be in love, but those are usually guys who have been hurt before.”

4. THE MOVIE DOESN’T FEATURE ANY SEX SCENES, AND THERE’S A REASON FOR THAT.

In the same interview, Conan O’Brien asked Sandler why there weren’t any sex scenes in the film, which seemed odd for a rom-com. Sandler was candid with his answer: “The main reason for not having a sex scene is I’m not good at sex,” he said. “I started when I was pretty young and I was always like, you’ll get better. And I got older and it’s still not good.”

5. BARRYMORE APPROACHED SANDLER ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER.

Since the release of The Wedding Singer, Sandler and Drew Barrymore have gone on to star in 50 First Dates (2004) and Blended (2014) together, but their original collaboration was really the actress’s doing. Barrymore told Howard Stern she was interested in working with Sandler because “[I thought] I want to be a modern weird Hepburn, Tracy old Hollywood couple.” Sandler agreed to meet with her. “We looked like the worst blind date you’ve ever seen,” Barrymore recalled, referencing how she had purple hair and wore a leopard coat. Still, as Barrymore told The Huffington Post, she was convinced that she and Sandler were “cinematic soul mates,” and wasn’t afraid to tell him so. Soon after this meeting, the script for The Wedding Singer came along.

6. THE “RAPPING GRANNY” LIVED TO BE 101.

At the age of 84, Ellen Albertini Dow portrayed Robbie’s neighbor Rosie, a.k.a. “The Rapping Granny.” During a wedding scene in the movie, Rosie gets on stage and raps to The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” However, when the filmmakers asked Dow to perform the rap, she admitted she wasn’t familiar with that style of music.

In a 2008 radio interview, she recounted how Sandler and Coraci approached her with the idea. They told her, “‘We think it might be funny for an older woman to do rap,’” Dow explained. “And I said, ‘What is that?’ I had no idea what rap was. They took me to a soundstage and handed me this rap song. I went in the booth and it was very foreign to me. I said, ‘Can I move a little to it?’ They said, ‘Oh, sure.’ I’m not bragging, but I danced all my life, and I played the piano, so I know music. I started to move to it and I got it right it away. I got it very fast and loved it and had fun with it.” Her rapping success led to her rapping in a Life Savers commercial, and she even considered recording a rap record for children. In 2015, Dow died at the age of 101.

7. IT’S THE FIRST SANDLER FILM TO INCLUDE A FEMALE PERSPECTIVE.

In previous Sandler films, women mainly existed only as love interests. Herlihy, however, changed that with The Wedding Singer. “Drew elevated things for us,” the screenwriter told Esquire. “The scenes with her and Christine [Taylor]—the scenes with her without Adam—[were all great]. You look at the first movies and there’s not a lot without Adam because we did test screening and they said, ‘Get rid of that scene.’ But this time with Drew we were able to do that and have those scenes survive to the movie.”

8. THE CREATORS OF THE WEDDING SINGER BROADWAY MUSICAL KNEW IT WAS “BORN TO SING.”

The success of the film inspired a Broadway musical adaptation that ended up earning five Tony Award nominations and eight Drama Desk Award nods. Matthew Sklar composed the music, and Chad Beguelin wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the book with Herlihy. It premiered in Seattle in January 2006 and then officially opened on Broadway in April 2006.

In the fall of 2007, the musical toured nationally, then eventually landed overseas in London, Abu Dhabi, the Philippines, and Australia. Beguelin said the musical came from him pitching a movie idea to New Line Cinema. “They asked me, ‘What would you do with our catalogue?’ Well, I thought The Wedding Singer was born to sing,” he said. They felt a musical could convey stronger feelings than what was on the screen. “In the movie, you get a close-up of Drew Barrymore looking distraught at her reflection in a wedding dress, but you can’t do that on stage,” Beguelin said. “That’s where you write a song.”

9. BARRYMORE WANTED THE AUDIENCE TO “HOLD THE BOWL OF LOVE.”

In a 1998 interview, Barrymore explained what drew her to the character of Julia: “She has an ease that follows her and that’s the energy that she exudes, and I really, really like that about her. And she’s a happy girl.”

Barrymore further said she wanted people to be happy and for the movie to cause the audience “to hold the bowl of love and have those hearts in their eyes and all of that good mushy stuff we live for."

10. BILLY IDOL STARRED IN THE FILM TO APPEASE HIS SON—AND TEENAGERS.

Billy Idol, whose song “White Wedding” appears on the soundtrack, portrays himself during a climactic scene on a plane. “My son loved Adam Sandler and I thought: ‘I’m going to have to see it anyway, so why not be in it?,’” Idol said. “I gained a number of diehard teenage fans through doing it, who are adults now and are still turning up to my gigs.”

“There’s something about Billy Idol hanging on a plane, knocking back champagne, and getting involved with my love life,” Sandler said of Idol’s cameo. “Everybody thought that’d be fun.”

11. BOY GEORGE WAS A FAN OF BOY GEORGE.

In the film, transgender actress Alexis Arquette played a character named George, who had similarities to the iconic Culture Club frontman Boy George. Wedding Singer George even sings the band’s 1982 hit song “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” at a wedding in the movie. Arquette passed away on September 11, 2016, and around the same time the real Boy George paid homage to the actress at a concert in Maryland. He dedicated “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” to Alexis and her family.

“Alexis played me in The Wedding Singer, very hilariously,” he said. “When I went to [see] The Wedding Singer, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When I saw Alexis doing an impersonation of me, I was rolling around on the floor laughing.”

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