The Beatles' Yesterday and 5 other songs that were inspired by dreams

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Songwriting inspiration can come from anywhere – but the realms of sleep are perhaps the most mysterious. It it the subconscious or something more? The not knowing is part of the magic, and dream-inspired songwriting has given birth to some absolute classics.

Whether it's a line, hook, riff or a whole song the writer wakes up to capture before it slips away again, we're here to look at the top 40 songs that owe their existence to 40 winks.
1. Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me) – Train (Pat Monahan)

The US band's 2001 hit and Grammy-winner Drops Of Jupiter took a deeper dimension for listeners when its genesis was revealed by vocalist Pat Monahan. It was the band's breakthrough hit, but its inspiration came at a bittersweet price.

"I would give it back," Pat Monahan candidly told the Daily Blast in 2022. "I lost my mother that year so that's why the song was written. So I'd give the song back if I could still call my mom but it was a great gift that she gave me."

She came to me in a dream

A gift because Monahan felt that his late mum Patricia was reaching out to him one night. "She came to me in a dream and she said she can do all these things now, including swimming through the planets and coming back with drops of Jupiter in my hair. But I'd rather be there with you – heaven is overrated and you should really pay attention to your life, because this is important."

It wasn't just inspiration for a great song then, it was life advice for Monahan to carry forward with the band. But there was one thing the singer wanted to set straight with any guitarists coming after him after mishearing the 'Man heaven is overrated' line in the chorus.

"When the song came out people thought I was singing 'Van Halen is overrated' so I was getting hate mail like crazy," he told the Daily Blast.
2. Yesterday – The Beatles (Paul McCartney)

The ultimate dream song? It's certainly the most covered one. Paul McCartney stayed with former flame Jane Asher's family in London for three years in the mid-'60s. They allowed him to stay in the upstairs attic room. "Perfect for an artist," the Beatle recalled to Paul Muldoon in the excellent podcast series McCartney: A Life In Lyrics. "And I managed to get a piano in there – a small swan-off piano. I went to sleep one night and dreamed this tune.

When I woke up I thought, 'It's great – I love that tune'

"Somewhere in this dream I heard this tune, and when I woke up I thought, 'It's great – I love that tune'. It was so vivid that the songwriter couldn't pinpoint whether it was an existing song he was recalling from childhood.

Source: Rob Laing/


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