Eurythmics song Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) is one of 25 songs introduced into the 2023 National Recording Registry in the USA

Eurythmics song Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) is one of 25 songs introduced into the 2023 National Recording Registry in the USA

Each year since 2002, the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) and members of the public have nominated recordings to the National Recording Registry. The depth and breadth of nominations received highlights the richness of the nations” audio legacy and underscores the importance of assuring the long-term preservation of that legacy for future generations.

For the 2023 nominations, the Eurythmics single “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” is one of the 25 songs selected.

By the 1980s, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart had been in and out of British-based music groups for some time without much success. Flat broke in 1982, Stewart managed to borrow enough money to buy a couple of synthesizers and a prototype of a drum machine so basic that it was housed in a wooden case.

One night in their studio — the loft of a picture-framing factory in central London — he got the drum kit going and hit a couple of chords on the synthesizer. Lennox sat up bolt upright, as if she’d touched an electric wire. She went to her own synthesizer, played a riff against his beat and soon ad-libbed a lyric, a wry comment on their impoverished status: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” The Eurythmics’ influential, synthesizer-heavy song was born, and soon the duo would have a massive international dance hit and would be a sensation in the new medium of music videos.

“It’s a mantra, almost like a Haiku poem, a coded message, a commentary about the human condition,” Lennox said of the song. “You can use it as a happy birthday song or a celebratory song…it could be anything. Looking back, I love the way people have identified with it.”

Stewart, who now works primarily as a producer, took a break from working on a musical with Ringo Starr to talk about the song that made the rest of his life possible.

“It’s like alchemy, you get two people like Annie and myself” with different skill sets but a united passion for a single sound, he said. “It’s like one plus one equals three.”

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” — Eurythmics (1983) (single)
David Stewart and Annie Lennox, popularly known as Eurythmics, had enjoyed some chart success prior to the release of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” but this synth-pop song with its propulsive drum and synth line proved their breakthrough hit. Stewart remembers the track coming together very quickly using a prototype drum machine and two synthesizers. Lennox was depressed and laying on the floor when suddenly this pounding rhythm came out of the speakers. Lennox leapt to her feet, asking, “What’s that?” She quickly seized one synthesizer already preset to a string ensemble sound. That, along with Stewart’s addition of one more monophonic synth line, and the track was complete. Lennox then wrote the bulk of the lyrics on the spot and sang the lead vocal in one take. With the addition of one more section, they had created one of the most recognizable tracks in pop.

The full list of 25 entries are as follows:

National Recording Registry, 2023 Selections

(chronological order)

  1. “The Very First Mariachi Recordings” — Cuarteto Coculense (1908-1909)
  2. “St. Louis Blues” — Handy’s Memphis Blues Band (1922)
  3. “Sugar Foot Stomp” — Fletcher Henderson (1926)
  4. Dorothy Thompson: Commentary and Analysis of the European Situation for NBC Radio (Aug. 23-Sept. 6, 1939)
  5. “Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around” — The Fairfield Four (1947)
  6. “Sherry” — The Four Seasons (1962)
  7. “What the World Needs Now is Love” — Jackie DeShannon (1965)
  8. “Wang Dang Doodle” — Koko Taylor (1966)
  9. “Ode to Billie Joe” — Bobbie Gentry (1967)
  10.  “Déjà Vu” — Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970) 
  11.  “Imagine” — John Lennon (1971)
  12.  “Stairway to Heaven” — Led Zeppelin (1971)
  13.  “Take Me Home, Country Roads” — John Denver (1971)
  14.  “Margaritaville” — Jimmy Buffett (1977)
  15.  “Flashdance…What a Feeling” — Irene Cara (1983)
  16.  “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” — Eurythmics (1983)
  17.  “Synchronicity” — The Police (1983)
  18.  “Like a Virgin” — Madonna (1984)
  19.  “Black Codes (From the Underground)” — Wynton Marsalis (1985)
  20.  Super Mario Bros. theme — Koji Kondo, composer (1985)
  21.  “All Hail the Queen” — Queen Latifah (1989)
  22.  “All I Want for Christmas is You” — Mariah Carey (1994)
  23.  “Pale Blue Dot” — Carl Sagan (1994)
  24.  “Gasolina” — Daddy Yankee (2004)
  25.  “Concerto for Clarinet and Chamber Orchestra” — Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, composer (2012)
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams - National Recording Registry - Library of Congress

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