Top 10 Songs From The Dream Academy

The Dream Academy Songs

Feature Photo: agsandrew / Shutterstock

Our top 10 songs from The Dream Academy present the music of an English band renowned for its blend of alternative pop, folk rock, and new wave sonic influences. The band was formed in 1983 by guitarist/vocalist Nick Laird-Clowes, keyboardist Gilbert Gabriel, and multi-instrumentalist Kate St John. Nick and Gilbert had met back in the late ‘90s as members of a power pop band by the moniker The Act. The duo would eventually meet a former member of The Ravishing Beauty, Kate St John in the early ‘80s.

Now a trio, The Dream Academy established its musical pursuits hoping to achieve success by playing something unique from the then-popular power pop sound in the UK. The Dream Academy had a tough task finding a record label as a result of its slightly diverse sound compared to the then-predominant power pop sound in the UK. Eventually, the trio was signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1985, a move that saw The Dream Academy achieve mainstream success with its debut album.

The Dream Academy’s Breakthrough and Albums

After signing a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records, The Dream Academy wasted no time, releasing its eponymous debut album in November 1985. The Dream Academy catapulted the band to mainstream success both in the US and the UK. The album was a success, rising to position fifty-eight on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number twenty on the Billboard 200.

“Life in a Northern Town,” the band’s lead single and tribute to Nick Drake, is the most popular song by The Dream Academy from the album. “This World,” “The Edge of Forever” and “The Love Parade” are other best The Dream Academy songs from the band’s debut album. David Gilmour, the lead guitarist for the rock band Pink Floyd, handled the majority of the album’s production work.

Remembrance Days, issued in 1987, marked the band’s sophomore studio album. The album was issued through Blanco y Negro Records, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records, in the UK and Reprise Records in the US. While the album was a success, it failed to match the feats reached by the band’s debut album, The Dream Academy. “The Lesson of Love,” “Indian Summer,” “Power to Believe,” and a cover of The Korgis’ signature hit “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime” are the best songs from The Dream Academy on Remembrance Days.

In 1990, The Dream Academy tried taking a stab at mainstream success with a new studio album, A Different Kind of Weather. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the band’s poorest performing album in the mainstream. This was despite the return of Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour as the main producer of the LP. Nevertheless, the album featured several classics including “Twelve-Eight Angel” and the band’s cover of John Lennon’s 1970 hit “Love.” Here we present the ten best songs from The Dream Academy’s short but remarkable music career.

#10 – Twelve-Eight Angel

At the tenth spot on our top 10 songs from The Dream Academy is the hit “Twelve-Eight Angel.” The song is a lyrical gem penned by Nick Laird-Clowes and Pink Floyd’s lead guitarist David Gilmour. “Twelve-Eight Angel” is featured on the band’s third studio album, A Different Kind of Weather. This punchy song has its lyrics alluding to regrets. Kate St John’s saxophone solo on this song is just mind-blowing!

#9 – The Lesson of Love

Soulful and melodic are the two words that perfectly describe the hit “The Lesson of Love.” The Dream Academy issued “The Lesson of Love” in 1987, featuring it on Remembrance Days, the band’s sophomore album. Laird-Clowes collaborated with songwriter/producer Patrick Leonard in penning the lyrics to this spacey hit. Patrick Leonard is best known for his successful work with MadonnaFleetwood MacRod StewartBryan Ferry, and Jeff Beck. It’s pure pleasure listening to this masterpiece!

#8 – Love

Coming in at number eight on our top ten songs from The Dream Academy is the impressive hit “Love.” Initially, the song was released in 1970 by The Beatles’ rhythm guitarist John Lennon backed by the Plastic Ono Band. The Dream Academy went on to cover this song in 1990. The band’s cover version went on to be featured on the third studio album, A Different Kind of Weather. Unfortunately, the band’s cover version fails to surpass the impact of the original version by John Lennon.

However, this album opener is unique from other cover versions of the song. The Dream Academy recreated the song building its melody around Indian instrumentation and a drum loop. The drums on The Dream Academy’s cover are sampled from the 1970 hit “Funky Drummer” by James Brown. Other artists who have released a cover of this John Lennon classic include Barbra Streisand, Robert Wyatt, Kenny Loggins, and Shirley Bassey, to name a few.

#7 – This World

“This World” is one of the most criminally underrated hits ever released by the band. How this hit never made it to the charts will live to be a mystery to all those who rooted for it back in the mid-‘80s. “This World” is a lyrical gem penned by the band members Gilbert Gabriel and Nick Laird-Clowes. The song has its lyrics allude to Laird-Clowes’ apprehensions about his close allies turning into junkies. Despite being a somber song, “This World” has found a special spot in the hearts of the band’s fans.

#6 – Power to Believe

Number six on our top 10 The Dream Academy songs is the pulsating hit “Power to Believe.” The song is one of the best The Dream Academy songs from the band’s sophomore album, Remembrance Days. “Power to Believe” is quite a moving hit thanks to its magical instrumental. The song called more attention to the band’s sophomore album, Remembrance Days after its instrumental was featured on the soundtrack to the 1987 comedy film, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

#5 – The Edge of Forever

The Dream Academy is home to our fifth pick on the top 10 songs from The Dream Academy, “The Edge of Forever.” Nick Laird-Clowes team up with Gilbert Gabriel in delivering the lyrics to this rock classic. This sax-driven ballad is among the songs by The Dream Academy with a huge sentimental value. An excerpt of this song went on to be featured in the 1986 teen comedy film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The song was a success, rising to number thirty-seven on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.

#4 – Indian Summer

“Indian Summer” is one of the musical gems that brought some life to the band’s sophomore LP, Remembrance Days. The song serves as the lead single off the album. “Indian Summer” has its melancholy, penned by Nick and Gabriel, evocative of the band’s signature hit “Life in a Northern Town.” While it might not have matched the success achieved by the band with “Life in a Northern Town,” “Indian Summer” remains a fan favorite track thanks to its memorable and haunting melody.

#3 – Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

The third pick on our top ten The Dream Academy songs list is the hit “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.” This tremendous hit was first released by the English rock band, The Smiths in 1984. The Dream Academy went on to cover this hit in 1985. While the song was never featured on any of the band’s studio albums, it was used in the 1986 John Hughes film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The Dream Academy’s cover was a success in the mainstream, peaking at number eighty-three on the UK Singles Chart. This was the last time a song by The Dream Academy made it to the charts. Other artists who have covered The Smiths’ hit “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” include Muse, Johnny Marr, Deftones, The Caulfield Sisters, and The Halo Benders.

#2 – The Love Parade

“The Love Parade” is a timeless musical gem from The Dream Academy’s eponymous debut album. While most of the songs on the band’s debut album are produced by Pink Floyd’s lead guitarist David Gilmour, “The Love Parade” has its production work handled by Alan Tarney. Alan Tarney has also written and produced songs for Leo Sayer and Barbara Dickson.

“The Love Parade” was a success, peaking at the thirty-seventh spot on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. The song also made it to number sixty-eight on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number thirty-six on the Billboard Hot 100. Fans of dream pop music will definitely love this pick!

#1- Life in a Northern Town

Number one on our top ten songs from The Dream Academy is the enthralling hit “Life in a Northern Town.” The song is The Dream Academy’s signature hit and the most sought-after track from the band’s debut album. Penned by Laird-Crowes and Gilbert Gabriel, “Life in a Northern Town” was a tribute to Nick Drake, who succumbed to an overdose of antidepressant pills in 1974.

This nostalgic hit is memorable thanks to its magnificent choir-like backing vocals and impressive hook. The song remains the band’s highest-charting hit on the charts, peaking at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100. “Life in a Northern Town” also made it to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number fifteen. The song was covered by Sugarland featuring Jake Owen and Little Big Town in 2007. Other artists who have covered this song include Rick Springfield, Sexton Blake, and Chris Collingwood.

Top 10 Songs From The Dream Academy article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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