On this day in 1986, “These Dreams” by Heart hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming the band’s first song to top the charts. Singer-songwriter Martin Page, who co-wrote other successful songs including “We Built This City” and “King of Wishful Thinking“, and Bernie Taupin, longtime collaborator of Elton John, wrote this song. It was originally offered to Stevie Nicks, but she was not interested in it. Heart had just recently signed with Capitol Records, and while the band had previously recorded their own material, they were impressed by “These Dreams” and agreed to use the song on their upcoming self-titled album.
Nancy Wilson sang lead on this track. Her sister Ann typically handled lead vocals, but when they heard the demo the group thought it suited Nancy’s voice. Nancy had a nasty cold when she first recorded her vocals, but their producer Ron Nevison liked some of the raspiness. When Nancy was feeling better, they recorded more takes in her healthy voice, with Nancy doing her best to re-create the raspy parts Nevison liked.
On the album, this song was dedicated to Sharon Hess, a good friend of Nancy Wilson’s who died of Leukemia. Sharon’s sister, Shannon Hess-Terlop, told Songfacts the story:
“Sharon was a fan who had a custom, handmade blue acoustic guitar made for Nancy. It was her dying wish to meet Nancy and give it to her. She did get her wish, and was able to spend several days in the recording studio with the band while they were working on this album. She died four weeks later, on Nancy’s birthday.
The reason for choosing that particular song for the dedication was simply because it was the only song on the album where Nancy sang lead vocals.