Jan 04

THE EVERLY BROTHERS – “All I Have To Do Is Dream”/”Claudette”

Popular10 comments • 3,428 views

#73, 4th July 1958

The version of “‘Dream” I know best is Glen Campbell’s. It always seemed a sad song to me; lonesome and woozy. The Everlys’ recording is bittersweet at worst. The key line in the song is the ‘gee whiz’ one – “I’m dreaming my life away”. Campbell sings it like a man closing the door on the real world; the Everlys sing it like boys choosing to play somewhere else for a while. Their sweet, twined harmonies tell us that life is wonderful and endless, why not waste some of it?

“All I Have To Do Is Dream” feels like a big step forward for pop. From the first ringing guitar chord it sounds crisp, clean and gentle but still totally informed by rock and roll (if you couldn’t hear it in the way the drums twitch on the fourth beat you could flip over and learn it from “Claudette”). The lullaby harmonies are something fresh too, a new seduction technology that cracks teenage music right open. Compare it to Tab Hunter’s “Young Love”, the last big teen love ballad to reach the top, and Tab sounds grotesquely smarmy as well as ham-footed. When you add the harmonies to the echoing guitars “All I Have To Do Is Dream” becomes something more remarkable still: a song about a feeling whose sonics inhabit that feeling entirely.



  1. 1
    Kenneth Wright on 20 Oct 2006 #

    Was this the first hit record with a volume-pedal lead guitar part? Chet Atkins played it on both versions (the Cadence original and the re-recording for RCA), but it’s the first that’s so absolutely swooningly blissful. The Everlys are much under-rated, in the sense that everyone likes them but no one loves them madly, yet their 10 years of hits included very few clunkers, and they modernised their sound far more effectively than most of the Old Testament rockers left behind by the Beat Boom. Maybe it’s because the melodramatic arrangements of so many of their best songs, eg Crying In The Rain and Ferris Wheel, sound a shade corny to ironic, post-modern ears.

  2. 2
    Billy Smart on 27 Apr 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: The Everly Brothers were often on UK TV. Firstly, here’s a list of the shows that didn’t survive;

    GADZOOKS! IT’S ALL HAPPENING: with The Everly Brothers, Doug Gibbons, Judi Smith (1965)

    THE HIPPODROME SHOW: with Bill Dana, Dusty Springfield, The Everly Brothers, Les Volants, El Gran Tominsko, The Molidor Trio, Rupperb Bears, Les Barios, Tony Hawes and the Central Band Of The Royal Air Force (1966)

    READY STEADY GO!: with The Everly Brothers, The Supremes (1965)

    READY STEADY GO!: with The Everly Brothers, Unit Four Plus Two, Sandie Shaw (1965)

    READY STEADY GO!: with The Scaffold, The Everly Brothers, The Mindbenders (1966)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Frankie Vaughan, The Dave Clark Five, The Everly Brothers, Scott Hamilton (1965)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, The Dave Clark Five, The Everly Brothers, Danny Williams (1965)

    And here’s what does still exist;

    THE (NOEL EDMONDS) LATE LATE BREAKFAST SHOW: with Mike Smith (Reporter), The Everly Brothers, John Inman, Nicholas Lyndhurst (1984)

    THE ALMA COGAN SHOW: with The Everly Brothers, Gary Miller, Morecambe and Wise, Margo Henderson, Graham Stark, Peter Noble, The Tommy Linden Dancers, The Barney Galbraith Singers, Jack Parnell and his Orchestra (1960)

    THE EVERLY BROTHERS REUNION CONCERT: with The Everly Brothers (1983)

    LIVE FROM HER MAJESTY’S: with The Everly Brothers, Sacha Distel, Michael Barrymore (1985)

    LULU’S BACK IN TOWN: with The Everly Brothers, Les Dawson, Peter Knight And His Orchestra (1968)

    THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST: with The Everly Brothers, Billy Joel (1972)

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 7 Nov 2010 #

    There’s something eerie and uncanny about the Everly Brothers vocals on this and their other hits – almost as if each brother is haunting the other – and there’s a genderless quality to their voices as well

    The Alma Cogan Show performance is available here:

  4. 4
    crag on 13 Apr 2011 #


    Elaine Paige, singer (1987). (For “Dream”.)

  5. 5
    fivelongdays on 7 Jan 2014 #

    Since Phil Everly died recently, I suppose it’s only fitting to say that this song, in whichever form it takes, is absolutely lovely. And the Everlys version is still, fundamentally, definitive.


  6. 6
    hectorthebat on 13 Feb 2014 #

    Critic watch: AIHTDID appears on the following “best-of” lists:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Dave Marsh (USA) – The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (1989) 604
    Paul Williams (USA) – Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles of All Time (1993)
    Pause & Play (USA) – Songs Inducted into a Time Capsule, One Track at Each Week
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (USA) – 500 Songs That Shaped Rock (1994?)
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2004) 141
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (Updated 2010) 142
    The Recording Academy Grammy Hall of Fame Albums and Songs (USA)
    BBC (UK) – Pop on Trial, Top 50 Songs from the 1950s (2008)
    HarperCollins GEM (UK) – Single of the Year 1949-99 (1999)
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 100 Singles of All Time (1976) 50
    Q (UK) – The 1001 Best Songs Ever (2003) 727
    Rolling Stone (Germany) – The Best Singles of 5 Decades (1997)
    Les Inrockuptibles (France) – 1000 Indispensable Songs (2006)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)

    “Claudette” is less fondly remembered.

  7. 7
    Gareth Parker on 9 Jun 2021 #

    AIHTDID would also get an 8/10 from me.

  8. 8
    enitharmon on 22 Aug 2021 #

    And it’s goodbye Don Everly. More legends of my youth confined to the history books. Are we looking for a new Oldest Surviving Chart-topper.

  9. 9
    enitharmon on 22 Aug 2021 #

    Postscript: The answer to my question is no; the Earliest Surviving chart-topper (which is what I meant) is currently Paul Anka unless anybody knows something about a living member of Prez Prado’s band.

  10. 10
    AMZ1981 on 24 Aug 2021 #

    I thought that distinction belonged to Tony Bennett with Pat Boone as the “heir”, although it’s not inconceivable that one or both of the Dream Weavers could still be alive,

Add your comment

(Register to guarantee your comments don't get marked as spam.)

If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)


Required (Your email address will not be published)

Top of page