Dream a Little Dream of Me

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"Dream a Little Dream of Me"
Music byFabian Andre, Wilbur Schwandt
Lyrics byGus Kahn
Recorded by(numerous, see text)
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"Dream a Little Dream of Me"
Music byFabian Andre, Wilbur Schwandt
Lyrics byGus Kahn
Recorded by(numerous, see text)

"Dream a Little Dream of Me" is a song, from c.1931, with music by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt[1] and lyrics by Gus Kahn. It was first recorded in February 1931 by Ozzie Nelson and also by Wayne King and His Orchestra, with vocal by Ernie Birchill. A popular standard, more than 60 other versions have been recorded, but some of the highest chart ratings were in 1968 by Mama Cass Elliot with The Mamas & the Papas.

Disputed attribution[edit]

In February 2013, the W.B. Nickerson Cape Cod History Archives discovered[2] a partial score to the song dated January 6, 1930, in the Milton Adolphus papers.[3] Adolphus appears to have composed the song under contract with lyrics by Schwandt, with subsequent authorship assigned by the rights holders to Andre.

Early recordings[edit]

"Dream a Little Dream of Me" was recorded by Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra, with vocal by Nelson, on February 16, 1931 for Brunswick Records. Two days later, Wayne King and His Orchestra, with vocal by Ernie Birchill, recorded the song for Victor Records. "Dream a Little Dream of Me" was also an early signature tune of Kate Smith. In the summer of 1950, seven recordings of "Dream a Little Dream of Me" were in release, with the versions by Frankie Laine and Jack Owens reaching the US Top 20 at respectively #18 and #14: the other versions were by Cathy Mastice, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Jordan, Vaughn Monroe, Dinah Shore and a duet version by Bing Crosby and Georgia Gibbs. Other traditional pop acts to record "Dream a Little Dream of Me" include Louis Armstrong, Barbara Carroll, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Joni James, and Dean Martin.

The song was again recorded in 1968 by Mama Cass Elliot with The Mamas & the Papas, and then by Anita Harris. More than 40 other versions followed, including by the Mills Brothers, Sylvie Vartan, Henry Mancini, The Beautiful South, Anne Murray, Erasure, Michael Bublé, and Italian vocal group Blue Penguin (see below: List of recorded versions).

Cass Elliot version[edit]

"Dream a Little Dream of Me"
Single by Mama Cass with the Mamas & the Papas
from the album The Papas & The Mamas and Dream a Little Dream
B-sideMidnight Voyage (the Mamas & the Papas)
ReleasedJune 1968
Format7" single


3:22 (Mama Cass' album version)
LabelDunhill (USA)
Stateside (UK)
The Mamas and the Papas chronology
"Safe In My Garden"
"Dream a Little Dream of Me"
"For The Love Of Ivy"
Cass Elliot chronology
"Dream a Little Dream of Me"
"California Earthquake"
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The Mamas and Papas' version, with solo voice by Cass Elliot, released as a single during 1968.

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"Dream a Little Dream of Me" was recorded for the Mamas & the Papas April 1968 album release The Papas & The Mamas. The group had often sung the song for fun, having been familiarized with it by member Michelle Phillips, whose father had been friends with the song's co-writer, Fabian Andre, in Mexico City where Michelle Phillips' family had resided when she was a young girl. "Mama" Cass Elliot suggested to group leader John Phillips that the group record "Dream a Little Dream of Me". According to him she was unhappy while recording the song, objecting to its campiness. However, Elliot herself would later tell Melody Maker: "I tried to sing it like it was 1943 and somebody had just come in and said, 'Here's a new song.' I tried to sing it as if it were the first time."

By the time of the album's release, there were strong indications that the Mamas & the Papas were set to disband, a perception strengthened by the failure of the lead single "Safe in My Garden". Having an opportunity to promote the group's best-known member as a soloist, Dunhill Records gave a June 1968 single release to the "Dream a Little Dream of Me" track with the credit reading - to John Phillips' displeasure - [4]"Mama Cass with the Mamas & the Papas"; in its UK release the artist credit simply read "Mama Cass". Promoted in the US press and on billboards with a photograph of a discreetly but obviously nude Elliot lying in a bed of daisies,[5] "Dream a Little Dream of Me" peaked at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 that August (its Cash Box peak was #10 and in Record World it reached #8). The Billboard Easy Listening chart ranked the single as high as #2.[6] In the UK "Dream a Little Dream of Me" reached #11 that September; the track also afforded Mama Cass a hit in Ireland (#13) and South Africa (#8). In Australia the Go-Set Top 40 chart ranked "Dream a Little Dream of Me" at #1 for the weeks of 4 & 11 September 1968. [1] "Dream a Little Dream" was released as a single in Europe in 1992 - credited to the Mamas and the Papas and featuring that group's #1 hit "Monday, Monday" as the B-side - to reach #5 in Germany and #22 in Switzerland.

A slightly different version of "Dream a Little Dream of Me" was included on Elliot's solo debut album, Dream a Little Dream.[5]

Anita Harris version[edit]

The release of the Mama Cass single of "Dream a Little Dream of Me" prompted a cover by Anita Harris which was recorded at Olympic Studios in a session produced by Mike Margolis with Alan Tew as musical director. Released 26 July 1968, the Harris version debuted in the UK Top 50 dated 10 August 1968 at #46 ahead of the Cass version at #49 although the latter would vault into the Top 30 and then Top 20 over the next two weeks while the Harris version would never reach the Top 30. However Harris' version of "Dream a Little Dream of Me" would maintain a lower chart presence throughout the ascendancy of the Cass version with Harris' single peaking at #33 the week after Cass's peak at #11. Both Cass and Harris's versions of the song have an inaccurate rendering of the middle eight bars[citation needed].

Robbie Williams version[edit]

"Dream a Little Dream"
Single by Robbie Williams
from the album Swings Both Ways
B-side"You Got Old"
ReleasedDecember 13, 2013 (2013-12-13)
FormatDigital download
Writer(s)Fabian Andre, Gus Kahn, Wilbur Schwandt
ProducerGuy Chambers
Robbie Williams singles chronology
"Go Gentle"
"Dream a Little Dream"

English singer-songwriter Robbie Williams covered "Dream a Little Dream" for his tenth studio and second swing album Swings Both Ways (2013). The album version is a duet with Lily Allen, however she was omitted from the single version which was released on 13 December 2013 as the album's second single.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Dream a Little Dream" – 3:10
  1. "Dream a Little Dream" (single version) – 3:11
  2. "You Got Old" – 3:43
  3. "Puttin' on the Ritz" (remix) – 2:18


Album version featuring Lily Allen
Chart (2013)Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[9]45
Denmark (Tracklisten)[10]18
France (SNEP)[11]160
Germany (Media Control AG)[12]88
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[13]67
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14]144

Release history[edit]

CountryRelease dateFormatLabel
Ireland[7]13 December 2013Digital downloadIsland Records

List of recorded versions[edit]

Performances in other media[edit]


  1. ^ Co-catalog, Library of Congress.
  2. ^ Handwritten score posted by Nickerson Library
  3. ^ Nickerson Archives → Manuscripts
  4. ^ New York Times 14 July 1968 p.D22
  5. ^ a b Fiegel, Eddi. Dream a Little Dream of Me: the Life of "Mama" Cass Elliot (London: Sidgwick & Jackson. 2005. ISBN 0-283-07331-4) pp.256, 261.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 153. 
  7. ^ a b https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/dream-a-little-dream-single/id771837890
  8. ^ a b https://itunes.apple.com/at/album/dream-a-little-dream-single/id775426944
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – Robbie Williams feat. Lily Allen – Dream A Little Dream" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  10. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Robbie Williams feat. Lily Allen – Dream A Little Dream". Tracklisten.
  11. ^ "Lescharts.com – Robbie Williams feat. Lily Allen – Dream A Little Dream" (in French). Les classement single.
  12. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  13. ^ "Robbie Williams feat. Lily Allen – Dream A Little Dream – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
  14. ^ http://zobbel.de/cluk/131130cluk.txt
  15. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/de/album/dream-a-little-dream-single/id775426944
  16. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/ch/album/dream-a-little-dream-single/id775426944
  17. ^ http://www.ejazznews.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=8021&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
  18. ^ According to the web site www.Musique de pub.tv, seen the 18 September 2011, "Spot TV pour le produit Yop". www.musiquedepub.tv.  Unknown parameter |seen= ignored (help)

External links[edit]