Dan Hartman – I Can Dream About You
In August 1984, a beautiful song entered the charts, coming from the soundtrack of a very characteristic movie, “Streets of fire”. Declared as “A Rock & Roll fable” in the trailer and posters, the film was not really a huge success, but in hindsight we can say that it still entered the iconography of the 80s, even if few people saw it.
However, everyone knows this song and this video. Yes, but what video? Because for many reasons there have always been many misunderstandings around this song! The song was certainly written by Dan Hartman, who was not famous as a singer, but was appreciated as a writer and musician. When asked for a song for “Streets of fire”, Dan presented “I can dream about you”, a song that he had been keeping in the drawer for a few months. In fact, he had written it months earlier for his friends Hall and Oates, who were now closing their new album and could no longer add a song at the last minute.
In the movie, something strange happened. The song is performed by a group, “The Sorels”, which are characters from the film. That is, a group that did not exist but was played by actors and dancers. In particular, the singer was acted by Stoney Jackson, who had also been one of Michael Jackson’s dancers in the video for “Beat it“. Their performance of “I can dream about you” became the first video of the song, which is in fact a footage from the film. The Sorels sing and dance very well, and on the line that says “Moving sidewalks” they perform a fantastic moonwalk, but of course they are not the real singers, because the voice you hear in the film belongs to a vocalist, Winston Ford.
And that’s where the mess happens. Good Dan Hartman was anything but a fool. Having been repeatedly at the limit of emargination because of his homosexuality (which he had not disclosed, we were in 1984 and so many things had yet to happen), he had been really cautious in the contract granting the song to the movie producers, and had inserted a clause stating that, if singles or videos of the song had come out, well, it had to be with Dan Hartman’s voice!
And that’s exactly what happened: Dan Hartman managed to block the release of the video and single with the voice of Winston Ford, and forced the production to take two further steps. First, he sang the version of the video taken from the movie footage (which at this point becomes different from the movie), basically dubbing those who had dubbed Winston Ford. Then, for clarity, he shot a second video, that we see in this page, where the movie footage and the first video are broadcasted by the televisions in the room (which was the Hard Rock Cafe in London).
Some will also remember the actress, a known face although it is difficult to remember the name. It is Joyce Hyser, who within a year would play the main character in the movie “Just one of the guys” and would then take part in several serials including “L.A. Law”, where she played Jimmy Smits’s girlfriend. In the early 1980s, she had also been Bruce Springsteen’s girlfriend.
And the good Dan Hartman? He was not lucky; He left us at the age of 43, in 1994, when his body, already weakened by AIDS, surrendered to an incurable disease. With this song, however, Dan Hartman certainly succeeded to get into the history of the 80s!
Dan Hartman on Wikipedia