Let’s pay reverence to a truly iconic piece of British pop music. 21 years ago this week, the incomparable Gabrielle climbed to the number one position on the Official UK Singles Chart with her debut single, ‘Dreams’. That’s right, 21 years!!!
Having initially entered at number 2, (which at the point set a record for the highest charting debut single) ‘Dreams’ then climbed to number 1 the following week, where it reigned supreme for a total of three glorious weeks.
The instantly catchy, feel-good track was effortlessly soulful with a pop twist; it was sincere and heartfelt without being overwrought, the strings added elegance and majesty. The strength lay in its simple honesty, it is an understated track that delivers a vibrant and optimistic standpoint.
For us, the song is centred upon the line “you know you gotta have hope, you know you gotta be strong” that was always and remains the most poignant and enduring lyric to the track, it is probably most prominent and noticeable within the live/tour version and equally at the forefront on the swelling, newly recorded Naughty Boy version that was included on ‘Now And Always – 20 Years Of Dreaming’. The sentiment of song itself coupled with that particular lyric captures the essence of what it means to be human – to love, to hold on and and keep going forward no matter what, and with a message that powerful, no wonder this particular song has endured. On whatever level the track is appreciated, the song radiates timeless purity alongside free-spirited unity.
The appeal of ‘Dreams’ isn’t connected with nostalgia or as a guilty pleasure either – people genuinely love the track and are not afraid to claim it, which is rare of a pop song that is over two decades in age. This says something about the lady herself – throughout her impressive career Gabrielle has never shied away from expression, which is evidenced by the fact that there is a song in her rich and expansive catalogue that lends itself to every human thought and emotion possible whether it be joy (‘Sunshine’, ‘Show Me What You Got’), loss (‘Maybe When Tomorrow Comes’, ‘People May Come’), sorrow (‘Over You’, ‘Picking Up The Pieces’) or passion (‘Forget About The World’, ‘When A Woman’). There is so much more to Gabs, dig a little deeper aside from the mighty run of hits and you will unlock a further realm of outstanding grace.
Gabrielle has always been her own strong, indomitable, unique self, yet to the wider world she is an everywoman – she is real, has been there, experienced it and made it through – she has empathy, demonstrates compassion and has an acute awareness of living life. Within her writing, music provides succour which often explores the value in acknowledging pain, despair and unhappiness but always with a positive note which celebrates the courage needed to move forward as well as cherishing the moments of sheer joy and the triumphs that we all encounter.
It is not often that an artist is still so welcomed and enjoyed after two decades in the way that Gabrielle has been, it shows how embedded she is within the pop landscape – people care and that speaks volumes. So, on behalf of the listening world, Gabrielle, we thank-you profoundly and sincerely for all that you are and for all the ways you have enriched our lives with your warmth, generosity, gifts and talents.
Earlier this week, Gabrielle shared a link to an EPK, which featured a snapshot of life as a new emerging artist in 1993 – it is supreme viewing.