Tommy McLain: Best Version of Sweet Dreams

Tommy McLain

Even though more famous singers have recorded Sweet Dreams the Tommy McLain version sold the most copies.

The song which was written by country singer-songwriter Don Gibson was sung by Gibson first but it didn’t sell well or get much notice.

Four years later when Gibson was better known he recorded it again and it charted in the No.9 spot among the  Top Ten country songs.

However before that Faron Young a Shreveport, Louisiana native had recorded it also in 1956 and took it to No.2 on the country charts.

Then in 1963 Sweet Dreams surfaced again when Patsy Cline had recorded it before her death but wasn’t released on the album she was working on but on Patsy Cline Story album and it topped out at the No.5 spot on the Billboard Country Singles chart.

Sweet Dreams would later be the title of  the movie about her life story.

By the end of 1963 the song had been recorded by three artists who took it to  No.2, No.9 and No.5 on the record charts.

The song just wouldn’t die and Emmy Lou Harris took it to No.1 on the country charts in 1976. Three years later Reba McEntire’s version would reach No.19 on the country singles chart.

Tommy McLain singing his version of Sweet Dreams with lyrics on the screen.

Meanwhile in 1966 swamp pop singer Tommy McLain recorded his version which went to No.15 on the pop chart and sold three million copies.

The song had been recorded twice in 1956 by Don Gibson and Faron Young, 1963 by Patsy Cline, 1966 by Tommy McLain, 1976 by Emmy Lou Harris and 1979 by Reba McEntire.

Even though Tommy McLain was the least known among those that recorded it his version would sell the most copies.

For a song to be recorded five times by major artists in 23 years is a testament to how great a song Sweet Dreams was. Jerry Lee Lewis also recorded the song along with many others.

Tommy McLain recorded his version 48 years ago and is now 74 years old. 


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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