Dream Academy

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The Dream Academy

“Ah hey ma ma, ma-me doo-de din-day-ya”. That’s how it goes. Dream with me and The Dream Academy

British trio The Dream Academy formed in London in 1983 and took the US single and album charts by storm in 1985 with their debut single and a feature in one of the 1980’s most iconic flicks. The origins of The Dream Academy can be traced back to the 1970’s, when Nick Laird-Clowes and Gilbert Gabriel were part of the band, The Act. Once free of the group, the duo began writing and producing material for themselves, initially under the title of Politics Of Paradise. Singer Kate St. John joined in and the new trio decided upon the name, The Dream Academy. After many rejections, the group were finally signed by Blanco y Negro Records, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers and released their debut single, “Life In A Northern Town”, in March 1985.

The song became a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic, peaking at No.15 in the UK, before bettering that Stateside, entering the top ten and making No.7. The follow up, “The Edge Of Forever”, didn’t do very much at all, but its day was yet to come…! Their self-titled debut album came at the end of 1985 and while it was a less than moderate success at home, went top twenty in America. This was aided by their first single of 1986, “The Love Parade”, which made No.36 Stateside and No.68 in the UK. The Dream Academy recorded their version of The Smiths 1984 hit “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”, although this barely scrapped into the UK singles chart. Much more successful, was the inclusion of “The Edge Of Forever” on the soundtrack of the hit film, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ that year, which sent the single up the American charts and kept their album on the record shelves for a whole year.

The Dream Academy recorded and released their second album, “Remembrance Days”, in 1987. This featured the singles “Indian Summer”, “The Lesson Of Love” and “Power To Believe”, although none were a success. The album scrapped in at No.181 in The States. They released their third album, “A Different Kind Of Weather”, in 1990, which featured a cover of John Lennon’s “Love”, although the same patten with their previous release ensued. The trio split up the following year, although the 1990’s hadn’t seen the last of the band’s sound. In 1997 producer Paul Spencer, under the name of ‘Dario G’, reworked “Life In A Northern Town” into his song “Sunchyme”, which became a massive hit worldwide, reaching No.2 in the UK and selling over 600,000 copies, in September, while Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind” was number one. Even with the copies sold in its first week, “Sunchyme” remains the largest sales difference between a number one and a number two single on the UK chart of all time.

The Dream Academy themselves reformed in 2014 for a best of album, “The Morning Lasted All Day: A Retrospective” as well as a brand new single, “Sunrising”, while in 2016, Nick and Kate accompanied Maxwell Cooke on stage in Japan and in Wales the following year, playing a set list of their best known songs. Since leaving the band, Gilbert Gabriel has produced music for film and television. Nick and his Pink Floyd friend David Gilmour co-wrote two songs for the bands 1994 comeback album, “The Division Bell”. He released a solo album in 1999 under the name of Trashmonk and has since composed music for films and documentaries, most notably the 2005 feature ‘Fierce People’ and the 2017 documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me?. Kate St. John has since worked with the likes of Julian Cope, Marianne Faithfull and Morrissey and also has written music for film and stage.

Nick Laird-Clowes 2020

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!