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article imageReview: 'Sweet Dreams' memoir is a treasure-trove of rock music accounts Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Sep 16, 2016 in Entertainment
While the legends of Rock and Roll certainly have had their turn at telling their story, it's interesting to learn about the contemporaries that followed after them.
There have been many great musicians that have made their impact on the music scene in recent years. Musician Dave Stewart published his memoirs. Known as the other half of 'The Eurythmics', Dave Stewart's memoir "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This - A life In Music" is filled with very interesting and heart-felt accounts of his life and career that spans more than 30 years. What struck this reporter immediately about his memoir which was released in February of this year, is how blessed Stewart has been to meet and work with so many talented people over the years.
His collaboration with singer/composer Annie Lennox is of course at the center of the book. Yet, he also describes a life growing up in Sunderland, England. And, while legends like Mick Jagger, Aretha Franklin and many more are mentioned, there is a subtle down-to-earth quality and honesty to his recollections that welcome the reader in.
He talks about his life in ways most people can relate to. He talks about his experiences in school, life at home with his parents, etc. He provides a glimpse into life in the UK (Britain) that is telling; filled with little things that make it unlike any place else. Brits do live very differently than we do here in the U.S.
His early life and the years before teaming up with Annie Lennox were ordinary, like most people. Oh, except when he got involved with a band as a teenager, I almost forgot about that. It was when he got into more than learning about music. Yet, the extraordinary aspect that I could see from his memoir, was that he has an exceptional love of music. And, not just a love for his music, but all kinds of music. As far as I can see he was blessed with the ability to create it and express himself uniquely.
It is customary to look at the lives of Elvis, Jagger, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and take most as granted because they are legends. It is almost as if or so it seems, that Rock and Roll reached this pinnacle; and then just remained there.
Of course, that is not so, because music in all forms continues on, just like everything else in life. But as someone who came of age during the 1980's, it is a bit of a reckoning to accept the fact that era of the 1980's is now behind us. And bands like 'The Eurythmics' were a very defining part of the music of that time.
I think it is perhaps fair to say the old saying, 'behind every great man there is a great woman.' Annie Lennox was there for him and as he told NPR's Linda Wertheimer back in February, "It was actually Annie who helped me get away from all of that, (drugs). And, sort of downsize the amount of speed and cocaine and all the things I was taking."
According to Stewart, they not only became a couple as soon as they met, they began a collaboration. It was a collaboration that would take them from living in a small apartment with things they got from a swap meet to being one of the hottest duo-bands, performing to sell-out concerts.
While this reporter is not a rock music expert or critic, it is important to note that 'The Eurythmics' were a unique sound and presence. Their collaboration included songwriting and arranging. Lennox's voice and vocal range and stunning stage presence was powerful and together they produced not only some of the most original music but also one-of-a-kind music videos.
The burgeoning music video which got its spark in the 1960's with The Beatles, catapulted singers/performers like 'The Eurythmics' to major stardom in the 1980s. In his interview with The Guardian (U.S. edition) Stewart noted how quickly fame met them. “The record company didn’t know what we were doing. But they thought, ‘They’re selling millions so they can do what they want.’” And like many artists of that time, for Lennox especially, the music video was not only a canvas for artistry but also a vehicle to greater things. Songwriting and composing seems to be a tangible thing that helps a music sensation go beyond just a few hit songs. It helps pave the way to formidable staying power, a lasting career.
Some sources like the UK's Daily Mail say the duo are no longer in contact.
It is routine for any account of a musician's life to be about drugs, trysts and relationships. But for me, I pay more attention to the music and the skills the musician acquired or maintained to achieve the goal. I also look at the impact the music made upon not only the times, but a generation of people, and beyond. Perhaps it is wise to say that any musician or star who survives success and stardom is a testimony in and of itself. No doubt, Stewart could have easily disintegrated from a life of drugs and excess. But he is still with us, making music.
For fans of 'The Eurythmics' and the rock music scene of the past 30 years, the memoir I think is enjoyable. The photos and collage-like art within the book are charming. In bookstores now, "Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This - A Life In Music, A Memoir" by Dave Stewart can also be purchased through publisher Penguin-Random House at its web site.
More about dave stewart, eurythmics, Sweet Dreams are made of this, Memoir, Rock music
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