All I have to do is dream… and I’m back in my fifties childhood, Weetabix and Corn Flakes for breakfast, diving deep into the packet to extract the diver or the submarine that will rise from the depths powered by baking soda.  And ‘Wake Up Little Suzie’ on Children’s Favourites.

I told your mama that you’d be in by ten
Well Susie baby looks like we goofed again
Wake up little Susie
Wake up little Susie, we gotta go home

All I have to do is dream… and there’s ice on the inside of my bedroom window when I wake on winter mornings.  I creep downstairs and pick the News Chronicle off the mat to take up for my dad to read in bed. And ‘All I have to do is Dream’ plays on Housewives’ Choice.

When I want you in my arms
When I want you and all your charms
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
Drea-ea-ea-ea-eam, dream, dream, dream

When I feel blue in the night
And I need you to hold me tight
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is

All I have to do is dream… and and I’m down by the railway tracks as the steam trains chug by, little black locomotives for locals, big green ones with aristocratic nameplates for the London express.  Through the open window of the signalbox I can hear Phil and Don singing ‘Bye Bye Love’.

Bye bye love
Bye bye happiness,
Hello loneliness
I think I’m gonna cry
Bye bye love, bye bye sweet caress,
Hello emptiness
I feel like I could die

All I have to do is dream… and I’m on the way to the bakery up the street.  You can smell the Hovis and Turog, the meat and potato pies a street away, and I meet Maureen, the older girl who lives in the house over the hedge at the bottom of the garden. ‘Hey, bird dog you’re on the wrong trail…’ she shouts across to me, laughing.

Johnny kissed the teacher (he’s a bird!)
He tiptoed up to reach her (he’s a bird!)
Well he’s the teacher’s pet now (he’s a dog!)
What he wants he’s been gettin’ now (what a dog!)
He even made the teacher let him sit next to my baby (he’s a bird dog!)

All I have to do is dream… and it’s Sunday lunchtime, there’s the smell of dinner cooking.  It’s another long, dreary fifties Sunday when everything is closed except churches and chapels and there is nothing to do.  But the radio’s on for Two-Way Family Favourites and some lonesome soldier has chosen ‘Let It Be Me’.

Each time we meet love
I find complete love
Without your sweet love what would life be
So never leave me lonely
Tell me you love me only
And that you’ll always let it be me

All I have to do is dream… and I’m listening to the transistor radio that my parents gave me for Christmas. It’s made in Hong Kong and is the bee’s knees.

I got a brand new baby and I feel so good
She loves me even better than I thought she would
I’m on my way to her house an I’m plumb outa breath
When I see her tonight I’m gonna squeeze her to death
Claudette, pretty little pet Claudette
Never make me fret Claudette

All I have to do is dream… and we’re all on the bus, the whole of my primary school class, on a day trip to lake Windermere where I fell in and got a soaking. The driver has the radio playing; we sing along to ‘Cathy’s Clown’.

Don’t want your love any more
Don’t want your kisses, that’s for sure
I die each time I hear this sound
Here he comes, that’s Cathy’s clown

All I have to do is dream… and I’m under the bedclothes, listening to the show on Radio Luxembourg that has as its theme tune Duane Eddy’s ‘Because They’re Young’.  It’s 1961, Cliff is singing ‘why wait till tomorrow…there’s a song to be sung, and the best time is to sing while we’re young’.  I ride the train to grammar school now; there’s a new American President and change is coming.  The Everly’s belt out their blistering teen version of ‘Temptation’.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, aaah…
You came, I was alone

I should have known
You were temptation

You sigh, leading me on
I should have known
You were temptation

Thank you, Phil; and thank you, Don.

Phil and Don Everly
Phil and Don Everly

Phil Everly 19 January 1939 – 3 January 2014

See also

16 thoughts on “All I have to do is dream…

  1. Very sad news indeed about the passing of Phil Everly, aged 74, as I was a great fan of The Everly Brothers from the time of their first hit in 1957, when I was ten years old. Their massive hit of the following year, All I have to do is Dream, came to represent my feelings for all those in my youth whom I loved unrequitedly and is, perhaps, the most important single in my life. A true classic. I still have all their 45 rpm singles, on both the London and Warner Brothers labels, from Bye Bye Love in 1957, to It’s My Time eleven years later in 1968 and even a few beyond that, as well as many of their EP’s and LP’s. At one time, I was a member of The Everly Brothers International Fan Club and still have my membership card somewhere and a couple of fan club magazines from 1964 – 1965. Rest In Peace, Phil. You will never be forgotten. My sincere condolencies to Don and to his family.

    1. Thanks, David. The very early Warner Brothers singles were the best. I listened today to their incredible version of ‘Temptation’ – it still sends shivers up my spine!

  2. A lovely tribute Gerry. Sounds of our youth indeed – Radio Luxembourg too! I had a huge radiogram which had been my grandfather’s I think and I remember all the stations on the dial.

    1. It’s the sound of those Everly harmonies that always, without fail, transports me back to the late fifties, as if I’ve slipped through a time warp.We had a radiogram, too – all those strange station names on the dial – Hilvershum, Droitwich, Athlone, Munster…

  3. You were quick off the mark and incisive. Heart felt tribute brought back so many memories. Get out the Brylcreem and play air guitar. Listen out for Duane Eddie’s good words.

    1. Thanks…the thing is, apart from bringing back memories, they still sound great – spare, precise and stirring, like a good line drawing.

  4. Oh Sweet Nostalgia!
    Fill my heart
    with memories of a better life.
    A life so simple and yet complete
    with family and friends from up the street…
    My generation, my generation!
    I hoped I would die before I got old…

    1. Thanks, Tessa. Yes, in many ways memories of the fifties are seductive, but I guess if we were able to slip back through that time portal we’d soon end up angry and frustrated – so conservative, so racist, so complacent – because wasn’t what that was the sixties was all about, sloughing off all of that?

      1. I think we can just be grateful that our childhoods were uncomplicated and carefree, to which all children have the right yet regrettably not always the opportunity. The sixties were fun! (even if confused by adolescence and alcohol!)

  5. I agree, Tessa. We enjoyed a freedom that today’s kids could only marvel at. I remember being out for hours, sometimes most of the day, roaming across fields now covered by suburban housing, and my parents having absolutely no worries about it. And, as the Incredible String Band once sang, ‘we made our own amusements then’ – bits of wood, old pram wheels, tyres or boxes fueled games for which you didn’t need screens (in the fifties, few of us even had a TV).

    1. Yes! I used to amuse myself for hours on end with imaginary games, pots and wooden spoons, making mud pies in the garden. There is an emphasis these days on extroversion and people feel the need for external stimulus and inside their head is dead! I am reading a brilliant book by Susan Cain entitled “QUIET: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”. Highly recommended.

  6. I second that, Gerry. When I was a youngster in the 1950s, we were allowed perfect freedom to roam, sometimes far from home, often staying out all day in the summer months and only going back home when it was time for tea. Our parents didn’t worry about us going out to play at all. There was no media-fuelled ‘Stranger Danger’ paranoia in those days as there is today and we mixed freely with adults without anyone batting an eyelid about it. As I was passing a man on the pavement, “Hiya, mister!” – “Hiya, sonny!” was a commonplace greeting. These days, now a grown up myself, I see the fear in a boy’s eyes as we pass each other in the street, the poor mite having had it drummed into him since infancy that all men are out to do him harm. It’s a tragedy and I feel very sad about it. I remember being in the park when I was seven years old in 1954 and this man was pushing me on the swings and I was sitting in his lap as he held me to him and we went down the slide together. He didn’t do me any harm and we were happy together. Parents of today’s children would be absolutely horrified at what I’ve just related, but it really was quite a commonplace thing back then. “What if he murdered you?!!!”, they would remark. “Well, what if he didn’t?”, I’d reply. “Look on the bright side!” If we thought like them 60 years ago, we’d never have left the house!

    When I was ten years old in 1957, I started going to the pictures on my own, catching the bus into town in the early evening and coming back on the last bus at night. I would often wait outside the cinema when an ‘A’ certificate film was being shown (children not allowed in unless accompanied by an adult) and ask a man going in to take me in with him, as did many other boys. Again, a quite commonplace thing at that time. Once again, modern parents would be horrified if their child went into a cinema with a strange man. The mass media have a lot to answer for here, the way they go on and on about child abduction and molestation as though it’s happening all over the place all the time, when in reality, a child’s chances of being abducted when they’re out are very slim indeed and no worse than they were sixty years ago. I pity the poor kids of today, allowed nothing like the freedom I had and, even if their school is only half a mile away, they are not allowed to walk to school but have to be driven there by car, every parent having the same idea that there’s a child abductor on every street corner just waiting to pounce and clogging up the roads on the morning and afternoon ‘school run’ in the process. Parents didn’t worry about such things when I was a youngster. It just wasn’t a thing that concerned them. Unless we were ill, we used to walk to school every day even if it was deep in snow and ice and blowing a blizzard. These days, a thin covering of snow on the ground and all the schools close for the day.

    1. We a raising a fear-based society indeed. I am a Brit living in America and I think it is worse here than in Europe. My mother did warn me not to talk to strange men. That didn’t stop me from accepting a lift home from a man who saw me fall into a little stream in our local park (Northampton). I was reprimanded a bit for that! I also went into the spinney in the park which was discouraged due to the occasional flasher in there (happened a couple of times :D)!! Otherwise I walked to and from primary school also and cycled when I went to grammar school, I played outside all the time in parks, allotments and in the street – all quite safely. I was never afraid walking the streets of London in later years either.

  7. I think it all depends what generation people are, Tessa. People born and raised in the 1990s haven’t known things any other way, but people like myself, born in the 1940s, when life was very, very different, notice the difference in attitudes these days acutely. It’s almost as though the population have been taken over by an alien consciousness…a kind of Quatermass scenario. I read on an Internet forum a post from an elderly man who said that he was on a bus recently and there a woman sitting opposite him with a young boy sat on her lap. “Hiya!”, said the boy. “Hiya!”, the man said to him. At which point, all the passengers in front turned around and looked at the man as if he was really wierd for daring to return the greeting. That just about sums up the present day, along with the report in the paper about a man who took his four years old daughter to a shopping centre and decided to take a photo of her riding a coin in the slot toy horse. Immediately, he was surrounded by security guards who demanded he hand over his camera. The police were called, making him feel even more like a criminal and they examined the contents of the camera and eventually, finding nothing illegal on his camera and with him having proved to them that the girl was his daughter, they let him go. What a world to bring up a child in.

    1. That story is nothing short of shocking! Also, a simple accident to a friend’s son who fell a broke his leg while jumping on a bed and the hospital grilled his father to rule out physical abuse. I know that it is important to identify such cases but my friend was mortified and pretty upset by the whole experience.

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