Song of the day: Crowded House – "Recurring Dream"

January 2, 2010

A recipe for Australian jangle:

1. One six-string electric guitar.
2. The key of G major so that you can play lots of open ringing notes.
3. A delay pedal applied to the guitar to give the impression of many guitars playing at once.
4. Crowded House.

All of the above are in full effect for today’s song – so much so that it sounds as if it’s raining jangle. And I love it:

Crowded House – “Recurring Dream” (Rikky and Pete version) (1988)


“Recurring Dream” was never released on a regular Crowded House studio album. Instead, it appeared in two (!) movie soundtracks, both released in 1988 (!!). The first was in the Australian movie Rikky and Pete. The second appearance was the much more international Tequila Sunrise starring Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, and Michelle Pfeiffer whom the boys fight over as the object of their affections/rivalry.

The above, as you can see, is the version that appeared on the Rikky and Pete soundtrack. And now for the Tequila Sunrise version and its place in the movie…

I don’t have Tequila Sunrise on video or DVD to jog my memory, but as far as I remember (which, admittedly, isn’t very far) the song accompanied a panoramic scene in which either Mel’s or Kurt’s character drove down an ocean highway in an open-topped convertible, with his permed hair flowing in the wind. It was very Hollywood, and very 80’s. (Yep, nothing says the 80’s quite kind like permed hair in the wind.)

Update: I’ve just had a look at the cover of the Tequila Sunrise soundtrack (see below), and neither of the male leads have long hair. Which goes to show that I can’t be trusted to remember details on 22-year-old movies. Maybe I was thinking of Mel’s mane in Lethal Weapon. And maybe I’m wasting your time in a big way.

Although Crowded House released a greatest-hits compilation in 1996 called Recurring Dream, the song itself – in either version – isn’t on it. (As Americans like to say: go figure.) It was finally rescued from buried-in-a-soundtrack status when it appeared on Afterglow (1999), an album of CH rarities. It was the Tequila Sunrise version that ended up on Afterglow.

By the way, both versions are the same song but produced differently. To me, the Tequila Sunrise version sounds slightly overproduced, with pretty much everything awash in echo. As a result, I think the overall sound is a little ill-defined. The production on the Rikky and Pete version, however, is stripped back and brings the jangle front-and-centre, which is precisely how I like it.

At the risk of making you thoroughly sick of hearing about “Recurring Dream,” here’s the soggy Tequila Sunrise version if you want to hear the difference:

Crowded House – “Recurring Dream” (Tequila Sunrise version) (1988)


And if that wasn’t enough, here’s a demo of the song you probably now hate:

The Mullanes – “Recurring Dream” (demo) (1985)


(Thanks go to reader Clive who told me about “Recurring Dream” appearing in Rikky and Pete, something I didn’t know at all. Thanks, Clive!)