Flashback Video: 'I Can Dream About You' by Dan Hartman
Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.
This issue we will cover "I Can Dream About You" by Dan Hartman. This song was included on the soundtrack to the 1984 film Streets of Fire and was released as a single in April of that year. The song was written by Dan Hartman, but not performed by him in the actual movie. But Hartman's vocals were what was used for the track on the album and what was released to the public due to some legal maneuvering based on his original contract. His contract stipulated that any version released commercially or for promotional purposes had to have his voice on it and he wisely chose to enforce this. The film was not very successful, but it had a solid soundtrack featuring "I Can Dream About You". According to Daryl Hall, Hartman had initially written the song with Hall & Oates in mind, and offered the song to them to record as their own but they had to decline based on the timing of the release of their new album. It definitely sounds like a song that Hall & Oates could've had success with if not a song they are actually performing already. As it was, Hartman had his own breakthrough with "I Can Dream About You" peaking at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August of 1984 and spending 25 weeks on the chart. It also reached the Top 10 on two other U.S. charts (Adult Contemporary & Hot Dance) while also reaching the Top 20 in at least eight other countries. The song certainly ended up outshining the film.
In addition to heavy rotation on pop radio stations in the summer of 1984, the music video also received heavy play on MTV. Actually, there were two music videos made for the song, but the one I remember best is apparently the second one. Hartman himself appears as a bartender trying to charm a young woman, singing to her as scenes from the Streets of Fire movie performance play on a TV set hanging above the bar. The best part is that young woman he was trying to charm was played by the gorgeous Joyce Hyser. She is probably best remembered for her starring role in the film Just One of the Guys which is an under-rated '80s classic. At one point, Hartman climbs up on the bar and does a little dancing before Hyser joins him for a dance up there herself. They receive the applause of the other bar patrons and Hartman appears to have won the lady over. Here is that version of the music video for "I Can Dream About You" by Dan Hartman...
I had the pleasure of an interview with Joyce Hyser and asked her if she had any memories of making this video. You can check out the whole interview at that link, but here is what she said about the video:
I knew Dan’s manager and he asked me if I would do it. We shot at the Hard Rock in London. I honestly remember very little about it, but Dan was very nice and I absolutely love that song.
Hartman later produced and co-wrote "Living in America" which reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March of 1986 for James Brown after appearing on the soundtrack of the 1985 film Rocky IV. As a solo performer, "I Can Dream About You" was definitely Hartman's biggest hit before, sadly, he died of a brain tumor in 1994 at age 43.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!