Spiritual Journey that Planted the Seeds for “Dream Weaver”
In 1972, George Harrison invited his friend Gary Wright to join him on one of his many trips to India. The excursions to India were spiritual journeys for George, going back to his first trek in 1966. The purpose of his original trip to India was to take sitar lessons from Ravi Shankar, which was like receiving tutelage from Frederic Chopin on how to play the piano. The visit became more than just sitar instruction from Shankar, it emerged into a life-changing experience for George that led to his fascination with Vedic Culture, Transcendental Meditation, and Hindustani classical music.
The Indian journey with Harrison was an unforgettable adventure for Gary Wright that began before their departure.
A few days prior to leaving for India, George gave Gary a copy of ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, introducing Gary to the life and teachings of Indian yogi & guru Paramahansa Yogananda. It was one of George’s favorite books, from which he reaped daily inspiration.
Gary Wright Finds Inspiration in a Yogi’s Poetry
Gary, too, was deeply moved by ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, and was particularly struck by a quatrain from a poem found in the book called ‘God, God, God’:
“When the mind weaves dreams,
With treads of memories,
Then on that magic cloth I do emboss
God, God, God!”
The idea of the mind weaving dreams really intrigued Gary, and he began to scroll variations of the line from the poem in a personal journal. A few months after his return from India, Gary came back to the page in his journal where he had written the phrases “weaver of dreams” and “dream weaver.” Feeling the urge to write, he picked up his guitar and started working on a song, using the phrase “dream weaver” as his premise. The song became simply “Dream Weaver”. Gary believed there were some cosmic forces at work while he was crafting the song, because the lyrics and the music for “Dream Weaver” came to him very quickly, and he completely finished the song in only one hour.
“Dream Weaver” an Unconventional Single
Despite its divinely inspired origin, Gary Wright did not hold “Dream Weaver” in high regard. In fact, it was literally the last song to be included as a track on Gary’s third studio album. He did not think the song should be a single at all, because it was quite different from songs that were popular during that time. “Dream Weaver” was recorded with only keyboards and a synthesizer. There are no guitars in the song, and the percussion is subtly in the background. That, in itself, made the tune very unconventional for Top 40 radio stations to play in the mid-70s.
“Dream Weaver” was chosen as the lead single from Gary Wright’s certified platinum album ‘The Dream Weaver’ released in late 1975. The mystical tune, with an unusual arrangement, climbed all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, hit #1 in Canada, and #24 in Australia. It has been placed frequently for scenes in a variety of movies including The People vs. Larry Flynt, Daddy Day Care, Toy Story 3, Ice Age: Collison Course, and Ghost Team. Perhaps the most memorable placement of the song in a film is how it was used in the movie Wayne’s World in 1992, for which the tune was re-recorded to be featured on the official soundtrack. “Dream Weaver” was a certified gold single in the U.S. selling more than 1 million copies.
John Lennon’s Dream Weaver Reference
The expression “Dream Weaver” was actually used first in a song written and recorded by John Lennon in his tune entitled “God”, which is found on the John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band album, his first solo LP released after the break-up of The Beatles. In the song “God” Lennon wrote the following lyric:
The dream is over
What can I say?
The dream is over
I was the dream weaver
But, now I’m reborn.
Before “The Dream Weaver”, Gary Wright Singer/Songwriter and Keyboardist
Prior to the release of The Dream Weaver LP, Gary Wright was a vocalist and keyboardist for the group Spooky Tooth, from 1967 to 1974. Another famous alumnus from Spooky Tooth is guitarist Mick Jones, who after the dissolution of Spooky Tooth in ’74 formed the superstar British/American rock band Foreigner.
Gary’s soaring vocal on “Dream Weaver” deserves special recognition, as does his incredible musicianship that is manifested well beyond the success of his first hit single. As a keyboardist, Gary’s talents can also be found on recordings by notable artists such as B.B. King, Ringo Starr, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Harry Nilsson, as well as his dear friend George Harrison.