Oscar Levant, friend of George Gershwin and renowned interpreter of Gershwin’s music on piano, wrote “My Dream Memory” for RKO’s second film release, 1929’s Street Girl. It was a big hit for them at the time, but the songs have not become standards and are rarely heard these days (though I’m doing my best to reverse that trend).
Levant begins the song with an intro in the key of C-major, the verse switches to C-minor, and the chorus returns to C-major. This adds an air of mystery to the dream scene of the lyrics. The lyrics themselves are fine most of the time, though “the place where love-light gleams” is a bit unfortunate. I’m sure if lyricist Sidney Clare could do it over again, he would come up with a different line – at least as a favor to me.
Clare, famous for his hits “On the Good Ship Lollipop” and “Polly Wolly Doodle,” is also credited with first using the phrase “Rock and Roll” in his song of the same name from the 1934 movie Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round. His song references the movement of a ship, but Clare at least knew a good title when he heard/wrote it.
Download fake-book style sheet music to “My Dream Memory” here: My Dream Memory
Lyrics to “My Dream Memory” by Sidney Clare:
Like a gypsy wandering are my dreams.
Searching for the place where love-light gleams.
I’ll travel on until darkness has gone.
Though my lonely heart is now in pain,
still I feel my dreams are not in vain.
Visions I see of the one for me.
In my heart I keep my dream memory,
clinging to me like a theme melody,
hoping that some day the song I hum sure will come true.
It’s a dream about the moon, stars above,
meeting someone very soon I will love.
Telling me that I should wait and trust, that I must do.
I long for two empty arms that feel the same as mine.
For life’s sweet charms to have and hold divine.
Where can it be? Won’t you answer me?
I can hear you call, my dream memory.
Somewhere ‘neath the skies of blue.
Love has come at last and paid its debt
when I met you.
Verse 2: Why am I just dreaming dreams of you?
How I wish you’re dreaming of me too!
I find delight in the still of the night,
when the early dawn begins to rise.
Tears of joy are flowing from my eyes,
thinking that I see you standing by.