"Dreams" is a song by Van Halen released in 1986 from the album 5150. It was the second single from that album, and it reached #22 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year. "Dreams" also appeared on the soundtrack to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie nine years later, which introduced Van Halen to a new generation of potential fans. It was released in 7" and 12" single formats, the 7" single featuring the album version and the 12" single featuring a slightly extended version.
5150 (pronounced "fifty-one-fifty") is the seventh studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released in 1986 on Warner Bros. Records. It was the first of four albums to be recorded with new lead singer Sammy Hagar, who replaced David Lee Roth.
It was named after Eddie Van Halen's home studio, 5150, which is a California law enforcement term for a mentally disturbed person (a reference to Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code). The 5150 name has been used several times by Van Halen. The album hit number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, surpassing the band's previous album, 1984, which had peaked at number 2 at the same time as Michael Jackson's Thriller album, on which Eddie Van Halen made a guest
Before the album was released, Van Halen had considerable difficulty finding a replacement for the popular David Lee Roth. To make matters worse, Warner Bros. Records advised them to discontinue the Van Halen name; in the beginning of 1986, Eddie and Alex Van Halen formally refused. The trio even considered a series of temporary singers to replace Roth, including Patty Smyth, Eric Martin and Jimmy Barnes. However in July 1985, Eddie was referred former Montrose singer Sammy Hagar by the mechanic who was working on his Ferrari. The pair hit it off and the new singer and band immediately began work on new songs.
Van Halen went to work on the album in November 1985; it would be finished in February 1986, just one month before its release.
The album was notable for a number of love songs and ballads, which were not a feature of the straightforward rock stylings of the Roth-fronted era of the band. Many who had heard the previous incarnation of Van Halen called the new iteration "Van Hagar" either derisively or affectionately, a nickname widespread enough that, as Hagar points out in his book, Warner Bros. asked them to consider renaming the band as such. Further increasing criticism was the loss of Ted Templeman, who, having produced every previous album for the band, left in order to produce Roth's solo LP debut, Eat 'Em and Smile. Templeman would return to contribute production to Van Halen's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album a few years later, which Andy Johns was tapped for. Donn Landee took over producer duties for 5150 after having served as an engineer on the previous albums. However, many noticed that the production on this album was markedly different from their earlier albums with Templeman. Eddie's guitar, which previously sat high in the mix and frequently pushed to the left channel (to simulate a "live" sound"), now sat equal in the mix and its overall sound had changed. This may have been his doing, as he was not a fan of the "live mix" that Templeman created with the Roth band.This is also the first Van Halen album not to feature any instrumental tracks.
Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones was also brought in as a producer, after Warner Bros. denied the band full creative latitude. According to Jones, the Van Halen brothers were "going through a particularly charged emotional relationship at the time, and there were some crazy situations that went on there." Jones feels that his biggest contribution to the album was working with Hagar on his dynamic vocal performances.
Despite the controversy associated with replacing Roth, the album itself was the first album by the band to hit #1 in sales. Although each prior Van Halen album had gone platinum, the band had not managed previously to top the album sales chart. The album was also Hagar's first #1 album, as stated by him on the Live Without a Net concert video.
Eddie Van Halen played both guitar and keyboards on the studio version of this song. During live performances on the 5150 tour, Eddie Van Halen played the keyboards and would switch to the guitar during the first solo, while Hagar played the rhythm parts until then. On later tours, he would play guitar only, while the keyboard piece was either played "off-stage" by a hired performer (such as Alan Fitzgerald of Night Ranger during the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge Tour), or pre-recorded material was used. Another interesting note; during live performances on the chorus "We'll get higher and higher, straight up we'll climb. Higher and higher, leave it all behind", bassist Michael Anthony usually sings the second "higher" in both parts, but on the studio version, Sammy Hagar sings them both. This became a standard part of the song's live performances and Eddie Van Halen would also join in the singing.
There were technically three music videos made for the song. The most well known version was shot in 1986 and featured the Blue Angels performing a variety of aerial stunts. The other two videos were shot in March 1993 from a live performance at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood, California, to celebrate the band's return to the venue after 15 years for promotion of the Live: Right Here, Right Now release. One version of the video features newscasters and interviews with fans lining up outside the venue before the performance. This version is available on Van Halen: Video Hits, Vol. 1. A second version features far less commentary and more focus on the performance itself.