Totally Tubular Throwback Thursday #3 “Only in My Dreams” by Debbie Gibson

Category: 80s Music, Teen

In 1986, I was pretty much a standard tomboy. I enjoyed playing alongside my younger brother and his friends without care. I watched G.I. Joe and Thundercats, scraped my knees, and rode bikes like no one’s business. However, my tomboy instincts were waning and I started noticing stereotypical girly-girl aspects of the 80s. Sure, I had Barbies, doll houses, and Little House on the Prairie books. I saw girls wearing lip gloss, lots of pink, mall hair, big earrings, ozone-level hair spray, and most importantly, I witnessed how boys were seen differently. Sure, I had a major crush on a classmate (Name to protect the innocent). But, I didn’t really grasp that they could be something other than my tag partner and hide-n-sneak co-conspirator. Sincerely, I thought you picked a boy and you married them. That’s it. I didn’t have a clue about love rituals at all.

Of course, I wasn’t bold to approach them. I was only a preteen (The 80s and the sexualization of little girls wasn’t a thing like they are in the naughts and beyond), and it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Thus, my education came from pop culture, more so music with catchy little tunes detailing young love. One such song was “Only in My Dreams” by Debbie Gibson.

However, this song was not a cliche or typical at all. First, the singer, Miss Gibson, was sixteen when she wrote the song two years prior to its release. Second, it was a big hit, which led to other songs off her hit album, Out of the Blue. Third, it was voted #95 on VH1’s Greatest Songs of the 80s. Finally, it spawned a war between two female teen singers, her and Tiffany (“Could’ve Been”, “I Saw Him Standing There”). You were either a Debbie Gibson girl or a Tiffany girl. It was rare that both were liked at the same time. I was definitely a Debbie girl since she wrote her own material. Plus, she didn’t date Jonathan Knight from the News Kids on the Block. But, that’s a story for another day.

The song is quite catchy, which pop music is all about, and you could relate to it. I related a little later; but, nonetheless, I enjoyed, and still do, the song. Our local t.v. station had an after-school teen program called “Dance Party USA”, which later ran on the USA network. If you watched, you heard the song daily and, at times, watched the video.

She re-recorded the song in 1997. I don’t think it needed a re-recording. But, she’s the songwriter and that’s her prerogative. As mentioned before, I still listen to the song from time to time. It’s simply one of those songs from one’s childhood that never goes away nor do you want it to leave.


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