“Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer”

“Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Kim Carnes
“Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer”

Written by Kim Carnes and Dave Ellingson
Recorded by Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes

Kenny Rogers called my husband, Dave Ellingson, and me and asked if we’d be interested in working on a concept album for him. It seemed like a daunting task but we liked the challenge and realized that we first had to formulate the characters, then conceive the story and work backwards and write the songs.

The only thing Kenny specified was that the album had a modern cowboy theme. So we created the main character, whose name was Gideon Tanner. We characterized him as a ladies man, a rogue. The character became very real to us. The story and the first song on the album, “Gideon,” begins with the funeral and then flashes back to his earlier life. We’ve always fantasized the story with the songs as a Broadway musical. That would be cool.

“Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer” is about the love interest of the main character in this fictional story. He is telling her, “I’m really no good for you. Don’t fall in love with a dreamer, because he’ll break you every time.” He’s letting her know that he’ll be out of there. They’re saying it to each other, but it’s really a confessional to her on the last night they’ll be together. More than anything I wanted to convey, in the way the song was written and recorded, a sense of urgency that two people feel when they know this is the very last night they’ll be together. Then the harsh reality comes in the morning when people consider changing their minds because they know that once they walk away, they probably won’t ever see each other again. Of all the songs on the album, this one came most quickly to us.

We were living in L.A. then. I wrote the music on my baby grand piano that has since come to Nashville with me. I’ll never give it up. It’s an old Mason & Hamlin that we found in a newspaper ad. I write every song on it. “Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer” was the first single from the album and has been very good to me so the piano became my good luck charm. It has a special place in my heart. I haven’t even let anyone take it away to replace its old strings. I’m afraid something will happen to it.

When we were through with all of the songs, we got some musicians together and did a demo of the album. We went to Kenny’s house and played it for him. On the spot, he said that he would do the whole album. After “Dreamer,” he asked if I would sing the duet with him. Of course, I agreed. Since it was my baby, it would have been hard to watch someone else sing it.

The album was recorded in Nashville and Dave and I went there for the entire process. When we recorded the duet, we realized that it was written in the key for my voice. The producer found the key for Kenny so I had to improvise the melody slightly on the spot. We recorded the vocals facing one another, live with the musicians playing with us. There were no overdubs. It turned out to be better than the original.

Kenny keeps re-packaging his greatest hits and has had several duets LP’s. We’ve re-recorded the song, replicating the original on several occasions as Kenny’s changed record labels. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

“Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer”

Just look at you sitting there

You never looked better than tonight

And it’d be so easy to tell you I’d stay

Like I’ve done so many times.

I was so sure this would be the night

You’d close the door

And wanna stay with me

And it’d be so easy

To tell you I’d stay

Like I’ve done so many times.

Don’t fall in love with a dreamer

Because he’ll always take you in,

Just when you think

You’ve really changed him

He’ll leave you again.

Don’t fall in love with a dreamer

Because he’ll break you every time.

So put out the light and just hold on

Before we say goodbye.

Now it’s morning

and the phone rings and ya say

You gotta get your things together

You just gotta leave

Before you change your mind

And if you knew

What I was thinking girl, I’d turn around

If you’d just ask me one more time.

Don’t fall in love with a dreamer

Because he’ll always take you in,

Just when you think

You’ve really changed him

He’ll leave you again.

Don’t fall in love with a dreamer

Because he’ll break you every time

So put out the light and just hold on

Before we say goodbye.

Written by Kim Carnes and Dave Ellingson. © APPIAN MUSIC CO; ALMO MUSIC CORP.

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