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"Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" is the signature hit by P.M. Dawn from their debut album Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience.
Writing credit is given to Attrell Cordes (Prince Be of P.M. Dawn) and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, as the song is built around samples of their 1983 hit "True," as well as samples from The Soul Searchers' "Ashley's Roachclip." The main drumbeat also samples from Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid in Full". Spandau Ballet lead singer Tony Hadley made a cameo in the video to this song, appearing near the end of the video.
This song was the group's first (and only) #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and also reached #3 in the United Kingdom. It ranks #81 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
The song was the first number one song after the debut of the Nielsen SoundScan system, which monitored airplay and sales more closely than before, when Billboard had to rely on humans to report sales and airplay data.
According to the test charts of the SoundScan system, "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" was at number one for at least three weeks, but officially has a one-week reign at number one.
The opening verse is influenced by the Joni Mitchell song "The Boho Dance". The original "A camera pans the cocktail hour / Behind a blind of potted palms" becomes "The camera pans the cocktail glass / Behind a blind of plastic plants", and the line "Subterranean by your own design" is echoed as "Subterranean by design".
In the second verse, they mention two hit songs from 1985. "Careless whisper from a careless man" refers to "Careless Whisper" by George Michael, and "A neutron dance for a neutron fan" makes reference to "Neutron Dance" by The Pointer Sisters.
The line "Christina Applegate, you gotta put me on" is a reference to the song "Bonita Applebum" by A Tribe Called Quest.
Cover versions and uses in the media:
In 1992, a remixed version of the song under the title "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss (Richie Rich Mix)" was featured on the charity album Red Hot + Dance.
The song was covered by the Backstreet Boys in 1996, and appears on their second album Backstreet's Back (1997).
The song appears in the 2007 film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry during the middle portion and the end credits.
The song "True" by Spandau Ballet, which P.M. Dawn sampled, would also be used by Lloyd in the remixed version of his song "You" featuring Andre 3000 and Nas. Razah in his 2009 song "Letter" featuring Nelly, and Nelly for his 2005 song "N Dey Say" would also sample the original song from Spandau Ballet.
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