(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN")
DONE AGAIN: (Singing) There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold. And she's buying a stairway to heaven.
(SOUNDBITE OF EURYTHMICS SONG, "SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS")
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
I probably don't need to tell you that you're hearing "Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This," maybe one of the most famous songs recorded by the Eurythmics. We're playing it because we're going to talk to Dave Stewart, half of the extraordinary pop music duo, along with Annie Lennox.
Dave Stewart has written a memoir with the same title as the famous piece of music, and he joins us now from our studios in New York City.
Thank you very much for doing this. And welcome.
DAVE STEWART: It's very nice to be here.
WERTHEIMER: Now, Dave Stewart, I could not help but think that at the beginning of your life in music, which is the subtitle of your memoir, that you narrowly missed becoming a rich and famous performer and creator. In fact, you came awfully close to being a dead teenage drug addict.
STEWART: That's very true, yeah. It was actually Annie who helped me get away from all of that and sort of downsize the amount of speed and cocaine and all the things I was taking - in a very sweet way, actually, because she just started to make a note in a little notebook of how many times I was taking speed a day, for instance. Say there was 20 lines of speed, she'd suggest, like - hey, how about 19 lines today?
WERTHEIMER: So when you and Annie Lennox actually met and started to make music together, you were a couple for quite a while.
STEWART: Yeah. We were a couple from the minute we first met. And you know, from that day onwards, for about five years, we were a very sweet couple, actually. We were living on 8 pounds a week. That's about $12 a week between us. We got the vegetables from 'round the back of the vegetable shop, the ones that they didn't sell that day or whatever. And we lived in a squat. And we would go to - what you call swap meets - or we call jumble sales and try and get a sofa bed for, like, $2. And you know, I mean, we were really started at zero.
And we then started to have idea to make music together. But we still didn't write any songs. We had a band called The Tourists, where the - Peet Coombes wrote all the songs. And that was massive work, and we made three albums. And we went around the world and toured. And it was very stressful trying to be a couple in a little van with seven guys - Annie the only girl - and it put our relationship under a lot of pressure.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "17 AGAIN")
EURYTHMICS: (Singing) Yeah, it feels like I'm 17, yeah.
STEWART: So when we finished it - our Australian tour, we decided to live apart. But we were a couple who could not be together but could not be apart. So at first, she just moved upstairs, which was kind of ridiculous because we - she'd come down and have a cup of tea and then, you know (laughter).
STEWART: It was just the same as living together, really.
WERTHEIMER: It does the amazing that you could live together as a couple for a number of years and then break up - and then create the Eurythmics.
STEWART: Yeah. I mean, what's even stranger is, you know, Annie and I being a duo. You know, that look - sometimes you'll be on the stage playing a song. And we look at each other, and we know, ourselves, what it's all about and everything we've been through. And I think the audience felt this sort of emotion that ran through the song and ran through the concert hall or stadium. And - so it was a very emotional experience, Eurythmics concerts because we were very emotional.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN")
EURYTHMICS: (Singing) So baby, talk to me like lovers do. Walk with me like lovers do. Talk to me like lovers do. Oh, yeah.
WERTHEIMER: I was very interested in all of the descriptions of places that you bought to work - or places that you bought to live. You were creating companies. You formed your own bands. You wrote your own musical hits. And you bought a lot of real estate. I mean, it sounds like somewhere along the line, you got very rich.
STEWART: Well, you see, there was a time, a long, long time ago when people bought records. And when people bought records...
STEWART: ...Artists got paid. But you remember, we stopped making records in 1990.
And we went crazy at one point. And our manager in America - he said I'm only going to give you one piece of advice. You know this is when "Sweet Dreams" was No. 1, and he could tell we were going to be successful. He said - only buy one home. And everywhere else, you're just vacationing. Just, you know, rent it for a week or a month. And of course, neither of us listened to him.
We bought apartments in Paris. And you know, we bought land and houses. And I bought - I built a house in Encino next to Tom Petty because we were getting on like a house fire when I wrote "Don't Come Around Here No More" with him. And the house became a kind of, I don't know, like, a lightning rod for music.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MISSIONARY MAN")
EURYTHMICS: Well, I was born an original sinner. I was born from original sin. And if I had a dollar bill for all the things I've done, there'd be a mountain of money piled up to my chin, hey.
STEWART: So I'd look in my back garden, and there's a Seal sunbathing. Or, you know, Prince recording in the studio at the back. One time, under the tree in my back garden, is, strumming guitars, Bob Dylan, George Harrison Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. And Roy Orbison is singing. And it is, you know, not something you would imagine you when you were, like, 15 and in the North Eastern town, listening to these voices on the radio. But you know, life can change you on amazing trails, if you let it.
WERTHEIMER: Dave Stewart's memoir is named after one of the Eurythythmic's biggest hits. It's called "Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This."
Dave Stewart, thank you very much for talking to us.
STEWART: Thank you very much.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS")
EURYTHMICS: (Singing) Sweet dreams are made of this. Who am I to disagree? I travel the world and the seven seas. Everybody's looking for something. Some of them want to use you. Some of them...
WERTHEIMER: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.