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Beyond Eurythmics

Musician Dave Stewart on his eclectic life in pop rock

Annie Lennox's partner in the hugely popular 1980s band Eurythmics — "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," "Here Comes the Rain Again" — Dave Stewart, 63, is also a filmmaker and TV and music producer. He talked to us about his varied career and new memoir, Sweet Dreams Are Made of This: A Life in Music, which details his decades in the business.

On writing his memoir:

At first I was a bit overwhelmed because I'm one of those people that never really looks back — I'm always on to the next thing. Once I started I was like, "Oh, God, this is a mammoth task." What bits do you leave out? I was so young when I got signed by Elton John and then married at 18. So I said [to the publisher], "How about I end it describing when Annie and I are jumping up and down on the bed in a San Francisco hotel after being told that 'Sweet Dreams' is number one in America?" I thought that was a good ending. But, then, it didn't really stop there, did it?

To remember things, I talked to friends, who would send me little notes and trigger moments that I had completely forgotten. And then it was "bingo!" when I found all these old photographs — thousands and thousands of pictures I'd taken, many of which I included in the book, like one of Annie and me getting ready for the Grammys, where we freaked everybody out because she came on dressed as a man. I found a picture of the squat that Annie and I lived in for 8 pounds a week, and that opened up even more memories. Annie helped, too.

On the TV show he's creating for NBC, Songland , a songwriters competition similar to The Voice :

I got a bit fed up with shows that were just about singers. If the song's no good, it doesn't matter how great the singer is, so I thought there should be a show about songwriters — where you put out a wide search and, you know, find that 68-year-old woman from Alabama who's written this amazing song nobody knows about. Where are the Neil Youngs? Because if he went on a singing show, they'd probably think he wasn't any good.

On so often being known as "that guy with Annie Lennox:"

Well, straight after Eurythmics, in 1990, I formed the Spiritual Cowboys and purposely didn't ever play a Eurythmics song. But I guess for some people, I am still "that guy." I'm cool with that.

On being collaborative, often in the role of ringmaster:

I am a bit like the Pied Piper or a ringmaster. I've always tended to attract a circus around me, and I think it's probably because it's going on in my head, too. I suppose it's my whole childlike enthusiasm for stuff … aided and abetted by the fact that I'm usually followed by contortionists.

On a few other projects he's working on through his company, Dave Stewart Entertainment:

We're in the middle of making a couple of documentaries, including one on the history of Trojan Records, the label that began in Jamaica. And I'm managing about six acts.

On his kids' entering the music business:

My daughter Kaya is signed to Warner Bros.; she's 15 and performing all over [and just came out with her first single, "In Love With a Boy"]. My son Django James is in a band called Nightmare and the Cat and just finished making a solo album. And my other son, Sam, is an amazing songwriter and guitarist and is in about three bands at once. They all fight to play me their new song. I come home after a day of usually nine hours of music, and it all starts again.

Christina Ianzito is a senior writer/editor for AARP Media.