Flying in a Blue Dream

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Flying in a Blue Dream
Studio album by Joe Satriani
Released October 1989[1]
Recorded Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California; Hyde Street Studios, Different Fur, Coast Recorders, Alpha & Omega Recording in San Francisco
Genre Instrumental rock, hard rock
Length 64:47
Label Relativity
Producer Joe Satriani, John Cuniberti
Joe Satriani chronology
Dreaming #11
Flying in a Blue Dream
The Extremist
Singles from Flying in a Blue Dream
  1. "I Believe"
    Released: 1989 (1989)[2]
  2. "Big Bad Moon" / "Day at the Beach (New Rays from an Ancient Sun"
    Released: 1989 (1989)[3]
  3. "Flying in a Blue Dream" / "The Phone Call"
    Released: 1989 (1989)[4]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]

Flying in a Blue Dream is the third studio album by guitarist Joe Satriani, released in October 1989 through Relativity Records. It has been reissued twice: first on May 27, 1997 through Epic Records[5] and again on June 16, 2008 as part of the Original Album Classics box set.[6]

The album is one of Satriani's most popular releases and his second highest-charting to date, reaching No. 23 on the U.S. Billboard 200[7] and remaining on that chart for 39 weeks,[8] as well as reaching the top 40 in three other countries.[9] Four singles reached Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart: "I Believe" and "Back to Shalla-Bal" both at No. 17, "Big Bad Moon" at No. 31 and "One Big Rush" at No. 36.[7] Flying in a Blue Dream was certified gold in January 1990[10] and received a nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1991 Grammy Awards;[11] this being Satriani's third such nomination.


In a 2014 interview with MusicRadar, Satriani described the writing and recording process for Flying in a Blue Dream as "A very stressful time" and that "It was just so difficult and insane, but there was also this enormous amount of creativity. I was so excited that I had fans! [Laughs]."[12] Comprising a varied and eclectic range of styles, the album contains the most tracks—eighteen—of any one Satriani album; Time Machine (1993) has more tracks in total, but is a double album.

"Flying in a Blue Dream" has endured as one of Satriani's best-known songs and is a mainstay at his concerts, as well as "The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing".[13] "Can't Slow Down", "Strange", "I Believe", "Big Bad Moon", "The Phone Call" and "Ride" feature him singing for the first time; the most on any of his albums to date. It also marks the first time he plays the banjo—"The Feeling" is performed entirely using that instrument—and harmonica, the latter of which features prominently on "Headless", "Big Bad Moon" and "Ride".

"Headless" is a remake of the "The Headless Horseman" from Not of This Earth (1986), but with added distorted vocals and harmonica along with a 'squawky' guitar tone to make chicken-like sounds. "Day at the Beach (New Rays from an Ancient Sun)" and "The Forgotten (Part One)" are performed using a two-handed tapping technique.

Music videos for the ballad "I Believe" and hard rocker[1] "Big Bad Moon" were included on The Satch Tapes, which was first released on VHS cassette in 1993 and reissued on DVD on November 18, 2003;[14] it also includes excerpts from an MTV performance of "The Feeling". "One Big Rush" was featured in the 1989 film Say Anything...

"Back to Shalla-Bal" refers to Shalla-Bal, the empress of Zenn-La, from the Marvel Comics universe; it is the second reference to The Silver Surfer character, who was featured on the cover art of Surfing with the Alien (1987). The track was later used as the menu music to the 1996 Sony PlayStation video game Formula 1, which also featured "Summer Song" from The Extremist (1992).

Critical reception[edit]

Phil Carter of AllMusic gave the album 4.5-stars out of five, praising its "musical explorations and compositions that defy belief" and calling it "unquestionably Joe Satriani at his absolute best." He concluded by stating "this recording deserves a place in everyone's collection."[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Joe Satriani. 

No. Title Length
1. "Flying in a Blue Dream"   5:23
2. "The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing"   5:09
3. "Can't Slow Down"   4:49
4. "Headless"   1:30
5. "Strange"   5:02
6. "I Believe"   5:54
7. "One Big Rush"   3:25
8. "Big Bad Moon"   5:15
9. "The Feeling"   0:50
10. "The Phone Call"   3:01
11. "Day at the Beach (New Rays from an Ancient Sun)"   2:03
12. "Back to Shalla-Bal"   3:14
13. "Ride"   4:56
14. "The Forgotten (Part One)"   1:12
15. "The Forgotten (Part Two)"   5:08
16. "The Bells of Lal (Part One)"   1:19
17. "The Bells of Lal (Part Two)"   4:07
18. "Into the Light"   2:30
Total length:


Chart performance[edit]


Year Chart Position
1989 New Zealand albums chart 7[9]
Australian albums chart 21[9]
Billboard 200 23[7]
Swedish albums chart 34[9]
Dutch albums chart 76[9]


Year Title Chart Position
1989 "Big Bad Moon" Billboard Mainstream Rock 31[7]
"One Big Rush" 36[7]
1990 "Back to Shalla-Bal" 17[7]
"I Believe" 17[7]


Event Title Award Result
1991 Grammys Flying in a Blue Dream Best Rock Instrumental Performance Nominated[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Carter, Phil. "Flying in a Blue Dream - Joe Satriani". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  2. ^ "Joe Satriani – I Believe". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  3. ^ "Joe Satriani – Big Bad Moon". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  4. ^ "Joe Satriani – Flying In A Blue Dream". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  5. ^ "Flying in a Blue Dream ". Amazon. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  6. ^ "Original Album Classics - Joe Satriani". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Flying in a Blue Dream - Joe Satriani | Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  8. ^ "Joe Satriani - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Joe Satriani - Flying In A Blue Fream (album)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  10. ^ "Album artist 997 - Joe Satriani". The World's Music Charts. TsorT. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  11. ^ a b "33rd Grammy Awards - 1991". Rock On The Net. Retrieved 2014-03-21.
  12. ^ Bosso, Joe (2014-04-08). "Joe Satriani talks The Complete Studio Recordings album by album | Flying In A Blue Dream (1989)". MusicRadar. Future Publishing. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  13. ^ "The Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing by Joe Satriani". Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  14. ^ "The Satch Tapes". Retrieved 2014-03-21.

External links[edit]