Dream On (Aerosmith song)

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"Dream On"
1976 UK promotional single
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Aerosmith
ReleasedJune 27, 1973 (1973-06-27)[1]
RecordedOctober 1972[2]
StudioIntermedia, Boston
  • 3:25 (single version)
  • 4:26 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Steven Tyler
Producer(s)Adrian Barber[1]
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Dream On"
"Same Old Song and Dance"
Audio sample
Music videos
"Dream On" (audio) on YouTube
"Dream On" (official live video) on YouTube

"Dream On" is a power ballad[3] by Aerosmith from their 1973 debut album, Aerosmith.[4] Written by lead singer Steven Tyler, this song was their first major hit and became a classic rock radio staple. Released in June 1973, it peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100[5] but hit big in the band's native Boston, where it was the number one single of the year on WBZ-FM, number five for the year on WRKO and number 16 on WMEX (AM).[citation needed] The song also received immediate heavy airplay on the former WVBF (FM), often showing up in the #1 position on "The Top Five at Five" in June 1973.

The album version of "Dream On" (4:28, as opposed to the 3:25 1973 45 rpm edit where most of the intro has been edited out and the first chorus is replaced with the second chorus) was re-issued in late 1975, debuting at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 10, 1976, breaking into the top 40 on February 14 and peaking at number 6 on April 10. Columbia Records chose to service top 40 radio stations with both long and short versions of the song, thus many 1976 pop radio listeners were exposed to the group's first top 10 effort through the 45 edit. The song has been featured on multiple iterations of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


"Dream On" was first played live in Mansfield, Connecticut, at the Shaboo Inn.[6][unreliable source] In a 2011 interview, Tyler reminisced about his father, a Juilliard-trained musician. He recalled lying beneath his dad's piano as a three-year-old listening to him play classical music. "That's where I got that Dream On chordage", he said. Lyrical composition was completed when Steven was 14 years old.[7]

Tyler says that this was the only song on the band's first album where he used his real voice. He was insecure about how his voice sounded on tape, so for the other songs, he tried to sing a bit lower and sound more like soul artists, such as James Brown.[6] The song is also famous for its building climax to showcase Tyler's trademark screams.

In the authorized Stephen Davis band memoir Walk This Way, Tyler speaks at length about the origins of the songs:[8]

The music for 'Dream On' was originally written on a Steinway upright piano in the living room of Trow-Rico Lodge in Sunapee, maybe four years before Aerosmith even started. I was seventeen or eighteen. ... It was just this little thing I was playing, and I never dreamed it would end up as a real song or anything. ... It's about dreaming until your dreams come true.

Chart performance[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[15] Silver 250,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Live performances[edit]

"Dream On (Live)"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Last Action Hero: Music from the Original Motion Picture
ReleasedJune 8, 1993
RecordedJune 6, 1991
VenueMTV 10th Anniversary Special
GenreSymphonic rock
LabelColumbia Records
Songwriter(s)Steven Tyler

Long a concert staple, the song's piano part has been played live by Tyler. The band has also played "Dream On" with an orchestra on a couple of occasions. One of these performances, conducted by Michael Kamen, was performed live for MTV's 10th Anniversary (in 1991) and included on the soundtrack for the movie Last Action Hero. Additionally, in 2006, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry performed the song live with the Boston Pops Orchestra at their Fourth of July spectacular. On September 19, 2006, Aerosmith dedicated the song to captured Israeli soldier Ehud Goldwasser. On September 22, 2007, at a concert in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Aerosmith dedicated the song to one of their fans, Monica Massaro, who had been murdered earlier that year. In August 2010, Tyler performed much of the song on a grand piano on top of the "Green Monster" at an Aerosmith concert at Fenway Park in Boston, before the rest of the band joined in to close out the song. On May 25, 2013, Tyler performed a brief rendition of the song live during the finale of the tenth season of American Idol. After the Boston Marathon Attacks, Tyler performed the song at the Boston Strong Concert.

Music video[edit]

A coinciding video directed by Marty Callner was also created at the MTV 10th anniversary special performance with the orchestra.


Appearances on other albums[edit]

The song has appeared on almost every Aerosmith greatest hits and live compilation, including:

It also appears on both of the band's box sets.


The song "Dream On" is part of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.[16] It is also ranked #173 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


  • In 2002, the song was sampled by American rapper Eminem for the song "Sing for the Moment", from his 2002 album The Eminem Show. Joe Perry played the guitar solo on the track and the chorus features Steven Tyler singing, with Eminem adding "sing", "sing with me" and "come on" in the refrain as well.
  • In 2011, the song was sampled by Immortal Technique on his song "Angels & Demons", on his album The Martyr.
  • In the Kia Stinger TV commercial that ran during the 2018 Super Bowl, Steven Tyler appears to drive the eponymous car at high speed in reverse while snatches of Dream On play in a sampled fashion.


  1. ^ a b Greatest Hits (CD liner). Aerosmith. U.S.: Columbia Records. 1993 [1980]. CK 57367.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ Pandora's Box (CD liner). Aerosmith. U.S.: Columbia Records. 2002 [1991]. C3K 86567.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ "Top 10 Power Ballads That Don't Suck". Loudwire.
  4. ^ "Aerosmith | Music Videos, News, Photos, Tour Dates, Ringtones, and Lyrics | MTV". MTV. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  5. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History: Billboard Hot 100: "Dream On" (peak position)" (PDF). Billboard. 85 (48). 1 December 1973. p. 56. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 17 April 2021 – via American Radio History.
  6. ^ a b Song Facts – Dream On by Aerosmith, viewed May 24th 2017
  7. ^ "The Emancipation of Steven Tyler", Rolling Stone, May 12, 2011.
  8. ^ Davis & Aerosmith 1997, pp. 171–173.
  9. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History: Billboard Hot 100: "Dream On" (peak position)" (PDF). Billboard. 85 (48). 1 December 1973. p. 56. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 17 April 2021 – via American Radio History.
  10. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 - 1976". Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  11. ^ "Top 200 Singles of '76". Archived from the original on 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 9, 1994" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  13. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Aerosmith – Dream On" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  14. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1994". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  15. ^ "British single certifications – Aerosmith – Dream On". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 30, 2018.Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Dream On in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  16. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 15, 2014.