If I Can Dream

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"If I Can Dream"
If I Can Dream Cover.jpg
Single by Elvis Presley
B-side"Edge of Reality"
ReleasedNovember 5, 1968
RecordedJune 1968
GenreRock, soul, gospel
LabelRCA Records
Songwriter(s)Walter Earl Brown
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Almost in Love" / "A Little Less Conversation"
"If I Can Dream" / "Edge of Reality"
"Memories" / "Charro"
"If I Can Dream"
Song by Elvis Presley
from the album Elvis
ReleasedNovember 22, 1968
RecordedJune 1968
GenreRock, soul, gospel
LabelRCA Records
Songwriter(s)Walter Earl Brown

"If I Can Dream" is a song made famous by Elvis Presley, written by Walter Earl Brown[1] and notable for its direct quotations of Martin Luther King, Jr.[2] The song was published by Elvis Presley's music publishing company Gladys Music, Inc. It was recorded by Presley in June 1968, two months after King's assassination. The recording was first released to the public as the finale of Presley's '68 Comeback Special.


Brown was asked to write a song to replace "I'll Be Home for Christmas" as the grand finale on NBC's "Elvis" (June 20–23, 1968). He wrote "If I Can Dream", and when Presley heard it he proclaimed "I'm never going to sing another song I don't believe in. I'm never going to make another picture I don't believe in."[3]

The song was published by Elvis Presley's company Gladys Music, Inc.

When Colonel Tom Parker heard the song demonstrated by Earl Brown, he said: "This ain't Elvis' kind of song." Elvis was also there, unbeknownst to him, and he said: "I'd like to try it, man." Earl Brown said that when Elvis recorded the song, Brown saw tears rolling down the cheeks of the three back up singers. One of them whispered to him: "Elvis has never sung with so much emotion before. He means every word."[4]

Recordings and success[edit]

Band-related errors prevented the first take from becoming the master. After filming for the TV special was completed for its eventual editing, then broadcast in December of the year, the song was released as a single - "If I Can Dream / Edge of Reality" - in November 1968. It charted on Billboard's Hot 100 for 13 weeks, peaking at #12, with more than one million sales;[3] though the RIAA has only certified the song as gold (500,000 units shipped) as of March 27, 1992.[5] In Canada the song peaked at 6 on RPM's top singles chart, lasting more than several weeks.[6]


The song has appeared in many Presley compilations since its release, a number of which are related to the '68 Comeback Special or Inspirational meshes.[7] Sony BMG remastered the song in 2004, for future compilations. The song is referred to as stereo mix (as opposed to the 2004 remaster honorific) in '68 Comeback Special releases after 2004. Other compilations, such as Platinum - A Life In Music, include alternative takes on the song that are not as polished as the official takes. For instance, the background vocalists are not present in most of these takes, specifically with "If I Can Dream".[8]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IF I CAN DREAM". ACE Title Search. American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  2. ^ "If I can dream: The Elvis tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr". The Conversation. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Elvis-TheKingsCourt".
  4. ^ Barry Manilow The Complete Collection and Then Some... booklet, page 42, 1992 Arista Records - text edited by Maureen Lasher.
  5. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - December 25, 2015". www.riaa.com.
  6. ^ "Search: RPM".
  7. ^ "Elvis Presley - Elvis Inspirational - Amazon.com Music".
  8. ^ "Amazon.com: Platinum - A Life In Music: Elvis Presley: MP3 Downloads".
  9. ^ "Songs From A Stolen Spring". Valley Entertainment. Retrieved 14 November 2014.

External links[edit]