Pull Me Under

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"Pull Me Under"
Single by Dream Theater
from the album Images and Words
Released August 29, 1992
Format CD, cassette, vinyl
Recorded 1991
Genre Progressive metal
Length 8:11 (album version)
4:48 (single version)
Label Atco
Writer(s) Kevin Moore (lyrics), Dream Theater (music)
Producer(s) David Prater
Dream Theater singles chronology
"Pull Me Under"
"Take the Time"
Images and Words track listing
"Pull Me Under"
"Another Day"

"Pull Me Under" is the first track and first single from Dream Theater's 1992 album Images and Words. It is also featured on the Live at the Marquee CD, Once in a LIVEtime CD, Live at Budokan CD and DVD and the Images and Words: Live in Tokyo VHS and DVD. It received positive critical reception and extensive MTV rotation.[1] It is widely considered to be Dream Theater's signature song.


During development, the song held the working title "Oliver's Twist". In a radio interview, Mike Portnoy stated that "...it was just an 8 and a half minute song, and it was just a fluke for MTV and radio play to happen."[citation needed]

The song's abrupt ending was modified in their Greatest Hit compilation. When asked about the abrupt ending while at a drum clinic in Atlanta in 1999, Mike Portnoy explained "We had all this tension, and it just kept building and building, and we had no idea where to take it, you know? So we decided to just pull the plug on it, like The Beatles did with She's So Heavy."[citation needed]

The song was released as a promotional single and as a music video. Based on a shortened version of the song at 4:48 in length, the music video alternates between clips of the band performing and an obscure storyline. The band members were reportedly unhappy with the storyline, saying that it doesn't have anything to do with the song's subject matter.[citation needed]

Because it was the only Dream Theater single to achieve such success, "Pull Me Under" is the "hit" referred to in the Dream Theater compilation Dream Theater's Greatest Hit (...and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs).


Lyricist Kevin Moore refers to Shakespeare's Hamlet, as told from Prince Hamlet's point of view.[2] The lyrics allude heavily to the play, echoing Hamlet's desire to give in to his urge to gain revenge for his father at the cost of his own sanity. Over the final moment of the song, James LaBrie can be heard singing the song's only direct quote from the play: "O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt". Therein, Prince Hamlet is pleading for escape from his mortal trappings.

O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!

—Prince Hamlet in Hamlet, Act I Scene II[3]


Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1992) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[4][5] 10


"Pull Me Under" is a playable master track in Guitar Hero World Tour as the ending credits song for all five careers; this version does not share the ending of the canonical studio album version. The song is featured as a cover in Rock Revolution. It was used as the intro to the The Rick Emerson Show.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Pull Me Under" (single edit) Kevin Moore Dream Theater 5:54
2. "Pull Me Under" (album version)     8:11



  1. ^ Richter, Allan (August 22, 2004). "A Long Island Sound by Way of Topographic Oceans". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2009. 
  2. ^ Thaler, Englebert (2008). Teaching English Literature. UTB. p. 163. ISBN 978-3-8252-2997-9. 
  3. ^ Hamlet: Act I, Scene II. 
  4. ^ Pull Me Under at AllMusic. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
  5. ^ "Dream Theater Causing 'Chaos' With New Album". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 

External links[edit]