Images and Words

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Images and Words
Dream Theater - Images and Words.jpg
Studio album by Dream Theater
Released July 7, 1992 (1992-07-07)[1]
Recorded October–December 1991
Studio BearTracks Studios in Suffern, New York; The Hit Factory in New York City
Genre Progressive metal, progressive rock
Length 57:04
Label Atco
Producer David Prater
Dream Theater chronology
When Dream and Day Unite
Images and Words
Live at the Marquee
Singles from Images and Words
  1. "Pull Me Under"
    Released: August 29, 1992
  2. "Metropolis—Part I: "The Miracle and the Sleeper""
    Released: 1992
  3. "Take the Time"
    Released: 1993
  4. "Another Day"
    Released: 1993

Images and Words is the second studio album by American progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater, released on July 7, 1992 through Atco Records. It is the first Dream Theater release to feature James LaBrie on vocals. The album maintains its position as the band's most commercially successful studio album to date, and the song "Pull Me Under" has the distinction of being the only top 10 hit (radio or otherwise) the band has had to date. This particular song has also had more recent success as it has appeared in the 2008 video game Guitar Hero World Tour.

Although there is no title track on this album, the phrase "images and words" appears in the song "Wait for Sleep".


After Charlie Dominici's departure from Dream Theater, the band auditioned nearly 200 people across the nation before James LaBrie, then of the Canadian glam metal band Winter Rose, sent the band an audition tape. After a short jam session, he was named Dream Theater's new lead singer, and remained so ever since.

With LaBrie on board, the band was signed to a seven-album contract by Atco, and shortly after began recording their new album in late 1991. The lead single, "Pull Me Under", gained the band considerable commercial success with its airplay on MTV and radio, garnering them a top 10 hit on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. When the album was released, it sold at a steady pace, helped by an extensive world tour.

Dream Theater originally intended to release a double album, but this was rejected by Atco, causing several songs to be omitted from the album. One of these songs, "A Change of Seasons," would later be re-recorded by the band and released on an EP of the same name in 1995.[2]

Images and Words was played in its entirety on several occasions during the European leg of the 2007 "Chaos in Motion" tour, in celebration of its 15th anniversary.[3] On July 7, 2012, at a concert in Austin, Texas, the songs "Pull Me Under," "Another Day," and "Metropolis" were performed as an encore to celebrate the album's 20th anniversary. Additionally, "Surrounded" was performed during the main set.

In 2013, the album was reissued on vinyl.[4]

In 1991, James LaBrie appeared as a guest vocalist on Fates Warning's 1991 album Parallels, for which the band were credited as "Dream Theatre" in the "special thanks" of the album's credits. Dream Theater responded by thanking "Fatez Warning" in the credits of Images and Words.

"Take the Time" includes samples from Kurtis Blow's "Christmas Rappin'" ("Hold it now"), Frank Zappa's "Dancin' Fool" ("Wait a minute"), and Public Enemy's "Power to the People", ("Come on").


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Rock Hard 10/10 stars[6]
Select (2/5)[7]
Ultimate Guitar 9.7/10 stars[8]

The album has received critical praise from numerous music sources since its release. An all AllMusic review stated that the album was an "excellent mix of progressive metal stylings with heartfelt vocals and thought-provoking lyrics".[9]

Many gave extremely favorable reviews on Ultimate Guitar. The album received an overall rating of 9.7 out of 10.[8]

Although in a more contemporary review, Select gave the album a two out of five rating, referring to the album as "elaborate, layered prog-metal" and stated that "if this was a book, it'd be for the coffee-table, glossy but not essential."[7]

Images and Words was moderate commercial hit, reaching number 61 on the Billboard 200.[10] It is also Dream Theater's only album to be certified gold by the RIAA,[11] and remains their best-selling album to date, selling more than six hundred thousand copies.[12]


On April 9, 2013, Images and Words won Loudwire's fan-voted March Metal Madness award for best metal album of all time.[13]

The song "Under a Glass Moon" was awarded the 98th best guitar solo by Guitar World magazine.[14]

In October 2011, Images and Words was ranked number 7 on Guitar World magazine's top ten list of guitar albums of 1992.[15]

In 2015, the album was ranked first on Prog Report's list of the top 50 progressive rock albums of 1990-2015. Four other Dream Theater albums made the list: Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory (third), Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence (14th), Awake (18th), and Train of Thought (38th).[16]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Dream Theater, except "Wait for Sleep" by Kevin Moore.

No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "Pull Me Under"   Kevin Moore 8:14
2. "Another Day"   John Petrucci 4:23
3. "Take the Time"   Dream Theater 8:21
4. "Surrounded"   Moore 5:30
5. "Metropolis—Part I: "The Miracle and the Sleeper""   Petrucci 9:32
6. "Under a Glass Moon"   Petrucci 7:03
7. "Wait for Sleep"   Moore 2:31
8. "Learning to Live"   John Myung 11:30
Total length:


Dream Theater
Additional musicians


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Chart performance[edit]

Year Chart Position
1992 Billboard Top Heatseekers 2[10]
1993 Billboard 200 61[10]
Year Title Chart Position
1992 "Pull Me Under" Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 10[10]
1993 "Take the Time" 29[10]
"Another Day" 22[10]


  1. ^ Images and Words,
  2. ^ Portnoy, Mike. "A change of Seasons in Images and Words". About Mike - FAQ. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Dream Theater kick off 2007/2008 World Tour with I&W anniversary performance
  4. ^ "Dream Theater – Images And Words". Discogs. Retrieved 2013-11-.27
  5. ^ Carter, Phil. "Images and Words - Dream Theater". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  6. ^ Breusch, Matthias. "Images and Words - Dream Theater" (in German). Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  7. ^ a b Blellcock, Marilla (September 1992). "Reviews". Select. p. 89. 
  8. ^ a b "Dream Theatre: Images And Words Review". Ultimate Guitar. Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved 14 May 2016. 
  9. ^ Carter, Phil. "Dream Theater: Images and Words". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Images and Words - Dream Theater | Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Hartmann, Graham (2013-04-09). "Dream Theater's Images and Words" Wins March Metal Madness 2013". Loudwire. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
  14. ^ 100 Greatest Guitar Solos
  15. ^ Grassi, Tony. "Photo Gallery: The Top 10 Guitar Albums of 1992". Retrieved October 24, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Top 50 Prog Albums 1990-2015". [Prog Report]. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Dream Theater – Images and Words". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH