The Impossible Dream (The Quest)
"The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" is a popular song composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion. The song is the most popular song from the 1965 Broadway musical Man of La Mancha and is also featured in the 1972 film of the same name starring Peter O'Toole.
The song is sung all the way through once in the musical by Don Quixote as he stands vigil over his armor, in response to Aldonza (Dulcinea)'s question about what he means by "following the quest". It is reprised partially three more times – the last by prisoners in a dungeon as Miguel de Cervantes and his manservant mount the drawbridge-like prison staircase to face trial by the Spanish Inquisition.
It was awarded the Contemporary Classics Award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
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- 1965: Richard Kiley on the original Broadway cast album of Man of La Mancha
- 1966: Ed Ames on More I Cannot Wish You RCA LSP-3636 (stereo)/LPM-3636 (mono)
- 1968: Sergio Franchi on the album Wine and Song (RCA Victor)
- 1966: Jack Jones (with altered lyrics); this version hit number 35 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and went to number one on the U.S. adult contemporary chart
- 1966: Frank Sinatra on his album That's Life
- 1966: Jim Nabors on his album Love Me With All Your Heart, and performed on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., in the episode "The Show Must Go On"
- 1967: The Temptations on their album The Temptations in a Mellow Mood
- 1967: Shirley Bassey on her album And We Were Lovers
- 1969: Scott Walker on his album Scott: Scott Walker Sings Songs from his TV Series
- 1969: Shani Wallis on her album As Long as He Needs Me
- 1968: The Vogues on the album Turn Around, Look At Me
- 1968: Glen Campbell on the album Hey Little One
- 1968: Andy Williams on the album Honey
- 1968: Cher on the album Backstage
- 1968: The Smothers Brothers on their album Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
- 1970: Roberta Flack on Chapter Two
- 1972: Elvis Presley on his album Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden, recorded June 10
- 1974: Alex Harvey on the SAHB album The Impossible Dream
- 1992: Carter USM on their album 1992 – The Love Album
- 1994: Luther Vandross on the album Songs
- 1996: Tevin Campbell on the compilation album Rhythm of the Games: 1996 Olympic Games Album
- 2001: Florence Ballard on her album The Supreme Florence Ballard
- 2006: Andy Abraham on his debut album The Impossible Dream
- 2007: Christopher Lee on his album Revelation
- 2008: Rhydian Roberts on his debut album Rhydian
- 2009: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones recorded for the 7" Impossible Dream
- 2009: The Republic Tigers on the iTunes tribute album, His Way, Our Way
- 2010: Alfie Boe on his album Bring Him Home, duet with Matt Lucas
- 2011: Jackie Evancho on her album Dream With Me Deluxe edition
- 2014: Susan Boyle on her album Hope
In popular culture
During Robert F. Kennedy's long shot campaign for the presidency in 1968, Senator George McGovern introduced him before a South Dakota stump speech by quoting from The Impossible Dream. Afterwards Kennedy questioned McGovern whether he really thought it was impossible. McGovern replied, "No, I don't think it's impossible. I just... wanted the audience to understand it's worth making the effort, whether you win or lose." Kennedy replied, "Well, that's what I think." It was actually Robert Kennedy's favorite song, and Andy Williams, who recorded the song, was one of Kennedy's close friends. The song was also a favorite of younger brother Ted Kennedy and was performed by Brian Stokes Mitchell at his memorial service in 2009.
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The song was a favorite of Philippine hero Evelio Javier, the assassinated governor of the province of Antique in the Philippines and the song has become a symbol of his sacrifice for democracy. Javier was shot and killed in the plaza of San Jose, Antique during the counting following the 1986 Snap Elections, an act which contributed to the peaceful overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos by Cory Aquino in the People Power Revolution. Every year, Javier is remembered on Evelio Javier Day and the song is featured. The song's lyrics are written in brass on a monument in the plaza where he was shot.
- "Composer Mitch Leigh Endows Chair in Jazz at Yale", opa.yale.edu, September 12, 2006
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 131.
- "Jim Nabors Sings Love Me with All Your Heart".
- "Jim Nabors Sings Stirring Version Of "The Impossible Dream" On Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.".
- Schlesinger, Arthur M. (1978;1990). Robert Kennedy And His Times. Ballantyne Books
- "Ted Kennedy's Wake: Farewell to 'Captain Ahab', Time Magazine". Time.com. 2009-08-29. Retrieved 2011-05-30.