"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 complete song is first sung 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.
Leigh received the Contemporary Classics Award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame for the song.
|"The Impossible Dream (The Quest)"|
|Single by Jack Jones|
|from the album The Impossible Dream|
|B-side||"Strangers in the Night"|
|Studio||Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City|
|Songwriter(s)||Joe Darion, Mitch Leigh|
|Jack Jones singles chronology|
- 1965: Richard Kiley on the original Broadway cast album of Man of La Mancha
- 1966: Jack Jones (with altered lyrics) on his album The Impossible Dream; this version hit No. 35 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and went to No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart
- 1966: Ed Ames on his album More I Cannot Wish You
- 1966: Frank Sinatra on his album That's Life
- 1966: Jim Nabors on his album Love Me With All Your Heart, and performed in the 1967 Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. episode "The Show Must Go On"
- 1967: The Temptations on the album The Temptations in a Mellow Mood.
- 1967: Shirley Bassey on her album And We Were Lovers
- 1967: Robert Goulet on his album More Great Songs From the Big Hit Shows: Robert Goulet On Broadway, Volume 2
- 1967: Matt Monro on his album Invitation to Broadway
- 1967: Brazilian singer Ronaldo Reys did a Portuguese translation titled Sonho Impossível, which was later covered by several Brazilian artists
- 1968: Diana Ross & the Supremes, and The Temptations preformed the song together to end their television special. This is also featured on album Diana Ross & the Supremes Join the Temptations.
- 1968: Roger Williams on his album More Than a Miracle
- 1968: The Hesitations on their album Where We're At!
- 1968: The Imperials on their album New Dimensions
- 1968: Andre Kostelanetz on his album For the Young at Heart
- 1968: Jacques Brel (in the French translation titled ("La Quête") on his album L'Homme de la Mancha
- 1968: The Vogues on their album Turn Around, Look at Me
- 1968: Glen Campbell on his album Hey Little One
- 1968: Andy Williams on his album Honey
- 1968: Cher on her album Backstage
- 1968: The Smothers Brothers on their album Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
- 1968: Sergio Franchi on his album Wine and Song
- 1969: Sammy Davis, Jr. on his album The Goin's Great
- 1969: Roger Whittaker on his album This is Roger Whittaker
- 1969: Scott Walker on his album Scott: Scott Walker Sings Songs from his TV Series
- 1969: Liberace on his album I Play Piano and Sing (Volume Two)
- 1969: Shani Wallis on her album As Long as He Needs Me
- 1970: Roberta Flack on her album Chapter Two
- 1970: Tom Jones on his album TOM
- 1970: Harry Secombe on his album "A Man And His Dreams"
- 1971: Malcolm Roberts on his album Sounds Like Malcolm Roberts
- 1972: Elvis Presley on his album Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden
- 1972: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra on the album Climb Every Mountain
- 1974: Ken Boothe on his album Everything I Own
- 1974: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band on their album The Impossible Dream
- 1974: Maria Bethânia in the Brazilian translation titled "Sonho Impossível" her album A Cena Muda
- 1984: Albertina Walker and the Christ Universal Temple Ensemble on the album The Impossible Dream
- 1989: Colm Wilkinson on his album Stage Heroes
- 1989: Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett in the Quantum Leap episode "Catch a Falling Star"
- 1992 General Craig, USMC (played by Jon Cypher), on Major Dad TV show S2E22.
- 1992: Carter USM on their album 1992 – The Love Album
- 1994: Luther Vandross on his album Songs
- 1995: Roger Whittaker on his album On Broadway
- 1996: Tevin Campbell on the compilation album Rhythm of the Games: 1996 Olympic Games Album
- 2000: José Carreras on the compilation album Tonight - Hits from the Musicals
- 2001: Florence Ballard on her album The Supreme Florence Ballard
- 2002: Brian Stokes Mitchell on the Broadway revival cast album of Man of La Mancha
- 2003: Linda Eder on her album Broadway My Way
- 2005: Aretha Franklin performed the song at the funeral of civil rights activist Rosa Parks
- 2006: Andy Abraham on his debut album The Impossible Dream
- 2006: Johnny Hallyday in the French translation titled La Quête on the live albums Flashback Tour : Palais des sports 2006 and La Cigale : 12-17 décembre 2006
- 2007: Christopher Lee on his album Revelation
- 2007: Sarah Connor on her album Soulicious
- 2007: Jed Madela on his album Only Human
- 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
- 2009: Jennifer Hudson on tribute to Muhammad Ali — the recipient of the NAACP President's Award
- 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
- 2014: Christopher Lee on his album Metal Knight
- 2015: Christina Bianco as Miss Wyoming, Mindy Maloney in the TV movie Signed, Sealed, Delivered:The Impossible Dream
- 2015: Gerphil Flores sang the operatic version of the song as a contest piece for the grand finals of the inaugural season of Asia's Got Talent which put her on third place
- 2016: Ramon Jacinto on his first ballad album Romancing RJ
- 2016: Cynthia Erivo performed the song at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors
- 2017: Jason Manford on his debut album A Different Stage
- 2020: Josh Groban on his album Harmony
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. One of Kennedy's close friends, Andy Williams, was one of many vocal artists of the Sixties that recorded the song. The song was also a favorite of younger brother Ted Kennedy and was performed by Brian Stokes Mitchell at his memorial service in 2009.
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.
The 1967 Red Sox were baseball's big surprise that season. Coming off nine straight years of finishing ninth or tenth in the American League, they surprised the baseball world, under rookie manager Dick Williams, by winning the American League pennant, before losing by one run to the St. Louis Cardinals in the ninth inning of Game Seven of the World Series. During that season, the Red Sox became known as "The Impossible Dream Red Sox", and have been known as such ever since.
- Baker, Dorie. "Composer Mitch Leigh Endows Chair in Jazz at Yale" (Press release). Yale University Office of Public Affairs. Archived from the original on 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 131.
- "Jim Nabors Sings Love Me with All Your Heart". AllMusic.
- "Jim Nabors Sings Stirring Version of The Impossible Dream On Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.". Reshareworthy.com. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
- Watts, Randy; Callahan, Mike; Edwards, David; Eyries, Patrice. "Columbia Album Discography, Part 21 (CL 2500-2599/CS 9300-9399) 1966–1967". Bsnpubs.com. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
- "Discogs - Database and Marketplace for Music on Vinyl, CD, Cassette and More". Discogs. Archived from the original on 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
- Schlesinger, Arthur M. (1978; 1990). Robert Kennedy and His Times. Ballantine Books.
- "Ted Kennedy's Wake: Farewell to 'Captain Ahab'". Time. 2009-08-29. Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
- "October 1, 1967: Red Sox complete 'Impossible Dream' – Society for American Baseball Research".
- "The Impossible Dream 1967 Red Sox: Carl Yastrzemski". 9 February 2017.
- "MLB Network Presents: The Impossible Dream: Red Sox Nation Begins | Baseball Hall of Fame".
- "The Impossible Dream Remembered: The 1967 Red Sox by Ken Coleman".