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 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.
It was awarded the Contemporary Classics Award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
- 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 No. 35 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and went to No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart
- 1966: Frank Sinatra on his album That's Life
- 1966: Jim Nabors on 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 the album The Temptations in a Mellow Mood
- 1967: Shirley Bassey on her album And We Were Lovers
- 1967: Matt Monro on the 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: Jacques Brel in the French translation titled La Quête on the album L'Homme de la Mancha
- 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
- 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 Chapter Two
- 1971: Malcolm Roberts on his album Sounds Like Malcolm Roberts
- 1972: Elvis Presley on his album Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden, recorded June 10
- 1972: Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra recorded on the album Climb Every Mountain
- 1973: The Imperials on the album A Thing Called Love (Vista Records [R 1236])
- 1974: Ken Boothe on the album Everything I Own
- 1974: The Sensational Alex Harvey Band on the album The Impossible Dream
- 1984: Albertina Walker on her Grammy Nominated album with the Christ Universal Temple Ensemble: The Impossible Dream (Savoy Records)
- 1989: Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap
- 1992: Carter USM on their album 1992 – The Love Album
- 1994: Luther Vandross on the album Songs
- 1995: Roger Whittaker on the album On Broadway
- 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
- 2002: Brian Stokes Mitchell on the Cast Album for Man of La Mancha
- 2003: Linda Eder on her album Broadway My Way
- 2006: Andy Abraham on his debut album The Impossible Dream
- 2007: Christopher Lee on his album Revelation
- 2007: Sarah Connor on her album Soulicious
- 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
- 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
- 2018: Sean Christopher for a French commercial to Disneyland Paris
- 2018: Martin Sheen performed the song on Netflix's show Grace and Frankie S05E12
- 2019: Jennifer Hudson performed the song on an episode of The Voice UK.
- 2019: The song was featured in a trailer for the movie John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.
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.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2011-10-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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