The River of Dreams

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"The River of Dreams"
RiverofDreams (single).jpg
Single by Billy Joel
from the album River of Dreams
B-side"The Great Wall of China"
ReleasedJuly 19, 1993 (UK)
September 1, 1993 (US)
Recorded1992, in New York City
GenrePop rock, gospel
Length4:05 (album/single version)
5:21 (extended version)
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)Billy Joel
Producer(s)Joe Nicolo, Danny Kortchmar
Billy Joel singles chronology
"All Shook Up"
(1992)
"The River of Dreams"
(1993)
"All About Soul"
(1993)

"The River of Dreams" is a song by American musician Billy Joel. It is the title track and first single from his 1993 album River of Dreams. The song was a hit, peaking at number 3 on the United States and UK charts, making it Joel's best charting single of the decade as well as his final top ten in either country to date. It also hit the top spot in Australia, New Zealand, and on the Canadian and US Adult Contemporary charts. The song was produced by Joe Nicolo and Danny Kortchmar.

At least four versions of the song have been recorded and released. Two versions (released years later) include a bridge section containing a piano interlude paralleling Joel's melody from his song "Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)," which is from the same album. These versions can be found on the boxed sets My Lives and Complete Hits Collection: 1973–1999 – but even these versions differ from each other, both in length and in arrangement: one, for instance, has more percussion. A fourth mix appears as a bonus cut on the UK CD single of "River of Dreams" — the "percapella mix" done by Nicolo.

"The River of Dreams" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1994, but lost out to "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston. Joel performed the song at the ceremony, and abruptly stopped in the middle of his performance in order to verbally protest Frank Sinatra's lifetime achievement speech being cut off earlier in the night.[1]

In 1993, Gary Zimmerman, a songwriter from Long Island, New York, attempted to sue Joel for ten million dollars, claiming more than half of "The River of Dreams" was based on his 1986 song "Nowhere Land."[2] Joel said he had no knowledge of Zimmerman or his music, and Zimmerman dropped the lawsuit in 1994.[3]

Production[edit]

The song borrows from the traditions of black gospel music and spirituals. The production includes a gospel choir and the lyrics deal with inner peace and the afterlife. Joel sings "Not sure about a life after this. God knows I've never been a spiritual man," while stating that at night he walks along "The River of Dreams" so he can "find what he's been looking for." At 3 minutes 45 seconds, Joel can be heard singing The Cadillacs' version of "Gloria" as the music fades out.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Music & Media wrote, "Two ancient vocal genres meet each other in a modern rhythmic context, when Joel's doowop falsetto gets wrapped up in the sound of gospel backup singers."[4] Alan Jones from Music Week gave the song three out of five, describing it as "a simple and immediate song wherein his vocals are echoed by a choir who imbue the song with spiritual qualities." He added, "A lot of fun, highly infectious and a hit."[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was directed by Andy Morahan.[6] The ferry featured is the Rocky Hill – Glastonbury Ferry in Connecticut.[citation needed] The video was shot on the Providence & Worcester railroad bridge spanning the Connecticut River in the city of Middletown, Connecticut. Joel and three backup singers appear throughout the video standing on the western span of the bridge, with the open center section of the bridge behind them. Other locations that were filmed in the music video are near Portland, East Haddam, and Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The scenes inside the tobacco barn with Joel on the piano were filmed inside a still-used tobacco barn in South Glastonbury, Connecticut.[citation needed]

Joel's then-wife Christie Brinkley can be seen painting the artwork that features on the front cover of the album River of Dreams.[citation needed] She is the illustrator who painted the actual album artwork, and each single released from the album featured one part of the large painting as cover art.[citation needed]

Track listings[edit]

All songs were written by Billy Joel.

UK CD single[7]

  1. "The River of Dreams"
  2. "The River of Dreams" (Percapella mix)
  3. "The Great Wall of China"

Japanese mini-CD single[8]

  1. "The River of Dreams" – 4:07
  2. "No Man's Land" – 4:49

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[49] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[50] Gold 25,000*
France (SNEP)[51] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[52] Gold 250,000^
Japan 220,000[53]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[54] Platinum 10,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harrington, Richard (March 2, 1994). "THE GRAMMY WHAMMY". Washington Post. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  2. ^ "Songwriter Says He Lit Creative Fire Under Joel – Deseret News".
  3. ^ "Songwriter Drops Fruitless Suit Against Billy Joel". Deseret News. August 27, 1994.
  4. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. July 24, 1993. p. 13. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  5. ^ Jones, Alan (July 31, 1993). "Market Preview: Mainstream - Singles" (PDF). Music Week. p. 26. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
  6. ^ Garcia, Alex S. "mvdbase.com – Billy Joel – "The river of dreams"". Music Video DataBase. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  7. ^ The River of Dreams (UK CD single liner notes). Billy Joel. Columbia Records. 1993. 659543 2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. ^ The River of Dreams (Japanese mini-CD single liner notes). Billy Joel. Sony Records. 1993. SRDS 8258.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  9. ^ Discogs – Zachary Alford – (profile & discography)
  10. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  11. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  12. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2270." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  14. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2237." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  15. ^ "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 40. October 2, 1993. p. 14. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  16. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 49. December 4, 1993. p. 11. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  17. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  18. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  19. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (19. – 25. apríl)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). August 19, 1993. p. 20. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The River of Dreams". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  21. ^ "Oricon Singles Chart". Oricon (in Japanese). Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 42, 1993" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  23. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  24. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  25. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams". VG-lista. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  26. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams". Singles Top 100. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  27. ^ "Billy Joel – The River of Dreams". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  28. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  29. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  30. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  31. ^ "Billy Joel Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  32. ^ * Zimbabwe. Kimberley, C. Zimbabwe: singles chart book. Harare: C. Kimberley, 2000
  33. ^ "ARIA Top 50 Singles for 1993". ARIA. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  34. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1993" (in German). Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  35. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1993" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  36. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  37. ^ "The RPM Top 100 A\C Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  38. ^ "1993 Year-End Sales Charts" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 51/52. December 18, 1993. p. 15. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  39. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1993" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  40. ^ "Árslistinn 1993". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). January 4, 1994. p. 16. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  41. ^ "Top 100–Jaaroverzicht van 1993". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  42. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1993" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  43. ^ "End Of Year Charts 1993". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  44. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1993" (in German). Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  45. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1993". Music Week. January 15, 1994. p. 24.
  46. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1993". Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  47. ^ "The Year in Music 1993" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 105 no. 52. December 25, 1993. p. YE-46. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 27, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  48. ^ "1994 The Year in Music". Billboard. Vol. 106 no. 52. December 24, 1994. p. YE-68. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  49. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988 – 2010. Mount Martha, Melbourne, Victoria: Moonlight Publishing.
  50. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Billy Joel – The River of Dreams" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  51. ^ "French single certifications – Billy Joel – River of Dream" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  52. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Billy Joel; 'The River of Dreams')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  53. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970 – 2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  54. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts: 1966 – 2006. Maurienne House. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.

External links[edit]