Dream On (Aerosmith song)

"Dream On"

1976 UK promotional single
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Aerosmith
B-side "Somebody"
Released June 27, 1973 (1973-06-27)[1]
Format 7-inch single
Recorded Intermedia Studios, Boston, 1972[2]
Genre Hard rock, blues rock
Length 3:25 (single version)
4:28 (album version)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Steven Tyler
Producer(s) Adrian Barber[1]
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Mama Kin"
"Dream On"
"Same Old Song and Dance"
Aerosmith track listing
"Dream On"
"One Way Street"
Music sample
"Dream On"

"Dream On" is a power ballad by Aerosmith from their 1973 debut album, Aerosmith.[3] Written by lead singer Steven Tyler, this song was their first major hit and became a classic rock radio staple. Released in June 1973, it peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 but hit big in the band's native Boston, where it was the number one single of the year on WBZ-FM, number five for the year on WRKO and number 16 on WMEX (AM). The song received immediate heavy airplay too on the former WVBF (FM)...often showing up in the #1 position on "The Top Five At Five"...in June, 1973...

The album version of "Dream On" (4:28, as opposed to the 3:25 1973 45rpm edit) was re-issued in late 1975, debuting at number 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 10, 1976, breaking into the Top 40 on February 14 and peaking at number 6 on April 10. Columbia Records chose to service Top 40 radio stations with both long and short versions of the song, thus, many 1976 pop radio listeners were exposed to the group's first Top 10 effort through the 45 edit.

"Dream On" was first played live in Mansfield, Connecticut at the Shaboo Inn. In a 2011 interview, Tyler reminisced about his father, a Juilliard-trained musician. He recalled lying beneath his dad's piano as a three-year-old listening to him play classical music. "That's where I got that Dream On chordage," he said.[4]

Tyler says that this was the only song on the band's first album where he used his real voice. He was insecure about how his voice sounded on tape, so for the other songs, he tried to sing a bit lower and sound more like soul artists, such as James Brown. The song is also famous for its building climax to showcase Tyler's trademark screams. The main riff and chorus of the song were sampled in the 2002 song "Sing for the Moment" by rapper Eminem on The Eminem Show that also features a solo from Joe Perry.

The song is composed in the key of F minor.

Single track listings

7" 45 RPM

Side one
  1. "Dream On"
Side two
  1. "Somebody"

The original 1973 issue of this 45 (45894) has a shorter edit of "Dream On" (3:25). Most of the intro has been edited out and the first chorus is replaced with the second chorus. The second issue from 1976 (10278) contains the album version (4:28).


  1. "Dream On"
  2. "Dream On" [Live]
  3. "Walk This Way"

Chart performance

U.S. Billboard Hot 100

Year Peak
1973 59
1976 6

U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Chart

Chart (1976) Rank
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 51

Canada RPM Top 100

Year Peak
1973 87
1976 10

Canada RPM 100 Year-End Chart

Chart (1976) Rank
Canada RPM Top 100[6] 107

Live performances

Long a concert staple, the song's piano part has been played live by Tyler. The band has also played "Dream On" with an orchestra on a couple of occasions. One of these performances, conducted by Michael Kamen, was performed live for MTV's 10th Anniversary (in 1991) and included on the soundtrack for the movie Last Action Hero. Additionally, in 2006, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry performed the song live with the Boston Pops Orchestra at their Fourth of July spectacular. On September 19, 2006, Aerosmith dedicated the song to captured Israeli soldier Ehud Goldwasser. On September 22, 2007, at a concert in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Aerosmith dedicated the song to one of their fans, Monica Massaro, who had been murdered earlier that year. In August 2010, Tyler performed much of the song on a grand piano on top of the "Green Monster" at an Aerosmith concert at Fenway Park in Boston, before the rest of the band joined in to close out the song. On May 25, 2013, Tyler performed a brief rendition of the song live during the finale of the tenth season of American Idol. After the Boston Marathon Attacks, Tyler performed the song at the Boston Strong Concert.

Music video

A coinciding video directed by Marty Callner was also created at the MTV 10th anniversary special performance with the orchestra.


Appearances on other albums

The song has appeared on almost every Aerosmith greatest hits and live compilation, including:

It also appears on both of the band's box sets.


The song "Dream On" is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.[7] It is also ranked #173 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Cover versions

Live cover performances

Koryn Hawthorne sang the song in the live Top 6 of season 8 of The Voice. Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys – the latest group of Voice coaches – united on Sunday's Season 11 premiere for an explosive rendition of Aerosmith's 1973 rock epic "Dream On." The singers dedicated their performance to former contestant Christina Grimmie, who was shot and killed in June following an Orlando concert, according to Ryan Reed of Rolling Stone, August 22, 2016


In other media


  1. 1 2 Greatest Hits (CD liner). Aerosmith. United States: Columbia Records. 1993 [1980]. CK 57367.
  2. Pandora's Box (CD liner). Aerosmith. United States: Columbia Records. 2002 [1991]. C3K 86567.
  3. Aerosmith | Main. MTV.com
  4. "The Emancipation of Steven Tyler," Rolling Stone, May 12, 2011.
  5. "Billboard Hot 100 - 1976". Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  6. "Top 200 Singles of '76". Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  7. "500 Songs That Shaped Rock". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  8. Danny Gokey tries to rock, but simply 'Dreams On'. Newsday.com
  9. Danny Gokey's 'Dream On' Screech. YouTube.com
  10. Danny lands the 'Get Out of Jail Free' card for his abysmal Aerosmith cover EW.com
  11. "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  12. Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman (producers) (2015-05-19). The Seventies: Dream On (Television advertisement). CNN.
  13. "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  14. "Walmart's new Olympics ad highlights American job creator".
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