"Dream On" is a power ballad by Aerosmith from their 1973 debut album, Aerosmith.[3] Written by lead singer Steven Tyler, this song became their first major hit and classic rock radio staple. Released in June 1973, it peaked at number 59 nationally but hit big in the band's native Boston, where it was the number 1 single of the year on the less commercial top 40 station, WBZ-FM, number 5 for the year on highly rated Top 40 WRKO-AM and number 16 on heritage Top 40 WMEX-AM. The chorus of the song was famously sampled in the 2002 song Sing for the Moment by rapper Eminem on the Eminem Show album. It is also associated with the Boston Red Sox baseball organization.

The album version of "Dream On" (4:28, as opposed to the 3:25 1973 45rpm edit), was re-issued early in 1976, debuting at number 81 On January 10, breaking into the Top 40 on February 14 and peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 national chart, April 10.[4] Columbia chose to service Top 40 radio stations with a re-issue of the 3:25 edited version, 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, Steven 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.[5]

Steven 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.


 [hide*1 Composition


The song is composed in the key of F minor.

Single track listings[edit]Edit

7" 45 RPM[edit]Edit

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[edit]Edit

U.S. Billboard Hot 100[edit]Edit

Year Position
1973 59
1976 6

U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Chart[edit]Edit

End of year chart (1976) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[6] 51

Live performances[edit]Edit

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[edit]Edit

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

Appearances on other albums[edit]Edit

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.

On February 25, 2013, Massachusetts State Representative James Cantwell (D) of Marshfield and Massachusetts State Representative Josh S. Cutler (D) of Duxbury drafted a bill to name "Dream On" the Official State Rock song of Massachusetts.

Cover versions[edit]Edit

Anastacia version[edit]Edit

"Dream On"
Single by Anastacia
from the album It's a Man's World
Released 26 October 2012
Format Digital download
Recorded 2011-12
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:35
Label BMGRough Trade
Writer(s) Steven Tyler
Producer(s) Glen Ballard
Anastacia chronology
"Burning Star"


"Dream On"


"Best of You"


Anastacia covered the song for her fifth studio album It's a Man's World. The song was released as album's lead single, only in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Release history[edit]Edit

Region Date Format
Austria 26 October 2012 Digital download

Other covers[edit]Edit

In other media[edit]Edit

  • This song was parodied in the opening sketch of Saturday Night Live, "Rock for Michael" on October 9, 1993.
  • This song was also used in ESPN SportsCenter's "Images of the Century", a video montage about memorable moments in sports history from the 20th century. The video montage was played at the end of the final installment ofSportsCenter in 1999.
  • The song made an appearance as the closing theme to the Disney movie Miracle, as well as the trailer for Miracle.
  • A live, orchestrated version of "Dream On" was also used in the movie Last Action Hero.
  • It was used in the opening cut scene for the Tecmo video game Dead or Alive Ultimate (Dead or Alive 2 Disc Only).
  • It was used in a video tribute to Ken Griffey, Jr. in his return to Seattle on June 22, 2007.
  • A re-recorded version of the song appears in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. It was one of the four songs that Aerosmith re-recorded for the game. It also appears in the demo for the game.
    • Before Guitar Hero: Aerosmith was released, the song appeared as free downloadable content for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock to promote the release of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. The song was available from February 16, 2008 to February 18, 2008.
  • "Dream On" appeared in Episode 49 of Cold Case, sung as Detective Rush witnessed the victim and his then-girlfriend as they were at the time of his death, driving into the distance in a vintage car.
  • "Dream On" was played on HBO's Countdown for the Oscar De La Hoya-Stephen Forbes fight in May 2008.
  • "Dream On" is the title and featured song in Episode 19 of the Fox show Glee, performed by Matthew Morrison and guest star Neil Patrick Harris in their audition for the stage musical Les Misérables.
  • "Dream On" also appeared in the movie trailer of Argo which was released in fall 2012.
  • "Dream On" also appeared in the movie trailer of DreamWorks' Turbo which was released July 17, 2013.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.