"Dream On"
1976 UK promotional single
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Aerosmith
ReleasedJune 27, 1973 (1973-06-27)[1]
RecordedOctober 1972[2]
StudioIntermedia, Boston
  • 3:25 (single version)
  • 4:28 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Steven Tyler
Producer(s)Adrian Barber[1]
Aerosmith singles chronology
"Dream On"
"Same Old Song and Dance"
Audio sample
Music videos
"Dream On" (audio) on YouTube
"Dream On" (official live video) on YouTube

"Dream On" is a power ballad[3] by Aerosmith from their 1973 debut album, Aerosmith.[4] 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[5] 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).[citation needed] The song also received immediate heavy airplay 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 45 rpm edit where most of the intro has been edited out and the first chorus is replaced with the second chorus) 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.

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song at number 172 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[6] It was moved to number 173 in 2010,[7] and re-ranked at number 199 in 2021.[8] In 2018, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[9]


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. Lyrical composition was completed when Steven was 14 years old.[10]

The song is also famous for its building climax to showcase Tyler's trademark screams.

In the authorized Stephen Davis band memoir Walk This Way, Tyler speaks at length about the origins of the songs:[11]

The music for 'Dream On' was originally written on a Steinway upright piano in the living room of Trow-Rico Lodge in Sunapee, maybe four years before Aerosmith even started. I was seventeen or eighteen. ... It was just this little thing I was playing, and I never dreamed it would end up as a real song or anything. ... It's about dreaming until your dreams come true.


Cash Box said that "the hard surface is there but Tyler's plaintive vocals and some economical muscular riffing make 'Dream On' a thinker as well as a mover."[12]

Chart performance


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[19] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[20] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[21] 4× Platinum 4,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Live performances

"Dream On (Live)"
Single by Aerosmith
from the album Last Action Hero: Music from the Original Motion Picture
ReleasedJune 8, 1993
RecordedJune 6, 1991
VenueMTV 10th Anniversary Special
GenreSymphonic rock
LabelColumbia Records
Songwriter(s)Steven Tyler

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 occasion. One of these performances, conducted by Michael Kamen, was performed live for MTV's 10th Anniversary[22] (in 1991) and included on the soundtrack for the movie Last Action Hero.

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. On May 25, 2011, Tyler performed a brief rendition of the song live during the finale of the tenth season of American Idol.[23]

In 2006, Tyler and Joe Perry performed the song live with the Boston Pops Orchestra at their Fourth of July spectacular.[24] In August 2010, Tyler performed much of the song on a grand piano on top of the Green Monster at an Aerosmith concert at Boston's Fenway Park, joined by the rest of the band to close out the song.[25] After the Boston Marathon bombing, Tyler performed the song at the Boston Strong concert in late May 2013.[26][27]

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 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.[28] It is also ranked #173 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.



  1. ^ a b Greatest Hits (CD liner). Aerosmith. U.S.: Columbia Records. 1993 [1980]. CK 57367.((cite AV media notes)): CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ Pandora's Box (CD liner). Aerosmith. U.S.: Columbia Records. 2002 [1991]. C3K 86567.((cite AV media notes)): CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ "Top 10 Power Ballads That Don't Suck". Loudwire.
  4. ^ "Aerosmith | Music Videos, News, Photos, Tour Dates, Ringtones, and Lyrics | MTV". MTV. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  5. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History: Billboard Hot 100: "Dream On" (peak position)" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 85, no. 48. 1 December 1973. p. 56. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 17 April 2021 – via American Radio History.
  6. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time 2004: 101-200". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2008-06-20. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  7. ^ "Dream on ranked #173 by Rolling Stone in 2010". Rolling Stone. 11 December 2003. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  8. ^ "Dream On ranked #199 on Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs List". Rolling Stone. 15 September 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  9. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame". Grammy. Retrieved 2 April 2022.
  10. ^ Hiatt, Brian (May 12, 2011). "The Emancipation of Steven Tyler". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 2, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  11. ^ Davis & Aerosmith 1997, pp. 171–173.
  12. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. December 27, 1975. p. 120. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  13. ^ "Aerosmith Chart History: Billboard Hot 100: "Dream On" (peak position)" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 85, no. 48. 1 December 1973. p. 56. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 17 April 2021 – via American Radio History.
  14. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 - 1976". Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  15. ^ "Top 200 Singles of '76". Archived from the original on 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-10-25.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 9, 1994" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  17. ^ "Aerosmith – Dream On" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  18. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1994". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2020-04-06.
  19. ^ "Italian single certifications – Aerosmith – Dream On" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved December 19, 2021. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Dream On" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  20. ^ "British single certifications – Aerosmith – Dream On". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  21. ^ "American single certifications – Aerosmith – Dream On". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  22. ^ "Dream On (MTV 10th Anniversary) - Aerosmith" – via YouTube.
  23. ^ "Steven Tyler - Dream On - American Idol Season 10 Finale Results Show - 05/25/11" – via YouTube.
  24. ^ "Aerosmith & The Boston Pops Orchestra - Dream On (Live 2006)" – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "Aerosmith Dream On Fenway Park 8-14-2010 HD" – via YouTube.
  26. ^ "Boston Marathon concert to feature music icons Aerosmith, James Taylor, NKOTB concert benefits One Fund". WCVB. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  27. ^ "Aerosmith - Dream On (with Southern California Children's Chorus) - Boston Marathon Bombing Tribute" – via YouTube.
  28. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved November 15, 2014.