Writer: Steven Tyler
Producer: Adrian Barber
Recorded: 1972 at Intermedia Studios, Boston
Released: January 1973 (album); November 1973 (single)
|Players:||Steven Tyler – vocals, harmonica, wood flute
Joe Perry – guitar
Brad Whitford – guitar
Tom Hamilton – bass
Joey Kramer – drums
|Album:||Aerosmith (Columbia, 1973)|
Critics initially wrote Aerosmith off as Rolling Stones imitators and panned the group’s self-titled debut. Thus, “Dream On” was not noticed immediately — it charted at a mere Number 59 in Billboard upon its initial release as a single.
In early 1976, after being reissued, the song finally hit the Billboard Top 10, peaking at Number Six. This came at the same time as Aerosmith’s Toys In The Attic album and the single “Walk This Way.”
“Dream On” has become an enduring Aerosmith single and an FM rock radio staple.
The song’s slow pace and its dramatic buildup surely provided a strong influence on the power ballad craze of the 1980s.
“Dream On” was the first time lead singer Steven Tyler let rip with his ear-piercing falsetto, which is featured more prominently in the band’s later work, such as in the song “Back In The Saddle.”
Tyler says: “For me this song sums up what you have to put up with when you’re in a new band. ‘Dream On’ is a great song, but it was three years before people really got a chance to hear it.”
Tyler dates the song back to his late teens. He recalls: “It was just this little… sonnet that I started playing one day. I never thought it would end up being a real song or anything.”
While Tyler and bassist Tom Hamilton shared an apartment on Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue, Hamilton was frequently woken up by Tyler working the song out on the piano – which was in Hamilton’s room. Says Hamilton: “Mine was the only room with a piano in it. I remember waking up and hearing Steven playing this song over and over again. It probably pissed me off then, but now I’m sure glad he kept playing.”
One of the most dramatic performances of the song came on October 13, 1991, when Aerosmith performed “Dream On” with the Wang Center Young At Arts Orchestra in Boston. Broadcast that December on MTV, it’s included in a bonus disc for Box Of Fire.