Aerosmith was one of the most dominant rock bands of the 1970s and still a huge name in the music industry today.
Aerosmith has sold an estimated 150 million albums worldwide producing a catalog of hit singles. “Dream On” was the first single that Aerosmith ever released and probably the most important song in the history of the band. Forty years later the power ballad still reigns supreme as it crosses the superficial boundaries of race, age, and gender.
However, how “Dream On” came to be, may explain why the song is so magical.
In 1970, the two most prominent members of Aerosmith, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, met while working at an ice cream parlor in New Hampshire.
Shortly after that meeting, Perry and Tyler added: Brad Whitford, Joey Kramer, and Tom Hamilton to fully complete the band that became Aerosmith. The quintet played small venues in the Massachusetts and New York areas until landing a contract with Columbia Records in 1972.
Only one year later, Aerosmith had seen very little success and was on the verge of losing that deal. The band needed a miracle to save them from a demise that seemed inevitable.
Steven Tyler began writing “Dream On” six years prior to the song’s release in 1973.
The legendary front man admits the song was in the lyrical production phase for so long because he would write in bits and pieces over that six-year period. But, “Dream On” received a cosmic push when, as the story goes, Steven Tyler found a suitcase of money outside of his hotel room one night.
He then used that money to purchase an RMI keyboard, finally enabling him to find the sound of “Dream On” he was missing all along. Multiple accounts of the “suitcase incident” say that Tyler never admitted finding a suitcase to the rest of the band, nor did he admit finding anything to the thugs who asked him about the money while they questioned he and the rest of Aerosmith later that night.
When asked about the meaning of the song Steven Tyler has said, “it’s about the hunger to be somebody: Dream until your dreams come true. ‘Dream On’ came to me playing the piano when I was about 17 or 18, and I didn’t know anything about writing a song. It was just this little sonnet that I started playing one day. I never thought that it would end up being a real song.”
Aerosmith released “Dream On” as a single in one last attempt to convince Columbia Records not to drop the band from their label.
The song was not a huge hit at first, reaching number 59, but that was enough to save the group from losing their record contract. Aerosmith began touring the U.S. as a supporting act for bands like the Kinks, and Sha Na Na. In 1975 the band released their breakthrough album Toys In The Attic and then skyrocketing into one of the top rock acts of the next four decades.
The Aerosmith song “Dream On” is one of the great rock ‘n’ roll songs ever written and one of my favorite songs of all time. A truly beautiful and poetic song in that it’s usefulness has value on both polarities of happiness and sadness. We can rock out to this song after getting a promotion and we can rock out to this song when we are trying to pick ourselves up off the ground. Aerosmith has gone on to record many hit singles, but none are as important as the miracle that saved them in the seventies- “Dream On.”