Since people began creating music long ago, they have drawn influence from their own personal experiences. Dreaming is one of the most personal experiences that any individual can have. This personal nature is why songs about dreams and dreaming can be interesting and highly appealing.
This list compiles 21 of the very best songs related to the topics of dreams and dreaming. You may even want to listen to some of these songs before bed in order to encourage your own dreams.
1.”Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Green Day
The song “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is a part of Green Day’s 2004 alternative rock opera album American Idiot. In this song, Green Day’s lead vocalist and guitarist, Billie Joe Armstrong, laments about the past and his own personal loneliness. The music video also has a strange, dream like quality to it. This song is more about aspirations than dreams had while sleeping. Aspirations are also dreams and unfortunately failed aspirations can feel like broken dreams. This song helps to describe the protagonist of the rock opera’s feelings of loneliness. It also potentially conveys a personal message from front man Billie Joe Armstrong related to his own feelings of sadness or despair.
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2. “Dream On” – Aerosmith
Aerosmith is known for having a dream like delivery to many of their songs. This is partially due to front man Steven Tyler’s vocal delivery but also largely due to production techniques and instrumental choices made by the band. The 1973 hit song “Dream On” by Aerosmith was an immediate hit with pop, rock, and hair metal fans upon its release. The repetitive dream related lyrics make it impossible to touch on the topic of dream focused songs without touching on this song. In this track, lead vocalist Steven Tyler encourages the listener to “dream on…until [their] dreams come true.” What a great sentiment!
3. “Wildest Dreams” – Taylor Swift
Fans of pop and country guitar music are probably already familiar with this hit release by Taylor Swift. This song is focused on the idea of romantic dreams and romantic dreaming. Taylor Swift is known for her relationship and revenge focused songs. Because of this, it is no surprise that a dream focused song written by her would be about a romantic partner. In this song she presents a dreamy but weary vision of a beautiful love scene that may one day just be a dream. It is a relatable situation for listeners. The song was also nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Musical Moment.
4. “Get Out of My Dreams, Get into My Car” – Billy Ocean
The song “Get Out of My Dreams, Get into My Car” by Billy Ocean became extremely popular when it was featured in the 1988 film License to Drive. This catchy, late 80s hit is also about the romantic type of dreaming. In the song, Billy Ocean describes how he is sick of dreaming about a woman and how he wants to be with her in person instead. Even if he does not have literal dreams about this woman, it is clear that he at least day dreams about her. Other hit songs by Billy Ocean include Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) and Love Really Hurts Without You.
5. Don’t Dream Its Over – Crowded House
An Australian rock band called Crowded House released the song “Don’t Dream Its Over” in 1986. The song was a part of their debut, self titled album Crowded House. This songs carries an encouraging message. It implores the listener never to give up on their dreams. This could apply to romantic dreams, career dreams, social dreams, or any other types of dreams that the listener has. By 1987, the hit song had been nominated for 3 separate MTV Video Music Awards. This goes to show that dream related songs can be highly successful.
6. “#9 Dream” – John Lennon
“#9 Dream” is preformed by John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Nuclear Band and the Philharmonic Orchestrange. Lennon is known for describing dream like visions in his lyrics. Some lyrics written by the Beatles appear to be directly drawn from the dreams of children (or the insane). “#9 Dream”, however, is very specifically focused on the subject. It describes the feeling of questioning whether a feeling came from a dream or from reality. Lyrics about magic and spirit dances help to evoke even more of an ethereal or dream like feeling. This is definitely one of the top songs with magical qualities to it.
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7. “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” – The Smiths
The 1970s and 1980s brought forth more hit songs related to dreams and dreaming then nearly any other decades. Pop and rock hits by massively popular artists frequently touched on the subject. When they did, they were often hugely successful with fans and critics alike. The song “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” by The Smiths is no exception to this rule. It became one of the most memorable songs from their 1987 release Strangeways, Here We Come. Of course, The Smiths also had a bit of a cult following throughout the 80s. It is likely that those fans would have responded well to a song about just about any topic. The interesting subject matter of “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” would have just been an added bonus.
8. “Dreamlover” – Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is another female pop artist who seems to be more interested in romantic day dreams than dreams had while sleeping. Dreams are limitless and often beautiful, so it makes sense that many people desire romance that has these qualities too. Mariah Carey has released a wide selection of songs about love for men and boyfriends. It would be no surprise to find out that she frequently dreams about the subject too.
9. “Enter Sandman” – Metallica
“Enter Sandman” by Metallica is likely the heaviest song on the list. Metallica became a popular rock and metal band throughout the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. “Enter Sandman” is one of their most easily recognizable songs. The song features creepy prayer, children’s voices, and talk about monsters under the bed. In fact, it could easily be described as a song about nightmares, not a song about dreams at all. The editing and mixing of the song also helps to give it a dream (or nightmare) like quality. For easily spooked listeners, the song just may haunt a nightmare or two. Be careful before laying down to sleep. However, this song is also a very popular baseball walk up song, so take it as you please!
10. “Daydream Believer” – the Monkees
“Daydream Believer” was released by the Monkees in 1968 as a part of their album The Birds, The Bees, and The Monkees. The song talks about a homecoming queen and a “daydream believer.” This is one of the only songs on the list that clearly separates the idea of day dreams from regular dreams. Other songs leave it more up to the interpretation of the listener to decide whether the topic is day dreaming or dreaming done while sleeping. What or who is the “daydream believer” placed as the subject of the song? This is left up to interpretation, so fans may never know.
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11. “Dream Operator” – The Talking Heads
“Dream Operator” by The Talking Heads is yet another 1980s pop hit focused on the topic of dreams and dreaming. This song was released in 1986 as a part of the movie True Stories. This song is about different types of dreams and dreaming, from beginning to end. The listener is even told “this song is your dream.” It touches on the idea of dreaming while asleep and also dreaming about the future. As far as use of the word “dream” goes, Dream Operator could easily take first place.
12. “Silent Lucidity” – Queensryche
“Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche is another song that describes a literal dream world that is visited while sleeping. The track discusses the safety and comfort of the dream domain. It especially describes that safety in comparison to difficult experiences had while awake. Dreaming can be a useful and harmless escape mechanism. This song touches on that. As with many prog-rock songs, this is a great storytelling song overall. This helps to make the message especially clear.
13. “All of These Dreams” – Phish
Fans of the band Phish just might be some of the biggest dreamers of all. Phish is a multi genre jam band act with a cult following almost similar to that of The Grateful Dead. Their fans are known for never being too grounded in reality. The song “All of These Dreams” tells the story of a mystical mountain location where dreams can be found. The description of the song’s setting certainly could be compared to a dream location. It could also be a commentary on the dreaminess of nature itself.
14. “I Can Dream About You” – Dan Hartman
“I Can Dream About You” was originally released as a part of the soundtrack for a movie titled Streets of Fire. The 1984 single touches on the subjects of romantic dreaming as well as dreams had while sleeping. Nu-wave inspired pop music released in the 80s was meant to have a dreamy feel. For this reason, it makes sense that many songs in that genre featured lyrics on subject matter also related to dreaming. If there was a formulaic success for a nu-wave pop song in the 80s, you just might say it involved lyrics about dreams.
15. “All I Have to Do is Dream” – The Everly Brothers
“All I Have to Do is Dream” was originally recorded in 1958 by The Everly Brothers. It has also been recorded as a cover song by a wide variety of artists. These artists include Rita Wilson, Cat Power, and Lynda Carter. The simple, repetitive lyrics make the song’s theme obvious. This song is about romantic dreaming but also dreaming done while asleep.
16. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” – The Eurythmics
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by The Eurythmics fits this list perfectly for a few reasons. First, it fits the 1980s nu-wave pop formula. It features dreamlike vocal delivery and mixing. Second, it has been covered by a wide variety of different artists, even goth rocker Marilyn Manson. Finally, the lyrics mention dreams and dreaming multiple different times.
17. “Only in Dreams (Kitchen Tapes)” – Weezer
Some people just do not enjoy or prefer old classics and retro 80s hits. If you prefer rock and alternative rock, then the Weezer track Only in my Dreams (Kitchen Tapes) may be a bit more up your alley. This song was released in 1992 as a part of the album Opposite Sides of the Same Good Ol’ Fence. This was towards the earlier side of the now massively popular band’s career. The title of song is repeated as an outro at the song’s closing. This can make it easy for the words “only in dreams” to get stuck in a listener’s head.
18. “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect” – The Decemberists
The Decemberists are an indie rock band originally based out of Portland, Oregon. Their song “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect” was released as a part of their 2002 album Castaways and Cutouts. The song tells of multiple dreams from the singers perspective. They reminisce about dreams of being an architect and also about being a soldier. This song is one of the few that describes specific dreams in order to convey a message instead of just talking about dreams metaphorically or romantically. Of course all lyrics potentially have symbolic and metaphorical meaning.
19. “(Nice Dream)” – Radiohead
Many of Radiohead’s songs sound like they could have been conceived in dreams. The vocal delivery, instrumentation, and mixing of their music is often slowed down, ethereal, or even warped. This is similar to the construction of time that takes place in dreams and nightmares. The song “(Nice Dream)” is no different. The repetitive lyrics can create a dream like or even nightmare like state for a listener.
20. “Sleep to Dream” – Fiona Apple
Of course you have to sleep in order to dream, so the title of this song by Fiona Apple makes sense. The song title is a bit of a surprising misnomer, however. This is because the lyrics actually say, “I don’t go to sleep to dream.” This may surprise first time listeners who were expecting a lullaby based on the title. Fiona Apple is known for her quirky songwriting choices though, so this follows.
21. “Caught in a Dream” – Alice Cooper
Fans of heavier songs from this list like Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On” will likely also enjoy this song. “Caught in a Dream” was released as a part of 1971 album Love It to Death. Cooper’s dream in this song might be the most similar to your average person’s dream. He sings about his dreams that are full of Cadillacs, planes, houseboats, butlers, and trips to Spain. Ironically enough, it would not be too much longer after this song came out that Alice Cooper’s dreams would come true. Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s he became a household name, easily able to afford everything from his dream list.
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If you are in the mood to listen to songs about dreaming, you may not know where to start. You may want to start with a favorite artist or with a favorite genre and go from there. On the other hand, you may want to trust some new suggestions and see what the appeal is!
There are exciting and interesting songs about dreaming in a wide variety and genres and styles, including pop, rock, jazz, metal, prog, nu-wave, country, jazz, hiphop, rap, r&b, and blues. There are even fully instrumental songs, classical songs that are centuries old about dreaming.
Songs about dreams may also include songs about bad dreams or nightmares. Some tracks utilize the concept of dreams as a metaphor, which is always a great figurative language choice in songs. Others are about the artists real life visions while asleep experiences visions and fantasies at night
Of course, there are many more songs related to the topics of dreams and dreaming besides those that are listed here. If you are looking for even more songs that describe literal or metaphorical dreams, try starting with a search in your favorite genre. You just might find your new favorite song!
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As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.