Steven Tyler Explains The Meaning Behind Dream On

It's a timeless two-word hook that shakes your inner foundation without saying much at all: dream on. In 1973, Aerosmith released their self-titled album that kicked off their career as one of the most prodigious rock bands of all time (via All Music). "Dream On," the haunting ballad that sounded pleasantly different than every other track, was one of the more stand-out songs on the record. However, according to Steven Tyler himself, the song was written long before Aerosmith was even a band. 

"'Dream On' came of 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 thing I was playing, and I never dreamed it would end up as a real song or anything," Tyler shared years later (per Express). Without even knowing it, the frontman was writing the theme to his very own self-fulfilling prophecy, because that's exactly what the song is about: dreaming until your dreams come true.

The dream comes true

"This song sums up the s**t you put up with when you're in a new band," Tyler said. While "Dream On" didn't become quite the monumental hit that it was destined to be until a little later on (it only reached Number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. following its 1973 release), its lifespan and iconic recognizability has endured for nearly 50 years (via Express). 

In a sense, "Dream On" is melodically emblematic of everything dreams are made of. The song kicks off with a chilling guitar lick that is both patiently calculating and ferociously assertive. It has high points and low points, until it erupts into a crescendo of majestic instrumentation that is titanic, celebratory, and radiant. Ergo, the promise comes true. "It's about the hunger to be somebody: Dream until your dreams come true." Tyler explained (per I Love Classic Rock).