16 Of The Best Songs About Dreams And Dreaming

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

Do you believe that without dreams, we wouldn’t be where we are? Everything we have and where we are in life all started from the time we dreamed about these things.

As you see, dreams are not just about sleep. They are what give us hope and motivation to do and be better in life. These dreams have us doing our best to make them come true.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 16 of the best songs about dreams – from hopeful anthems to somber reflections. Have fun reading!

1. “Dream On” By Aerosmith

Up first is the classic and popular song “Dream On” by Aerosmith. This masterpiece delivers a powerful message of persevering through life’s trials to realize one’s dreams.

With simple lyrics, the song captures the heart and soul of every dreamer. It encourages listeners to pursue their dreams and never give up. It urges them to keep on dreaming despite the obstacles until their dreams come true.

The song illustrates the power of resilience in achieving our deepest desires. It offers solace and inspiration for those who are tirelessly reaching for the stars.

2. “Imagine” By John Lennon

More than just a melody, John Lennon‘s iconic song “Imagine” is an anthem of hope and peace. The lyrics paint a picture of a world where the things that divide people do not exist.

And by things, we mean religions, countries, hunger, and greed. Lennon encourages listeners to imagine a world where peace and unity rule. It’s his dream to live in a world where everyone coexists peacefully.

He shares this dream with his listeners, saying that he’s not the only one who wants a peaceful existence. He presents the idea that dreaming about it is the first step toward achieving it.

3. “Don’t Stop Believin'” By Journey

While “dreams” don’t appear anywhere in the song, “Don’t Stop Believin'” serves as a hallmark in the world of dream-inspired songs. Released by Journey in 1981, its lyrics inspire listeners to hold on to their dreams regardless of life’s adversities.

The song starts with a little story involving “a small town girl” and “a city boy” who “took the midnight train going anywhere.” They do so in pursuit of dreams that require them to leave their comfort zones.

The song’s catchphrase, “Don’t stop believing,” has become an anthem for chasing one’s goals. It encourages us to persevere and remain optimistic despite the obstacles to our dreams.

4. “Dreams” By Fleetwood Mac

Our next song, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, explores the complexity of a relationship that’s about to end. This is a song that mentions “dreams” as a metaphor to show the feelings of loneliness that come when a relationship ends.

According to songwriter Stevie Nicks, she wrote the song to help her process her separation from her bandmate and then-boyfriend, Lindsey Buckingham. The song also uses the imagery of thunder and rain to refer to the difficult times in the relationship.

The line “When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know” suggests awakening, in the same way that dreams lead to revelations.

5. “Mr. Tambourine Man” By Bob Dylan

The dream-like song “Mr. Tambourine Man” by Bob Dylan reflects the singer’s longing for the past. It captures his younger years and how he yearns for them.

Using magical imagery, the song depicts a narrative of escape. The world of adulthood is a far cry from the days of his youth. He longs to be taken away from the harsh reality and just be lost in dreams. The line “take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind” further supports this.

We can also interpret the song as the singer’s longing to relive the joy of his youth, which seems to have escaped him. It evokes a sense of nostalgia as he dreams of simpler times.

6. “Enter Sandman” By Metallica

The 1991 single “Enter Sandman” by Metallica is a powerful song that captivates listeners with its dark and haunting lyrics. It quickly became one of the band’s most popular songs.

In European folklore, the Sandman sprinkles magical sand onto the eyes to encourage beautiful dreams. Surprisingly, the song portrays this character in an ominous light. The lyrics speak to the idea of nightmares, tapping into our deepest fears and anxieties.

The lyrics depict a child’s fear of falling asleep and entering a nightmarish world. This theme of dreams turning into something sinister resonates with many who have experienced unsettling dreams.

Related: Check out our list of songs about nightmares here.

7. “I Have A Dream” By ABBA

A song with “dream” in the title is one coming from the supergroup ABBA. Released in 1979, “I Have a Dream” is about the power of dreams and how they shape one’s reality. At the same time, the lyrics are filled with messages of hope and resilience.

“I Have a Dream” inspires listeners to never relinquish their aspirations. It encourages us to hold onto our dreams and believe they can come true, thus capturing the essence of dreaming and hope.

The song further taps into the universal experience of longing for success and fulfillment. It reminds us that no matter how challenging or chaotic life may be, we should always keep dreaming and striving toward our goals.

8. “Livin’ On A Prayer” By Bon Jovi

Up next is an anthem that captures the spirit of chasing dreams and overcoming obstacles. “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi tells the story of Tommy and Gina, a young couple struggling to make ends meet.

The song’s chorus, “Oh, we’re halfway there, Oh oh, livin’ on a prayer,” resonates with listeners as it symbolizes hope and determination in the face of adversity. It highlights themes of perseverance and finding strength within oneself to pursue dreams.

This song reminds us that holding onto hope can lead us closer to living our dreams. It also encourages us to never give up on our dreams, no matter what.

9. “Lucid Dreams” By Juice WRLD

In Juice WRLD‘s “Lucid Dreams,” the singer suffers from emotional turmoil as a result of a failed relationship. With its haunting lyrics, it delves into the pain and confusion that often accompany love gone wrong.

The song uses the concept of lucid dreams as a metaphor for the singer’s mental state. Lucid dreaming is where one is aware he is dreaming and can control his dreams. However, he couldn’t help adding to the pain by replaying memories in his mind.

The singer is left to deal with raw emotions as he grapples with the pain. In the midst of his mental anguish, he yearns for closure and solace within his own thoughts.

10. “Dream Weaver” By Gary Wright

Up next, we have “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright, which takes us into the sphere of dreams as a vehicle for enlightenment and escape from life’s worries.

For Wright, the Dream Weaver is God Himself. He is the driver of the dream weaver train that carries us through the tunnel of challenges and suffering. His love carries us through the night and into “the morning light.”

The singer looks forward to sleeping both as a way to rest and escape from his present worries. He prays upon the Dream Weaver to help him forget his pain and give him peace.

11. “In My Dreams” By REO Speedwagon

In REO Speedwagon‘s “In My Dreams,” dreams are a way to escape reality. The singer finds refuge in his dreams, for there, he is loved and cherished.

In the lyrics, the singer shuns the day because “it only disturbs the dreamland where I lay.” In his dreams, he experiences love and happiness that he does not find in his waking moments. A new day means missed opportunities to dream, a state that he much prefers lately.

The lyrics depict yearning and desire, perhaps for a relationship that has ended already. The song emphasizes the struggles he goes through in relation to love. It suggests that dreams serve as his sanctuary, and there he still feels that the love he lost is still alive.

12. “Land Of Confusion” By Genesis

The politically-charged song “Land of Confusion” touches upon societal issues and personal struggles. Through this song, Genesis shows us the uncertainties of life, reflecting a world consumed by confusion.

With its thought-provoking lyrics, the song uses dreams as a metaphor to comment on the state of the world. By saying, “I must’ve dreamed a thousand dreams,” it means that he has pondered about things and sees nothing but confusion and turmoil.

The song further criticizes global leaders and how they handle the pressing issues of the time. There are just “too many people, Making too many problems” for Superman to handle. When all is said and done, the world is still in chaos.

13. “Dreams” By The Cranberries

Our next song with “dreams” in the lyrics comes from the Irish rock band The Cranberries. Their 1993 single, “Dreams,” uses the concept of dreams as a metaphor for falling deeply in love for the first time.

According to the vocalist Dolores O’Riordan, who also penned the song, falling in love is so intense that it feels surreal, like a dream. Hence, she says, “And oh, my dreams, It’s never quite as it seems.”

The line “You’re a dream to me” suggests her disbelief that falling in love could be like this. It shows her excitement and joy at meeting someone who completes her. The emotions she feels are powerful, and for her, it feels like a dream.

14. “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” By Eurythmics

Upon the release of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” in 1983, it became the breakthrough hit of the new wave music duo Eurythmics. This synth-pop hit became an instant sensation with its catchy melody and haunting lyrics.

Vocalist Annie Lennox says that the song reflects the time when her band, The Tourists, broke up. It was a bleak time, making her feel as if she were dreaming and the plans and dreams they made were not going to happen.

As the lyrics were too depressing, they had to add the line “Hold your head up, keep your head up, movin’ on” to somehow add a bit of positivity.

15. “Dreamlover” By Mariah Carey

The biggest hit of 1993 in the US is Mariah Carey‘s “Dreamlover.” Here, she is in search of a man who will give her the kind of love that lasts.

For her, this ideal partner is a “dreamlover.” He is someone who provides lasting love and not “another pretender” who disappointed her like those in her past.

The lyrics show that the concept of dreams conveys her longing for a perfect relationship. The song suggests that dreams are her source of hope and aspiration. These also serve as her escape from her past disappointments.

16. “California Dreamin'” By The Mamas & The Papas

At its core, “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & The Papas is longing for a better place. Released in 1965, it has become synonymous with dreaming and longing for a paradise-like existence.

In the song, dreams are a metaphor for one’s aspirations for something better. The song was inspired when group members Michelle and John Philips were living in New York, which was having a particularly cold winter. Michelle came from sunny California, and she was homesick.

On a particularly cold day, Michelle was dreaming of being back home in Los Angeles, where she’d “be safe and warm.”

Summing Up Our List Of Dream Songs

As you see, dreams are the perfect vehicle to express human emotions and experiences. From REO Speedwagon’s “In My Dreams,” where dreams are a refuge from reality to The Cranberries’ “Dreams,” which explores the overwhelming emotions of first love, it’s clear that dreams have a special place in music.

Whether it’s love, longing, or commentary on the world’s state, dreams continue to serve as a compelling theme in music. These songs remind us to hold onto hope, keep believing, and work on those dreams no matter what.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.