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Higher by Creed

Album: Human ClayReleased: 1999Charted:
7
47
  • In our 2013 interview with Creed lead singer Scott Stapp, he explained how this song came together and what it means to him:

    "I kind of say in the lyrics how it kind of came about.

    I open it up:
    'When dreaming, I'm guided to another world, time and time again.'

    So I was basically commenting on my dream and writing my thoughts about what I was dreaming about. And it was on various levels. It was a literal dream, but it was also on my dreams as a human being at that stage in my life and where I was in my life at that time. I wanted the world, so to speak. I wanted to achieve every dream that I ever had. And also I had that idealistic view of wanting to create heaven on Earth. At the time I penned that song, my view of what heaven on Earth meant was very narrow, very naïve, and very wrapped up in ego and self-fulfillment. I didn't really expound on that, but I can comment on that now. And it's also, 'Be careful what you wish for, because your prayers might get answered.'"
  • A frequently misinterpreted song, in the September 2000 edition of Spin magazine, Scott Stapp explained that this is is not about Christ's ascension to heaven or taking a big bong hit, but is about the power of lucid-dreaming. "You're physically asleep, but you're awake in your mind," he explained.

    He read a book about Hindu monks who have perfected the technique and thought it might help him squelch a recurring nightmare: He's running down a highway, closely pursued by a man with a gun. He turns left and hides behind a pillar beneath an overpass but gets shot anyway. Stapp says that once he learned how to lucid-dream, he was able to alter the nightmare so that he turned right and escaped. After he wrote "Higher" about the experience, he never had the nightmare again.
  • Like all of Creed's songs, the music to this track was written by the group's guitarist, Mark Tremonti. When Creed split up in 2004, the band members minus Stapp (Tremonti, bass player Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips), formed Alter Bridge.
  • Creed made a big impact with their 1997 debut album My Own Prison, which they initially released on an independent label before getting a major label deal with Wind-Up Records. Songs from the album, including "What's This Life For" and "Torn," got significant airplay on the rock radio (especially rock of the "modern" or "active" variety), and "What's This Life For" rose to #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

    "Higher" was the first single from their next album, Human Clay, and it did indeed take them higher - again to #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, but this time for 17 weeks. It also made #7 on the Hot 100, marking a crossover for Creed to pop radio. The downside: the last single from My Own Prison, "One," was still getting airplay only a few months before "Higher" was issued. This deluge of Creed eventually wore out listeners, and the band suffered a backlash.
  • The video was directed by Ramaa Mosley, who also did the "What's This Life For" clip. In the video, Creed gets "higher" by taking the stage. Of note is the 360-degree shot of Scott Stapp at the end, which was a relatively new technique at the time, requiring an array of cameras and sophisticated software to interpolate the still images into what appears to be a continuous shot.
  • In our interview with Ramaa Mosley, she said that making the video was "a creative struggle." Said Mosley: "The band had only a short time before they had to go on tour in Japan and their schedule dictated that we had to shoot in Orlando, Florida. I wanted to be in Los Angeles where I had my team but it wasn't possible. So I flew out to location with my team and we started putting together this massive video. We had over 300 extras but really needed three times that amount.

    I came up with the idea after listening to the song with the record label. They brought me into the room and played it for me. The first idea I had was this epic performance that later we question ever happened. I only pitched that idea."
  • Scott Stapp admits to occasionally feeling embarrassed about the video now. "Sometimes I cringe when I see it," he told GQ in 2017. "Like, 'What was I thinking? Look at those pants.'"
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Comments: 38

You guys that think it is about heaven, I don't think you could be more close-minded. Sight is not our only sense. There are some things you can "see" without sight. There is a universal feeling called love, and anyone can feel/"see" it.
"The difference is to let love replace all our hate"
Almost everyone has a natural calling to be good, to improve themselves and/or the world. If we had a world where there is no hate or war, a place of love and peace, blindness would not be an issue and they could therefore "see". I can't believe you guys take things so literally. I have been to a place
of golden streets, and I was on Earth. I had not a worry in the world, I was at peace, and I had loved ones around me. It made me feel alive in a way.
It did feel like heaven on earth, and that phrase did cross my mind at the time. He wants to go higher, to go to a place without hate and fear,
to a place where there is love and peace. The only place he can get that now is in his dreams, and he fights to stay there. Personally, I go through the same thing, I roll over and try to dream again because it's better than anything else. As Skillet's "Don't Wake Me" says, "Nothing to do but keep sleeping longer, it's not a lot but it's all I have" That is another line where dreaming is so much better than reality, so much so in that song that it's an escape.
Not everything is literal guys.
Jake - Greensburg, In
Reading all these comments make me smile. Don't forget- those of you who "know" what this song is really about- YOU KNOW. Really "knowing" is NOT meant for the masses- it is not free- it carries a heavy price- YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS. Don't throw your pearls before swine. Be grateful YOU know. Smile, knowing you were chosen to have a CLEAR understanding. Don't waste your gift trying to shove it down angry mens throats. Smile. Watch in pity as the blind wander in ignorance...angry bliss, ironic.Melissa - Willits, Ca
This is awesome! Love this song!Megan - Stevenson, Al
Stapp or maybe the writer from Spin, sure changed the story. I remember when this song came out that Stapp (in a TV interview) said it was a religious based song and how he was trying to make amends with his young son. Who knows? I love this song so much and the video is amazing!Rachel - Augusta, Ks
sorry Jayden but lets not try to make this song seem like christian rock. It is clearly stated what this song is about. to many songs have been labeled for either pro or con religon. If you want to think this song is about god and religon think so but do not come here when it is stated what the song is about and say that it is not true. keep it to yourselfFrank - Rochacha, Ny
i think...no wait i KNOW...this song is about heaven.and 4 all you haters you can go on somewhere!cause he said can you take me higher to a place where blind men see/golden steets...if you read this book i love to call the BIBLE you would understand!Jayden - Nunya, Sc
I believe he's referring to heaven. "take me higher,to a place where blind man see/with golden streets " . That sounds alot like heaven. God bless yall.Jarrod - Somewhere, Sc
He is talking about a place where you can go and be free. Do whatever makes you happy. Whatever makes you, you. Whatever you sit in class dreaming about.Richie - Pearland, Tx
this song was set to my wife sky diving the first time to release her brothers ashes who was a skydiver and died in a plane crash with 9 others.

Both of us cry everytime we view the video and the music makes it all the more special.
So a big thanks to the band Creed.
Ron Gilmore - Snohomish, Wa
Because of the fact that I am going through a bout of depression because of my divorce, I feel this song has touched me a lot more because of my own experience. I lost my grandfather a year before I got married and both my former wife and I loved that man more than can be put into words. I dream of him weekly, however less and less as time goes on. When I do dream of him, at the time he is still alive, as though nothing has changed. I have been in that morning, waking from a dream of my grandfather and feeling like I dont want "to wake from this place". I believe that this song is about the yearning of a lost loved one and not waiting until we(I) see them again in heaven.Tom - South Bend, In
This is a beautiful song. I love it and I love Creed. I wish they hadn't broken up! It's very inspirational and wonderful to think how to get your life in a peaceful mode. One of their best songs ever.Gabreya - Pine Bluff, Ak
Awsome!!! pretty self explanitory...just listen to it!Julie - Taylor, Tx
this song has such strong meanings for me because i think of it as a challenge to myself to go as high as i can in life and work as hard as i can to make my dreams become realities. and the line "can you take me higher" is sort of like a challenge to myself to see what im actually capable of.Emma - Mississauga, Canada
ive read most of the comments people have posted and i really dont know why ur arguing over the meaning of the song, evryone has their own interpretations of what it means to them so who are u people to argue whether its about being on drugs, heaven or whatever else. to scott stapp himself yes it was about overcoming a nightmare he was having, but his written it in such a way that the listener can interpret however they want and bring to it there own meaningKellie - Albury, Australia
What are you people on? This song is about the power of lucid dreaming. The part about "Golden Streets" and "Where blind men see" could just be a reference to Scott?s "utopia". It is not a reference to heaven. And the lines about Mark Tremonti ripping off Iron Maiden's Powerslave, Had it occurred to you morons that Mark just might have been inspired by them. For that matter do any of you even play guitar? I do and the 2 licks are slightly different. Mark was probably trying to "recreate" it to make their music sound unique. as apposed to a lot of the grunge and punk that was popular at the time. in an interview I read that Mark was heavily inspired by 80's metal. So he may have been trying to recreate that sort of sound. That's what made their music so famous. I do agree that Mark is a Pretty underrated guitarist. The man is a musical genius. By the way Esbjorn, have you heard of Alter Bridge? It's Mark's new band and they are 200 times better than Creed was. all the same band members except Scott. They brought in Myles Kennedy to sing and boy is he f***in' good. He makes Scott look like a joke. If no than the name of their cd is "One Day Remains". I also recommend that the rest of you pick it up also. It's much better. If you have any questions you can reach me at www.robert_a_cook@yahoo.com. By the way love this song. Very insightful on the ways the human mind works. And a cool riff too. Props to Mark. Rock on man!Kara - Cadillac, Mi
I don't think it's particularly about Heaven. I think it's about dreaming of a better world, then waking up to the realization that it was all just a dream. And how he wants Earth to be like the place in his dreams. It's just about wanting peace. Has anyone given peace a thought? If we stopped war and hatred it truly would be Heaven on Earth.Ashley - Moncton, Canada
Worst guitar riff everAlex - Madrid, Spain
The riff takes the song higher. Very well writen by Mark Tremonti which in my opinion is one the worlds most underrated guitarists...EsbjÃ?rn - Viborg, Denmark
I can't believe there is any debate about this song ripping off Iron Maiden. After seeing the comments about it here, I popped Powerslave into my CD player to compare for myself. Yeah, I think I hear the part you're referring to, but it's not really that close, and certainly not close enough to claim it as being ripped off. In fact, here's a couple of Song Facts for you: 1) There are only something like 12 notes on the musical scale, and 2) -- BELIEVE IT OR NOT -- Iron Maiden didn't invent them. Has it occured to any of you "Rip Off" flag wavers that Mark Tremonti may be a fan of Maiden, and that that particular guitar lick was a nod of appreciation towards them? Judging on his playing style and other documented sources of influence, I wouldn't be surprised if he finds Iron Maiden to be a musical inspiration for him. Rock on, Mark! The current state of music could use a few more Maiden-sounding bands!Jon - Warner Robins, Ga
Sorry Christians - the song is not about Heaven. It's not about drugs either. In the September 2000 issue of "Spin Magazine," Scott Stapp told the interviewer the song was inspired by a book from a Hindu monk. The book was about staying awake in your mind to change your dreams.

Quote:
Creed finish with "Higher," which Stapp says is not about Christ's ascension to heaven or taking a big bong hit - it's about the power of lucid-dreaming. "You're physically asleep, but you're awake in your mind," he explains.

He read a book about Hindu monks who have perfected the technique and thought it might help him squelch a recurring nightmare: He's running down a highway, closely pursued by a man with a gun. He turns left and hides behind a pillar beneath an overpass but gets shot anyway. Stapp says that once he learned how to lucid-dream, he was able to alter the nightmare so that he turned right and escaped. After he wrote "Higher" about the experience, he never had the nightmare again.

Source: http://www.passionbreedsfollowers.com/media/print/magazines/spin.shtml
Anthony - Long Island, Ny
Come on people! A place where blind men see! Golden Streets! Listen to the lyrics!Theres 0nly one explanation. They can deny it all they want in interviews. HEAVEN! "Earth and my dreams." Earth and heaven. Listen to their other songs! They are christians, not necessarily Christian, as in evangelical, but this song is definitely religiously inspired.Peace out.James - Cape Town, South Africa
I completely relate and agree with you, Jackie.Leon - Waterbury, Ct
I love creed, especially this song. to me, its really insperationalJill - Up The Hill, France
"Cause I don't want to leave the comfort of this place/'Cause there's a hunger, a longing to escape/From the life I live when I'm awake "

Anyone who has had severe depression can relate to these lines. I've had weeks were getting out of bed is a struggle to make you want to give up, to go back to the dreams in your head. I still have mornings like this. The dream is so much an escape, you can't let it end.

This is not seeking heaven, but a return to the world of dreams where he is not fighting himself constantly. If someone sees heaven as a dream, then it can be both (he doesn't say exactly *what* he's dreaming about - why do some feel like they have to define it?)

And for the riff - if it works, good. It well tied to the lyrics and the rest of the music. Has anyone looked to see if inspiration is give to Iron Maiden? Music is not made in a vacuum, the best musicians know this.
Jackie - Virginia Beach, Va
Ok so they used the same guitar riff, big deal. People do that a lot, i don't think they just "take it." Either you like the band, or you don't. And if you don't, what's the point of coming here?
2 continue...
I love this song, But, my friend, I'd sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate

is my favorite part.
:)
Michelle - Anaheim, Ca
You guys do know that Creed started as a christian rock band. Do I need say more?Nathan - Defiance, Oh
shes right Ashley just listen to Iron Maiden's powerslave Creed sucks bigtime for stealing that riff(this is to creed:stop stealing Riffs from Iron Maiden) >:[Francisco - South Gate, Ca
Ashley, you are right that little riff is great... but you can't credit Creed with that riff, they stole it from Iron Maiden! Listen to the song 'Powerslave' by Iron Maiden and you will know what I mean.

Its too bad that the one good thing about Creed (that riff) is just a ripoff of an Iron Maiden riff.

Creed sux btw
Jose - New York, Ny
The little guitar thing done after"can you take me higher..." , you know what I mean, is the awesomest ever.Ashley - Moncton, Canada
This song is an anthem song for sure. I still can get all hyped by listening to it. I'm not really a Creed fan, but this song was really well done.Dee - Indianapolis, In
This song was the soundrack of WWE Christmas in Iraq 2004... Nuff said...Georwyn - Paradise City, Fl
He may have wrote it to be heaven then. It's obviously his dreams of a heaven. The main reason he told people it's not the heaven is because he feels he has to cave in his own ethos and satisfy his fans who think religion is a bad place to go. "Faceless Man" is blatantly a reference to God.Dude - Tx, Tx
Yeah I'd think that too If Scott hadn't said in EVERY INTERVIEW ever that it was about dreams NOT HEAVEN. He ran away from Religion. Not towards it.
But it means different things to everybody, if you want it to mean drugs/heaven to you then let it. its just not what he wrote it for.
Dawn - Vernon, Canada
i also DO think that they are talking about heaven, i mean, golden paved roads, blind men see...Ali - Qc, Az
It's about lucid dreams...not drugs, war, heaven or anything else. Where do people get their information from these days?Rea - Edmonton, Canada
I personally think that this song is about war, and how dreaming is an escape from the cruel world we live in..and he doesn't like waking up and realizing where he really lives. He wishes he could go to this higher "place"..that is perfect (where blind men see) He'd sacrifice all his wonderful dreams if the world were just like them, and wants love to replace all the hate in the world. Best song ever - love it.Dawn - Toronto, Canada
TO go along with the songfacts; "Can you take me higher" is him "asking" the drugs whether they can take him to heaven ("...to a place where blind man see")Dick - Simi, Ca
This song makes me think about how I can help myself, and do better in life. I especially liked the line, "To a place where blind men see".Paul - Toledo, Oh
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