Pull Me Under

Album: Images and Words (1992)
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Songfacts®:

  • Lyrically, this song refers to William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, and especially the Danish prince's wish to give in to his desire to gain revenge for his father at the cost of his own sanity. At the end of the song, there is a direct quote from the play: "Oh that this too, too sullied flesh would melt."
  • This was the breakout single for Dream Theater, but it was actually a late addition to the Images And Words album. This was down to former Kerrang! journalist Derek Oliver, who had moved onto A&R work with the band's label, Atco. Having taken the band under his wing, he suggested they write one more song for the album, and "Pull Me Under" was the result. The song's working title was "Oliver's Twist" in tribute to Derek Oliver.
  • After 8 minutes and 11 seconds, this song suddenly ends mid-note. The abrupt finish was inspired by The Beatles track "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" from their Abbey Road album.
  • Most Dream Theater lyrics at this time were written by guitarist John Petrucci or drummer Mike Portnoy, but "Pull Me Under" has a lyric by their keyboard player, Kevin Moore. The song was part of their second album, Images And Words, which was their breakthrough - their 1989 debut, When Dream And Day Unite, was a flop. The band quickly grew a fervent fan base of prog metal loyalists, and kept the momentum going with their 1994 album, Awake. That was their last album with Kevin Moore, who was replaced with Derek Sherinian.
  • Released as a single, "Pull Me Under" peaked at #10 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, making it the band's biggest hit. Dream Theater is not a singles band though, and having a hit caused some problems when their record label, Atco, asked for more like it.
  • The song's success was a surprise to everyone in the band. "It's over eight minutes long, never meant to be a single," guitarist John Petrucci recalled to Germany's Gitarre & Bass. "Again, the songs being played on the radio were nothing like Dream Theater, but, for some reason, it must have stuck out to where people were calling the radio stations: 'What is that band? Oh my God! I wanna hear that song again.'"

    "And that kind of snowballed and grew, and 'Pull Me Under' became a rock radio hit," he continued. "And I remember at the time I was living in New Jersey, on the East Coast of the US, and I'd turn on the radio and I'd hear it all the time. It was a cool feeling."

Comments: 4

  • George from Livermore, MeI love the song but hate the ending. I wanted it to go on and fade out. I thought iTunes had clipped the ending for some reason. Other than that it's an awesome song.
  • Wess from Moorhead, Mnone of the most amazing bands i've ever heard..............this is what music is supposed to be all fourms of instruments

  • Jd from Fairfield, OhCoolest voice ever
  • Edgar from Athens, GreeceAmazing song...DT are great musicians!!
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