The Best of Times

Album: Black Clouds & Silver Linings (2009)
Play Video


  • This song is a tribute to Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy's father, Howard, who died at the end of 2008. In a 2010 Songfacts interview with Portnoy, he explained: "My dad was battling cancer throughout the making of this whole record. So it was something that was a big part of my life, and I was going through it throughout the making of this record. And sadly, he passed away before the record was finished. But I wanted to write a song that was a tribute to our life together. I didn't want to focus on the six months of struggling with cancer and dying, I wanted to focus on the 41 years of great times that we had before that. And I wrote this song as a tribute to him, and luckily I was able to play it for him before he passed away. I had a version with me singing, and I played it for him at his bedside, and we held hands and we cried. One of the most emotional experiences of my life, but something I'll be eternally grateful for. You know, a lot of times people write songs for their loved ones after the fact. But it was a great gift to be able to do this before he passed away, and share it with him."
  • Dream Theater can be described as "progressive metal," and their influences include Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Mike Portnoy has his father to thank for exposing him to this music. He told Songfacts: "He was a huge music fan. He was the reason I became a musician myself. When I was born, he was a rock DJ on the radio and surrounded me with the Beatles and the Who and the Stones and Led Zeppelin and stuff like that, from Day One. And he was a huge Dream Theater fan, he was the one that came up with the name Dream Theater, and was always supportive of us for 25 years, since the beginning. He loved Dream Theater because he was able to have an appreciation for the type of music we play."

Comments: 2

  • Usa​ Somprasong from ThailandThe​ great​ song
  • Bert from Washington Dc, VaThis is a beautiful song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Which Songs are About Drugs?

Which Songs are About Drugs?Fact or Fiction

"25 or 6 to 4" to "Semi-Charmed Life" - see if you can spot the songs that are really about drugs.

Colin Hay

Colin HaySongwriter Interviews

Established as a redoubtable singer-songwriter, the Men At Work frontman explains how religion, sobriety and Jack Nicholson play into his songwriting.


PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Daryl Hall

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)Songwriter Interviews

Richie talks about producing the first two Kiss albums, recording "Brother Louie," and the newfound appreciation of his rock band, Dust.

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's Songs

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's SongsSong Writing

"London Bridge," "Ring Around the Rosie" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring" are just a few examples of shockingly morbid children's songs.