If I Can Dream

Album: Memories: The 68 Comeback Special (1968)
Charted: 11 12
Play Video


  • This song marked the rebirth of Elvis' career after he had spent most of the 1960s recording mainly soundtracks to the movies he was appearing in. This was the final song he sang on Elvis, his 1968 NBC comeback special in the USA which was his first live performance in seven years. The song was written at the last minute by the show's musical director W. Earl Brown, at the request of the producer Steve Binder to replace "I'll Be Home For Christmas." He wrote it as a response to the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, which had happened a few months previously.
  • In both the UK and US, this was Elvis' biggest chart hit since "Love Letters" in 1966.
  • As part of a series of re-releases of Elvis songs in the UK in 2007, this re-entered the UK chart at #17.
  • This song was performed with a projection of Elvis along with a real life Celine Dion during the 2007 season finale of American Idol. Footage of Elvis from a comeback special in 1968 was composited onto the Idol stage to create the effect.
  • Former football player and manager Terry Venables recorded a cover of the song for a Sun newspaper advert to tie in with the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It featured a 60-piece Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with football personalities Harry Redknapp and Ian Wright and was filmed at Wembley Stadium. Released as a single, it reached the Top 30 of the UK singles chart with all proceeds going to the Help For Heroes appeal.
  • Priscilla Presley stated at a forum with Ron Onesti in 2017 that this and "An American Trilogy" are her two favorite Elvis songs.

Comments: 11

  • Charlene Huff from TennesseeI love Elvis
  • 2nd Generation Elvis Fan from Never Too Far From GracelandIt was said that Elvis collapsed backstage after singing this song.
    Thank you, thank you very much
  • Terry Allen from EnglandI first heard this song on the Alan Freeman Pick Of The Pops BBC radio show in 1969, I was 15 years old and had never heard of Elvis up to this point. I was blown away by the song and the performance and it started me on a journey of discovery through his back catalogue of music and movies and through his choice of material; introduced me to new artists and genres. I was a fan from that moment on. I went on to amass a huge collection of music and movies, attended conventions and all night Elvis movie screenings and visited Graceland in 2005. The song was relevant then and even more so now. Thank you Elvis, for the good times.
  • Matt Stone from Wellington FlDuring the '68 Special, the costume coordinator and Elvis needed to choose his suit for the finale, If I Can Dream. One day, when Elvis walked in to see the designer, he asked Elvis, "Have you seen how many people died in Vietnam today?" When Elvis said no, he told him. Elvis started to cry. If I Can Dream was a song written to describe the '60s, which it certainly does well. Vietnam was a big part of the 60s and 70s. They purposely chose the blood red ascot tie worn in the song to remember those soldiers, and show support for the troops.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaThank you Mr. Brown. I too can dream.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 13th 1969, Elvis' twenty-ninth feature movie 'Charro!' opened in theaters across the U.S.A. and Canada...
    No songs from the movie were released but at the time "If I Can Dream" was at #16 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; the week before it was in its second week at #12, which was its peak position on the chart, and stayed on the chart for 13 weeks...
    And three days later on March 16th, 1969 Elvis' "Memories"* entered the Top 100 at #67, eventually it peaked at #35 and spent 7 weeks on the Top 100...
    * "Memories" was written by Mac Davis, and like “If I Can Dream” was featured on the NBC-TV special 'Elvis' {which is often referred to as the '68 Comeback Special}.
  • George from Belleville, NjIf I Can Dream what a song,what a vocal performance,what a masterpiece. This song has deep meaning,even relevant for today as it was back then.In my opinion,this is the roughest rawest most powerful vocal performance ever given by any singer or performer.Elvis show that he could out sing any contemporary or anyone from any era.He had a God given talent,a magic golden sound in his voice.That's why Elvis sold more records than any other singer or performer or entertainer in the history of music.There won't be another like him again in the music industry.
  • Carrie from Roanoke, VaThis is one of the best Elvis songs ever, certainly his most heartfelt (which is saying a lot, because Elvis put his soul into his music). Too bad it never gets any airplay. I've only heard this song twice, once in the racquetball building at Graceland and more recently on an advert for a new TV show that looked like it might be a knock off of the OC.
  • Klaus from Issaquah, Waif i can dream/buy elvis powerful:you first have to dream then make all your dreams come true.that is the human spirit with in all Gods creations klaus ristau
  • Jennifer from Harrodsburg, KyI had a dear boss that was an avid Elvis fan.
    They played Elvis during her funeral. What a voice.She was killed in a tragic car accident in
    1987 on her way to work. Her name was Barbara. I
    know they are in Heaven singing with the angels.
    Jennifer in Ky.
  • Jakob from Watauga Texas, TxThis was the final song he sang on Elvis, his 1968 NBC comeback special in the USA which was his first live performance in 7 years. elvis spent most of the 1960's working on music related to his movies, the 68 comeback was the rebirth of the king's career. "if i can dream" put elvis back on top where he belonged.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Grateful Dead Characters

Grateful Dead CharactersMusic Quiz

Many unusual folks appear in Grateful Dead songs. Can you identify them?

Rupert Hine

Rupert HineSongwriter Interviews

Producer Rupert Hine talks about crafting hits for Tina Turner, Howard Jones and The Fixx.

Tony Joe White

Tony Joe WhiteSongwriter Interviews

The writer of "Rainy Night in Georgia" and "Polk Salad Annie" explains how he cooks up his Louisiana swamp rock.

Al Jourgensen of Ministry

Al Jourgensen of MinistrySongwriter Interviews

In the name of song explanation, Al talks about scoring heroin for William Burroughs, and that's not even the most shocking story in this one.

Glen Burtnik

Glen BurtnikSongwriter Interviews

On Glen's résumé: hit songwriter, Facebook dominator, and member of Styx.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.