#9 Dream

Album: Walls And Bridges (1974)
Charted: 23 9


  • When Walls And Bridges was released, the NME expressed what many people thought of this song when they described it as, "a depressing hunk of sentimental bushwah with a chorus in phony Haitian."
  • The mystery voice that calls Lennon's name "John" during the first bridge was performed by his lover, May Pang - on the second bridge he reversed the tape of her saying his name. According to May Pang's book Loving John, Lennon told her that he did not know what the song was about, but it was not about her. He also did not "convince" her to sing the vocals, she sang them because the female vocalist scheduled for the session did not show up. (Thanks to David Thoener, who was an engineer at the sessions.)
  • John admitted that he "borrowed" the string arrangement from Harry Nilsson's "Many Rivers To Cross" from Nilsson's album Pussy Cats - which John produced!
  • The line, "Ah bowakawa, posse, posse" were just nonsense foreign sounding words, much like the made-up words John used in the Beatles' "Sun King" from Abbey Road. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ken - Louisville, KY, for above 2
  • John Lennon was fascinated with the recurrence of the number nine throughout his life, which included:

    Lennon was born on October 9.
    His first home was 9 Newcastle Road, Wavertree, Liverpool - three names which each contain nine letters.
    The Beatles' first gig at The Cavern Club took place on February 9, 1961.
    Brian Epstein, The Beatles' manager, first saw them perform on November 9 that same year.
    The Beatles' contract with EMI was confirmed on May 9,1962.
    The Beatles' debut single, "Love Me Do," was on Parlophone R4949.
    Lennon's son Sean shared his father's birthday.

    As well as this song, which peaked at #9 on the Hot 100, Lennon wrote two others with the same number in the title: "Revolution 9" and "One After 909."

Comments: 36

  • Tangento from Ca. Mn. NvExpanding on the recurring #9 in John's life: The Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was on February 9th, 1964.
    ( I now see that it's already been mentioned, but I went to all this trouble...)

    On a side note: I wasn't there, nor was I watching, due to the fact that I was preparing to be born 4 days later.
  • $bill from Atlanta, Gaa singer had something better to do than appear on a John Lennon Record? what singer wouldn't show up for a Lennon session?
  • James from Richmond TxLove the intro which sounds like a slide guitar with great tone. You can hear it thru out the song and I've searched for who played same and haven't found the answer.
  • Jwl from LiverpoolThis song is much more than meets the eye. John is revisiting an actual experience that he believed he had. After this, things had changed irrevocably. 'Music touched his soul', but also 'More I cannot say'. It is a recount of an event which actually happened in Liverpool 'so long ago'. The chorus 'Ah bowakawa pousse pousse' is the key, of course. Anything to do with John Lennon and the number 9 involves backmasking. 'What more can I say?' x
  • William J Hornby from TexasYou need to add one more very important number 9 for John and the Beatles. Their first show on Ed Sullivan was February 9, 1964!
  • Rowland from Charlotte, Nc UsaThis song has been playing in my head for a few days now. Was curious to see what others thought of it's meaning. My story... I always loved John Lennon and the Beatles from a little boy who first saw them on Ed Sullivan February "9th", 1964. I was beside myself when he died. I was fortunate enough to attend his vigil in Central Park, NYC on Dec. 14th, 1980. To me the song has an eerie prophetic message about his death. Consider the lyrics... "Took a walk down the street, Thru the heat whispered trees,I thought I could hear (hear, hear, hear), Somebody call out my name as it started to rain,Two spirits dancing so strange". All the imagery of Lennon walking into the Dakota off Central Pk West, Chapman standing poised taking his shots, etc. The second set of lyrics: "On a river of sound, Thru the mirror go round, round, I thought I could feel (feel, feel, feel), Music touching my soul, something warm, sudden cold, The spirit dance was unfolding." Music touching my soul... something warm, sudden cold, the spirit dance was unfolding... to me symbolizes music which was a part of his very soul that yielded life turning from life's warmth to cold death, his spirit being released in a dance FREE now to be 'the other half of the sky'.
  • Bridget from New JerseyBeautifully arranged song. I've read this song was about a dream he had. I think what he was experiencing in his dream was astral sex. It's when two spirits merge and exchange energies.
  • Dj from Issaquah, WaInteresting string of 9's in John's life. There's at least one important one missing. The Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964.
  • Alejandro from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaKnown is that John crafted the song based on dream he had. I don't know why I thought it was about the time he was enjoying the gigs in Hamburg and his close friendship with Stuart Sutcliffe that took John by surprise when he was told Stuart died. "Music touching my soul, something warm, sudden cold". Was I dreaming too?
  • Donna from Ft. Lauderdale, FlYou can see interviews with Yoko Ono and May Pang in the PBS program "Lennon in NYC" - an episode of the American Masters series - where they talk about this song and the time during which John and Yoko were separated and why. It's an excellent documentary. John spoke openly about his flaws and fears, he put it all out there in his music. He was a true authentic, so sad he was senselessly killed in his prime.
  • Olivia from Philadelphia, PaIs this song about george?
  • Nikolai from Los Angeles, CaWhen John changed his name to include Ono, he was pleased that the combined number of O's in his name and Yoko's was 9. Good song as well.
  • Kris from Denver, CoI knew that "pousse" is "pushed" in French, so I entered "wakawa" into a translation engine and in Swahali, it means "were".

    So, regardless of John's meaning, we can take it as "B were pushed". "B" = Beatles? Hmmm... a mystery within an enigma.
  • Sam from Akulivik, QcIs it "If I was who I was, I sold my soul"? or "If I walk where I walk, I sold my soul"? nice gibberish, aaaa bawakawa pousse pousse.
  • Reed from New Ulm, MnTo listen to it now, so many years after it's been recorded and John has been gone from us...this one to me, seems almost haunting----the melody, the arrangement, the lyrics, everything. What a great, great song.
  • Deborah from Floyd, VaIn an interview with Lennon aired on the Lennon tapes on WNEW radio years ago, I believe Lennon said it was about a UFO experience he had. You ought to find out about this one for sure.
  • Alf from Kingston, CanadaChapman is a nutcase. Hope he enjoyed his fame from this. Wonder if he will enjoy the fame on the other side when the a--hole gets there.
  • Jeff from Phoenix, AzIt's simply a song written to Yoko who he was seperated from where he's stating how sad he is that they're no longer together and remembering their relationship as if it was a dream. A sweet dream baby...
  • Gorge from New York, NyIt means "This song sounds fantastic on heroin." People enjoyed heroin like wine back then.
  • Matthew from Sydney, AustraliaThis song is memories of John selling his soul.
  • Tim from Houston, Txbrings back memories of the "brown acid"
  • Ariovaldo from Limeira, BrazilThis song was a prophetical message. Johnn had a dream. In that dream someone call him...and when He answer, starting raining and the spirits became reality for him...he was death.He wrote so clearly that I am surprise that no one could understand this music.(REMEMBER...chapman calls him before the shot).
  • Erika from Fox Valley, WiThroughout much of his life John had always felt he was connected to the number 9. Using it in songs like #9 Dream, Revolution #9, One after 909. Also the fact that he was born on the ninth as was Sean, his mothers house number was #9, his first wife Cynthias house number (when they first began dating was #18 (the 2 digits of which add up to 9), Brian Epstein first heard the Beatles play on the 9th day of the month, They got their first record contract on the 9th day of the month and John had met Yoko on the 9th day of that month. It was the 9th of December in the UK when he died. Much of this information comes from Cynthia Lennons book "John".
  • Brett from Houston, TxHow ironic it is that the top chart position for #9 Dream in the U.S. was #9!
  • Bianca Sanchez from Alburquerque, NmGreat song!!!! It's one of my Faveorites. The girl saying "John" wasn't Yoko, it was, um I don't remember her name but it was not Yoko. But on the Music video they had Yoko Lip Syncing the words "John" "John" John"
  • Richard from Talladega, AlTo my knowledge, this album "Walls & Bridges" was recorded while John and Yoko was separated and John was hanging in California with Nilsson and Pang. IMHO, this is John's finest album. Makes me wish he'd left Yoko at home during other recordings (with all respect to Yoko). Awesome song from an awesome album.
  • Leigh from Santa Monica, CaMr. Lennons' birthdate is October 9th ; As is his son Sean Lennon-October 9th.
  • Malicious Matt from SquatneyHatred is poison to the soul. I just dismiss Mark Chapman as a lost soul, and let go of the anger I used to feel towards him. Thats just my take on that anyway... Great song though.
  • Ryan from Middlesex, Njfrom what ive heard and read its called #9 dream because there are 8 stages in a dream....and apparenty hes reaching a 9th stage.
  • Kevin from Pittsburgh, Padoes any one know what b'wakawa pouss means?
  • Mark from Twin Cities Metro Area, MoI love this song. It's so atmospheric, like a lot of Johns songs like I'm Only Sleeping, Across the Universe, to name two.
    If you turn up the volumn at the end of Dream #9 and listen to the fade out it sounds like John is singing "I wanna f__k her, I wanna f__k her, f__k her, f__k her etc. It's buried under the main part of the song so you have to listen pretty good.
    These newer songs of his really make me miss him.
    He was one of my main mentors growing up in the 60's and 70's.

  • Ariana from Lima, Peruthere´s a cover of this song by REM in the album Instant Karma: The Campaign to Save Darfur
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaKristy, John & Yoko were into numerology along with all kinds of other nonsense. When you consider the repeated "Number 9" used in 'Revolution 9' on the White Album, I think he just thought 9 was his number or something. GREAT song, though. Really strong melody, which John admits is a weak point of his.
  • Rohan from Johannesburg, South AfricaNorwegian pop band A-HA recently did a GREAT cover for this - released on the 2007 European version of the 'Instant Karma - Save Darfur' compilation.
  • Ethan from Franklin, TnI always assumed it was Yoko whispering John's name. Silly me.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoThis song showed that John could still write a great melody when he put his mind to it. I never get tired of hearing this song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Black SabbathFact or Fiction

Dwarfs on stage with an oversize Stonehenge set? Dabbling in Satanism? Find out which Spinal Tap-moments were true for Black Sabbath.

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

U2Fact or Fiction

How did The Edge get his name? Did they name a song after a Tolkien book? And who is "Angel of Harlem" about?

The FratellisSongwriter Interviews

Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.

Producer Ron NevisonSong Writing

Ron Nevison explains in very clear terms the Quadrophenia concept and how Heart staged their resurgence after being dropped by their record company.

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"They're Playing My Song

Dean's saga began with "Ariel," a song about falling in love with a Jewish girl from New Jersey.