I Had A Dream

Album: released as a single (1968)


  • Pat Boone wrote this song in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. after learning the civil rights leader had been shot and killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968. Boone told the story in a Songfacts interview:

    "I was in Washington, DC the night Martin Luther King was assassinated. I sat up all night, watching all the horrific TV reports, but also, the replays - over and over - of his most famous and moving speeches. It was a very emotional time for all of us. And for me. The next day, I was flying home, and on the plane, I had my face against the window, because I was tearful and his powerful words kept running through my mind. And I was thinking, 'What a sensational man this is, and has been.' I thought, 'There needs to be a song.'

    And before I got off the plane that day - to LA - I had written a song to a gospel melody. Of course, Martin Luther King was a reverend, a minister, and he was preaching. One of his most famous sermons was in a church. If not the night before, very shortly before he was killed, he said, 'I have been to the mountain top, I may not get to go there with you, but the Lord has been taking me up in his right hand, and let me see into the promised land. I may not go with you, but you will come, one day, you will go into the promised land.' So, I thought, 'Those words need to be immortalized in music,' and I recorded the song."
  • The original 1968 release was produced by Jimmy Bowen and had a country feel that Boone felt didn't suit the song. In 2008, after Barack Obama was elected President, Boone recorded a new version with a gospel feel. This one was produced by Michael B. Sutton, who had done work for The Originals and Cheryl Lynn. He also sang on the track along with Brenda Turner and Angie Whitney.
  • Boone premiered a video, featuring footage of Martin Luther King, Jr., when he hosted the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) "Living The Dream" celebration of King on January 19, 2009, the day before Obama was inaugurated.
  • This appeared on the soundtrack to the 2009 film Becoming Barack - Evolution of a Leader.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Graduation SongsFact or Fiction

Have you got the smarts to know which of these graduation song stories are real?

Amy GrantSongwriter Interviews

The top Contemporary Christian artist of all time on song inspirations and what she learned from Johnny Carson.

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

How "A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss" Became Rock's Top ProverbSong Writing

How a country weeper and a blues number made "rolling stone" the most popular phrase in rock.

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.

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.