Remembering Elvis: ‘If I Can Dream’ and Its Timeless Message

Did you know?

“If I Can Dream” is a profound and emotionally charged song by the legendary American singer Elvis Presley. Here’s a detailed overview of the song:

Release and Background:

  • “If I Can Dream” was released by Elvis Presley in 1968 as a single.
  • The song was written by Walter Earl Brown and was specifically commissioned for Presley as the closing number for his television special, “Elvis,” commonly known as the ’68 Comeback Special.
  • The song was recorded on June 23, 1968, and it marked a pivotal moment in Presley’s career as he returned to live performances after a period of focusing on films and studio recordings.

Lyrics and Theme:

  • “If I Can Dream” is a song filled with hope, unity, and a yearning for a better world.
  • The lyrics convey a message of optimism and a longing for understanding and harmony in a time of division. The central phrase, “If I Can Dream,” reflects the singer’s aspiration for a more peaceful and just world.

Musical Style:

  • The song blends elements of rock and gospel music, featuring a powerful and emotionally charged vocal delivery by Elvis Presley. It is renowned for its soaring and soulful performance.
  • The arrangement includes a full orchestra and backing vocals, giving it a grand and sweeping sound that complements the uplifting message of the lyrics.

Impact and Legacy:

  • “If I Can Dream” is widely regarded as one of Elvis Presley’s most significant and poignant songs. It captured the zeitgeist of its era, offering a message of hope and unity during a time of social and political upheaval in the 1960s.
  • Elvis’s rendition of the song in the ’68 Comeback Special is especially famous. His passionate and emotional performance in this context is often seen as a defining moment in his career.
  • The song has been covered by numerous artists and remains a cherished classic in Elvis Presley’s repertoire.


  • “If I Can Dream” received widespread acclaim from both fans and music critics. It was a commercial success and continues to be a beloved and timeless classic in the Elvis Presley canon.

Elvis Presley’s “If I Can Dream” endures as a source of inspiration and a symbol of hope, testifying to the enduring power of his music and his ability to connect with audiences through heartfelt performances.



There must be lights burning brighter somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true?

Oh, why?

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun appear?

We’re lost in a cloud with too much rain
We’re trapped in a world that’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

Deep in my heart there’s a trembling question
Still I am sure that the answer’s answer’s gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle, yeah
And while I can think
While I can talk
While I can stand
While I can walk
While I can dream
Oh, please let my dream come true… right now
Let it come true right now
Oh, yeah