Aerosmith “Dream On” Lyrics Meaning

“Dream On” is a famous song by Aerosmith from their first album in 1973. Steven Tyler, the lead singer, wrote it, and it became their first big hit and a classic on rock radio.

It was released in June 1973, and while it only reached number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was a huge hit in their hometown of Boston. In Boston, it was the number one single of the year on WBZ-FM, the fifth most popular on WRKO, and number 16 on WMEX (AM).

Steven Tyler started writing the song when he was a teenager, playing it on his father’s organ and finishing it on a basement piano where the band used to live in the early 1970s. He says the song’s chords were inspired by his memories of lying under his father’s piano as a child, listening to him play.

The song “Dream On” is a heartfelt reflection on getting older and the importance of living life to the fullest because time is precious, and we have no control over it. It suggests that we should make the most of our time, as our lives can be taken away at any moment.

In this article, we will explore the meaning behind the lyrics of this song.

“Dream On” Lyrics Meaning

[Verse 1]

Every time​ that I look in the mirror

All these lines on my face getting clearer

The past is gone

It went by like dusk to dawn

Isn’t that the way?

Everybody’s got their dues in life to pay, yeah

In Verse 1, the singer reflects on his own aging as he looks in the mirror. He notices the lines and wrinkles on his face becoming more visible, singing, “Every time​ that I look in the mirror, All these lines on my face getting clearer.”

The lyrics suggest that the past has slipped away like the transition from evening to morning. It also mentions that everyone has their own challenges or “dues” to pay in life.


I know nobody knows

Where it comes and where it goes

I know it’s everybody’s sin

You got to lose to know how to win

In the Interlude, the singer acknowledges that there are many unknowns in life, as expressed in the lines, “I know nobody knows, Where it comes and where it goes.”

In the line “I know it’s everybody’s sin,” the word “sin” is metaphorical, implying that not knowing or understanding life’s twists and turns is a shared human experience.

The line “You got to lose to know how to win” means that experiencing losses or failures in life is a part of learning how to succeed and gain wisdom.

[Verse 2]

Half my life’s in books’ written pages

Lived and learned from fools and from sages

You know it’s true

All the feelings come back to you

In Verse 2, the singer suggests that a significant part of his life has been shaped by the knowledge and wisdom found in books or written records, as he sings, “Half my life’s in books’ written pages, Lived and learned from fools and from sages.”

The line “You know it’s true, all the feelings come back to you” implies that memories and associated feelings remain a part of one’s life.


Sing with me, sing for the year

Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear

Sing with me, if it’s just for today

Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away

In the Chorus, the singer invites others to join them in singing, symbolizing a sense of togetherness and shared experience.

The lyrics encourage singing not only during joyful moments (“laughter”) but also during times of sadness or difficulty (“tear”). This reflects the idea that music can provide solace and expression in all circumstances.

The singer suggests that people should sing and enjoy life’s moments, even if it’s just for the present day. The line “Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away” emphasizes the uncertainty of life’s duration and the idea that one should live fully in the moment, as life can change or end unexpectedly.


Dream on, dream on, dream on

Dream until your dreams come true

Dream on, dream on, dream on

Dream until your dreams come true

Dream on, dream on

Dream on, dream on

Dream on, dream on

Dream on, ah!

In this Bridge, the lyrics convey a straightforward message: Keep dreaming and working towards your aspirations until you see them fulfilled.

It serves as a motivational reminder to stay committed to one’s ambitions and not lose sight of them.

Deeper Meaning Behind “Dream On”

“Dream On” by Aerosmith is a timeless anthem that encourages listeners to reflect on their lives, appreciate the present, and keep pursuing their dreams, all while recognizing the transient nature of time and the uncertainties of life.

Regarding the inspiration behind the song, Steven Tyler told Rolling Stone:

“When I wrote ‘Dream On,’ I went, ‘Where did this come from?’ I didn’t question it. When I read the lyrics back now, for a guy who was stoned, stupid, and dribbling, I got something out of there.”

In a separate interview, he explained to Rolling Stone:

“I wrote the music on an Estey pump organ that was right outside the studio my father would give recitals in every Sunday night at Trow-Rico [resort] in Sunapee, New Hampshire. The psychoacoustics that were coming out of the organ with the stops I had pulled were enchanting … it damn near wrote itself. Then we were in Boston, staying at an old motel near the airport. We were about to head into the studio to do an album and I had no lyrics to the music. I sat outside on the balcony and wrote the lyrics.”

When asked about the meaning of this song, Tyler said:

“It’s about the hunger to be somebody: Dream until your dreams come true.” He added, “This song sums up the s–t you put up with when you’re in a new band. Most of the critics panned our first album, and said we were ripping off the Stones. That’s a good barometer of my anger at the press, which I still have.

‘Dream On’ came of me playing the piano when I was about 17 or 18, and I didn’t know anything about writing a song. It was just this little sonnet that I started playing one day. I never thought that it would end up being a real song.”

In the lyrics, Tyler depicts the passage of time and the recognition of aging, with lines like “Every time that I look in the mirror, all these lines on my face getting clearer.” This reflects the idea that life is constantly changing, and one must confront their own mortality.

The song also suggests that we learn and grow through both successes and failures, as expressed in the lines “I know it’s everybody’s sin, You got to lose to know how to win.”

The chorus “Sing with me, if it’s just for today,” encourages people to embrace the present moment, sing, and cherish life’s ups and downs. It emphasizes the idea that life is a mix of joy and sorrow, and it’s essential to make the most of every moment.

The legacy of “Dream On” reminds us of music’s ability to uplift, heal, and bring us together as we all chase our dreams.

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