John Denver - Live at the Apollo Theater (10/26/1982) [11/11] - YouTube

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About the song

John Denver’s On the Wings of a Dream. Now that’s a song that stirs the soul, wouldn’t you agree? Denver, a folksinger who became a cornerstone of American popular music in the 1970s, was known for his optimistic anthems and odes to nature. But On the Wings of a Dream, nestled amongst his catalogue of sunshine and mountain ranges, takes a more introspective turn.

Released in 1974 on his album Back Home Again, the song delves into mortality, faith, and the ephemeral nature of life. It’s a departure from the usual Denver fare, and perhaps that’s what makes it so enduring.

The song opens with a somber melody, a stark contrast to the often-upbeat acoustic guitar that Denver is known for. Here, the piano takes center stage, setting a contemplative mood. Denver’s voice, usually brimming with folksy charm, adopts a gentler, almost melancholic tone as he sings the opening lines: “Yesterday I had a dream about dying / About laying to rest and then flying.”

This is the crux of the song: a dream about death that sparks a contemplation of life’s purpose. Denver ponders the fleeting nature of existence, singing, “Why is it thus we are here and so soon we are gone / Is this life just a path to the unknown?” These are questions that have resonated with listeners for generations.

On the Wings of a Dream isn’t all existential dread, however. The song takes a hopeful turn as Denver reflects on the power of dreams and the solace of faith. He sings, “Though the body and passing must leave us there is one who remains to receive us,” hinting at a belief in an afterlife. The music swells as he declares, “So I listen to the voices inside me / For I know they are there just to guide me / And my faith will proclaim it is so we are never alone.”

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On the Wings of a dream is a testament to Denver’s ability to explore complex themes while retaining his signature folksy charm. It’s a song that resonates with anyone who has ever pondered the mysteries of life and death. It’s a quiet contemplation wrapped in a melody that lingers long after the last note fades.

Video

Lyrics

“On The Wings Of A Dream”

Yesterday I had a dream about dying, about laying to rest and then flying,
how the moment at hand is the only thing we really own.
And I lay in my bed and I wondered, after all has been said and is done for,
why is it thus we are here and so soon we are gone?

Is this life just a path to the place that we all have come from?
Does the heart know the way and if not, can it ever be found
in a smile or a tear or a prayer or a sigh or a song?

And if so, then I sing for my father, and in truth, you must know I would rather
he were here by my side, we could fly on the wings of a dream.
To a place where the spirit would find us and the joy and surrender would bind us.

We are one anyway, anyway we are more than we seem.
There are those who will lead us, protect us each step of the way.
From beginning to end, for each moment, forever, each day.
Such a gift has been given, it can never be taken away.

Though the body in passing must leave us, there is one who remains to receive us.
There are those in this life who are friends from our heavenly home.
So I listen to the voices inside me, for I know they are there just to guide me.

And my faith will proclaim it is so, we are never alone.
From the life to the light, from the dark of the night to the dawn,
he is so in my heart, he is here, he could never be gone.
Though the singer is silent, there still is the truth of the song, in the song.

Yesterday I had a dream about dying, about laying to rest and then flying,
how the moment at hand is the only thing we really own.
And I lay in my bed and I wondered, after all has been said and is done for,
why is it thus we are here and so soon we are gone?
Oh, why is it thus we are here and so soon we are gone?