Go to main content

The Impossible Dream

3.7 / 5

Words & Music: Mitch Leigh Joe Darion

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear the unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To write the unwritable wrong
To be better far than you are
To try when your arms are too weary
The reach the unreachable star

This is my quest, to follow that star
No matter how hopeless,
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Whithout question or pause
To be willing to march into hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will be peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world would be better for this
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Recordingdate: 1972/06/10, first released on: Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden (album)


Musicians who contributed to the first recording of The Impossible Dream:




*Orchestra, overdubs


Find available albums with The Impossible Dream.

MJB63 wrote on November 17, 2009
Another show stopper...Elvis pushing his voice as far as he can.He does reach the unreachable star.
Deano1 wrote on May 01, 2010
This one really depends on which version you listen to as to whether it is a two, three or a four star track. When Elvis first started doing it in January of '71 in Vegas, it was very good, but not perfect (3 maybe 3 1/2 stars). His versions (at least the ones I have heard) from the Summer season of Vegas in '71 and the January '72 Vegas shows are not as good. Elvis had throat problems in the Summer of '71 and was told not to sing overly demanding songs, but he tried anyway and the result on a song like this one was mediocre at best ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" from this season is the same). The '72 Vegas version that is found on the FTD "Standing Room Only" CD and vinyl LP again shows Elvis straining to hit the notes and struggling with the song (2 stars). But, the Madison Square Garden version from June of '72 shows Elvis in perfect vocal form and he does an sensational job. Still not one of my favorite songs and even with Elvis' fantastic vocals, I can only give the track four stars.
old shep wrote on May 01, 2010
I could never stand the song, no matter who performs it.
shoesuedeblues wrote on May 01, 2010
The song should have been left to the likes of Shirley Bassey and Humperdinc, crass rubbish from the King of Rock 'n' roll.
bluesboy wrote on May 01, 2010
The king of Rock'n'Roll drowned in Las Vegas kitsch.
JerryNodak wrote on May 01, 2010
I love this song. It's my fave track on the original "Live At MSG" album. 4 stars.
derekd wrote on May 01, 2010
Not a pop song, ok as a show filler,but not one that you could put into a medley of songs by Elvis. Give me Minds, Burnin, Way Down or even Moody. As someone once said, "now thats a pop song".
dgirl wrote on May 01, 2010
I saw Elvis at MSG. When he did this we all looked at each other and said why is he doing stuff like this when there is Don't, His Latest Flame, RTS, and others. The over the top cape & jumpsuits were one thing, but songs like this belonged a few blocks away on Broadway. This is not even pop, its a show tune. Not a favorite at all. These songs took away his street cred for many rock fans and got him played less on radio stations that mattered.
NONE000000 wrote on May 02, 2010
This is one of the great songs of all time. A lot of folks are complaining that it doesn't suit Elvis, but one thing I love about Elvis is that he had no barriers and saw no barriers. Music and Art is timeless and he'd sing songs from across the board. When Steve Binder asked him if he'd have recorded "MacArthur's Park" in 1968, he was testing Elvis' open-mindedness. Elvis passed. I'd hate to see what comments would be here if he actually had recorded "MacArthur's Park". (By the way, Glen Campbell also did a fantastic version of Impossible Dream, as did Louis Prima--though it was not their "usual" type of song either.)
Steve V wrote on May 02, 2010
Not my cup of tea. I saw Elvis at MSG also and this is not what I (and my friends) wanted to hear at an Elvis concert. Wheter it suited him or not, it should have stayed in Vegas with with blue haired ladies crowd who adored everything he did. He didnt even do a good job on this song. His voice actually cracks at the end if you listen closely. Bad song choice for his only New York concert.
Monster wrote on June 26, 2011
Never used to like it but love it now. I can understand people thinking it's weird for Elvis to perform an supposedly uncool song like this but Elvis was an interpreter of songs and he didn't care where the song came from or how cool it was or wasn't. His tastes saw beyond how cool a song was or wasn't but it's not always easy for we fans to accept. So many people crticised Elvis for recording It's Now Or Never as it wasn't the sort of thing he should be doing. Yet he loved the song, and it became his biggest hit. Impossible dream is peformed with such power and gusto and not at all in the plodding boadway style that it had become known for. 5 out of 5.
Jim Hoff wrote on June 26, 2011
Could be the story of Elvis' life - and maybe that's why it appealed to him????
Andy_2 wrote on June 26, 2011
Middle of the road trash, why oh why did he ever go near songs like this. Never play it.
AlStrada wrote on June 26, 2011
great song & thnx
Great Dane wrote on June 26, 2011
I love the version of my vinyl lp "he walks beside me" 4 stars.
Gorse wrote on December 31, 2012
I like Elvis the dramatic balladeer and so really like and accept this song and performance. There is I agree, an element of strain in the MSG rendition so mark it down slightly to 4 stars.
sugartummy wrote on May 18, 2013
I remember John Cleese doing this song at The Muppets Show and hating it (that was the joke). A terrible song, but what a voice.
ElvisSacramento wrote on December 11, 2013
This is such a marvelous and unique song and Elvis always did a fantastic job when singing this classic broadway song. It's always been my favorite track from the "Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden" album. Songs like this added more variety to Elvis' song catalog and that's great to know. Elvis made the right decision by recording this song.
Jim Davidson wrote on December 01, 2015
Elvis seemed to love to sing songs with crescendos such as, The Impossible Dream and You Grace Me a Mountain. And, he infused drama to How Great Thou Art and Bridge Over Troubled Water. In terms of rockers, he put more energy into Polk Salad Annie than into old hits. Part of his 70s set-list seems to be a search for the identify of the 70s Elvis.
Deano1 wrote on December 01, 2015
Elvis lost "street-cred" by doing a song such as TID, this song "got him played less on radio stations that mattered", along with comments suggesting that Elvis doing songs such as this one made him less cool are absurd at best. His next single after the MSG LP ("Burning Love") hit #2 on the Billboard chart and #1 on the cashbox chart, so that comment has no merit. If doing songs like this lost him "street-cred" or made him less cool then add these names to uncool performers...Jennifer Hudson, Luther Vandross, Glen Campbell, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Johnny Mathis, Diana Ross and the Supremes/Temptations and Roy Hamilton. That list (along with Elvis) defines cool among many genres of music.
Cruiser621 wrote on February 13, 2018
I actually like this, however I agree with others he could have lived in the past and done past recordings that were significant in his career. Yes, he's overblown with those ridiculous capes and glitter. He was a shadow of himself.
ntass1 wrote on February 13, 2018
Fantastic version of TID.ELVIS loved the song and it showed.WOW
bajo wrote on December 11, 2020
Brave move, someone once said! He really liked to sing songs like this, instead of his old hits. Still, he did it great. I first heard it on the Garden album way back.
marty wrote on December 11, 2020
Not one of my favorites. It's an enjoyable rendition of the song but not a memorable one. I don't particularly like any of the versions by others I have come across. Of the new songs he recorded live in Las Vegas in February 1972 (American Trilogy, You Gave Me A Mountain etc.) it is the weakest in my opinion. 3 1/2 stars
Back to List