Puneet Varma

The River of Dreams

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Recorded  1992, in New York City
Genre  Pop rock, gospel
B-side  "The Great Wall of China"
Released  July 19th, 1993 (UK) September 1st, 1993 (US)
Format  7-inch, CD, cassette single
Length  4:05 (album version) 5:21 (original version)

"The River of Dreams" is a song by Billy Joel. It is the title track and first single from his 1993 album River of Dreams. The song was a hit, peaking at #3 on the United States and UK charts, making it Joel's highest charting of the 1990s (River of Dreams was the only album he released during the 1990s). It also hit the top spot in Australia and on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The song was produced by Joe Nicolo and Danny Kortchmar.


At least four versions of the song have been recorded and released. Two versions (released years later) include a bridge section containing a piano interlude paralleling Joel's melody from his song "Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)," which is from the same album. These versions can be found on the boxed sets My Lives and Complete Hits Collection: 1973-1999 - but even these versions differ from each other, both in length and in arrangement: one, for instance, has more percussion. A fourth mix appears as a bonus cut on the UK CD single of "River of Dreams" — the "percapella mix" done by Nicolo.

"The River of Dreams" was nominated for the 1993 Grammy Record of the Year award, but it lost out to "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston.

In 1993, Gary Zimmerman, a songwriter from Long Island, New York, attempted to sue Joel for ten million dollars, claiming more than half of "River Of Dreams" was based on his 1986 song "Nowhere Land." Joel claimed he had no knowledge of Zimmerman or his music, and Zimmerman dropped the lawsuit in 1994.


At 3 minutes 45 seconds into the song, you can hear Joel singing The Cadillacs' version of "Gloria" as the song fades out.

Music video

The official music video for the song was directed by Andy Morahan. The ferry featured is the Rocky Hill – Glastonbury Ferry in Connecticut.

In the video, the filming was shot on the Providence & Worcester railroad bridge spanning the Connecticut River in the city of Middletown, Connecticut. Other locations that were filmed in the music video are near Portland, East Haddam, and Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The scenes inside the tobacco barn with Joel on the piano were filmed inside a still used tobacco barn in South Glastonbury, Connecticut. Joel and three backup singers appear throughout the video standing on the western span of the bridge, with the open center section of the bridge behind them. Joel's then-wife Christie Brinkley can be seen painting the artwork that features on the front cover of the album River of Dreams. She is the illustrator who painted the actual album artwork, and each single released from the album featured one part of the large painting as cover art. Their 7-year-old daughter Alexa Ray Joel appears to be the young girl who is briefly shown before the scene with her mother.

Elton John's video for his 1999 song "You Gotta Love Someone", also directed by Morahan, is very similar to this video and features the same lighting, locations and camera angles.

Notable performances

Joel performed the song during the 1994 Grammy Awards telecast. In that performance, Joel left a long pause in the middle of the song to protest the decision to cut off Frank Sinatra's acceptance speech after Sinatra received that year's Grammy Legend Award. During the pause, Joel noted he was wasting "valuable advertising time."

UK CD single

All songs written by Billy Joel.

  1. "The River of Dreams" – 4:05
  2. "The River of Dreams" (Percapella mix)
  3. "The Great Wall of China" – 5:45

Japanese 3" CD single

All songs written by Billy Joel.

  1. "The River of Dreams" – 4:07
  2. "No Man's Land" – 4:49


The River of Dreams Wikipedia

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