Earl Brown

ELVIS PRESLEY                                                                   1968                                                                   RCA Victor Records

The lead single from the album Elvis. Chart: #12. Time - 3:10.
Flip Side: "Edge of Reality". Released in U.S.A. November 5, 1968.

Recorded at Western Recorders Studio, Hollywood, California, USA, June 23, 1968. Produced by and .

Elvis Presley, the King of Rock'n'Roll, whose career was bottoming out, was looking for a way to come back. The plan was an NBC TV special with live performances of his old hits. It was to end with a christmas song. Producer Steve Pinder was looking for something different to end the special. With the assasination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, right on the heals of the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King. Pinder and Elvis spent the rest of the night talking about the Kennedy assasinations and began looking for a song that conveyed peace and hope. Songwriter Earl Brown was brought in to write the song. He used Dr. Martin Luther King's famous 'I Have A Dream' speech of 1963 for inspiration for the song. NBC recently aired a 50th anniversary special with other artists performing songs from the original broadcast. After years of wandering in the wilderness....the King was back!- Larry -


   Elvis Presley - lead vocals
   Tommy Tedesco - guitar
   Mike Deasy - guitar
   Al Casey - guitar
   Charles Berghofer - bass
   Larry Knechtel - bass, keyboards
   Hal Blaine - drums
   John Cyr - percussion
   Elliot Franks - percussion
   Frank DeVito - percussion
   Don Randi - piano
   Tommy Morgan - harmonica
   The Blossoms Orchestra - backing vocals
   Billy Goldenberg - conductor

Earl Brown - Writing for the King - 2007

“They wanted to close the show with a song of peace, hope and brotherhood-a message song. ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke was the kind of song I wanted to write. And I thought that if Elvis doesn’t record it, I’ll give it to Aretha Franklin. So one night at my place in Sherman Oaks, California, I wrote the song while looking out the window at the garden, with the sun coming in and thinking how much I mean it, how much I felt. This was not a hack job. I really believed in the song so much. ‘If I Can Dream’ came quickly, both words and music. I didn’t even sit at the piano; it just came to me. I quickly scribbled it out on manuscript paper. It just unfolded. I didn’t think about form. It was a very inspired and pure song.”

Steve Binder - Elvis World Japan - 2005

"One night when we were rehearsing, the television set was on the other room and all of a sudden there was this moment of silence. And I said, "I think Bobby Kennedys just been shot." And we all rushed into the other office and that's exactly what happened. They had live at the Ambassador Hotel, Kennedy making his speech. We were in the piano room at the time, but there was just something weird that evening and I just sensed something had gone wrong. Then we spent the whole night basically talking about the Kennedy assassination, of both Bobby and John."

"And I really liked him. I thought Elvis was one of the nicest, kindest, funny guys I had ever been exposed to. He may not have been college educated but he was sure street smart and well read. And, Elvis basically had in those moments of pure honesty, had been saying things that I felt we should say on the air in the special. So I went to Earl Brown, our special material writer and choral director, and to Billy Goldenberg and I asked them to disguise. I had read an article that in World War Two all the German artists were disguising their art work so, you know, the Nazis would never know what they were saying cause it was too abstract for them. And I said, "We're gonna get it passed the Colonel if we just write a speech. But if we can put it in the lyrics of a song, he's never gonna know what we did." So I asked them go home and write a song about the philosophy of what I was hearing from Elvis personally. That, you know, we're all created equal. We're all deserve to walk hand in hand with our brothers, and all that stuff."

"And, one morning, very early in the morning, I got a phone call from Earl Brown saying "I think we did it. I think you've got your song." And so we rushed down to the studio to hear it and Billy Goldenberg played piano and Earl sang "If I Can Dream". And the lead sheet that I was handed had Earl Brown and Billy Goldenberg as the writers of it. And I said "Well let's wait till Elvis shows up and we'll play it for him." In the meantime Colonel Parker was saying over my dead body "Are we gonna play that as the last song of the show?" And I waited for Elvis and Elvis came into the dressing room. And I ushered him into the piano room and Colonel Parker was in the outer room with Tom Diskin and a few of the RCA people and so forth. And I could hear them mumbling, you know, their discomfort and not wanting us to do what we were doing.

And we played "If I Can Dream" for Elvis and Elvis listened to it. He said "Play it again." So we went through it again and Elvis said, "Which I had become accustomed to." When Elvis was really making decisions he didn't just want to make rash fast decisions. He wanted to, you know, absorb it and hear it over and over. He had Billy and Earl play this song I would say three or four times. And he looked at me and said, "Okay I'll do it." I said "You'll do it" and immediately the door burst open, and contracts were in hand to give away the publishing and so forth for RCA and Elvis publishing company. Once they realized this is going in the show whether they like it or not. "



YOU TUBE STUDIO TRACK OFFICIAL VIDEO YOU TUBE LYRIC VIDEO YOU TUBE LIVE 1968 YOU TUBE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR "I Have A Dream" SPEECH, 1963 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? There must be peace and understanding sometime Strong winds of promise that will blow away all 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 gonna come somehow Out there in the dark, there's a beckoning candle And while I can think, While I can talk While I can stand, While I can walk While I can dream, Please let my dream come true... right now Let it come true right now Oh, yeah