River of Dreams Lyrics - Billy Joel

Review The Song (45)

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To the river so deep
I must be lookin' for something
Something sacred i lost
But the river is wide
And it's too hard to cross
even though I know the river is wide
I walk down every evening and stand on the shore
I try to cross to the opposite side
So I can finally find what I've been looking for
In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep
I've been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I'd never lose
Something somebody stole
I don't know why I go walking at night
But now I'm tired and I don't want to walk anymore
I hope it doesn't take the rest of my life
Until I find what it is I've been looking for
(Three beat Pause)
In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the jungle of doubt
To the river so deep
I know I'm searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind
In the middle of the night (break)

I’m not sure about a life after this
God knows I've never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
That is runnin' through the promised land (Long Five beat Pause)

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night

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Inspirational | Reviewer: Stewart Simz | 8/22/13

Wow Billy you are the man. The song River Of Dreams is so touching because it has a deep meaning after listening critically. Everyone should be prepared for no one knows the day thus he says i'm looking for something in the middle of the night,as well we all end in the ocean and start in the streams. That's life after death.

Peace | Reviewer: S.Jeet | 3/11/13

Song beautifully captures preoccupation of humans with worldly pursuits ignoring the spiritual aspects and that leads to a restive mind and dreams that haunt and remind you of the emptiness within

Reality | Reviewer: Erika | 12/4/12

It is interesting that someone mentioned the Jewish symbolism. In this
Song was not written by Billy Joel but by a Jewish jazz musician and
Antique dealer. There was a year long court battle which mr Zimmerman
Gave up on due to financial reasons. And he says it was the only good
Song he wrote and he didn't even see the money from it. I also like
Bikly Joel but knowing this makes me wonder how many other songs
He did not write

greed | Reviewer: Tom | 11/1/12

River of Dreams came from many sleepless nights after finding out his long time friend and business handler had been swindling him out of an extremely large amount of money over all those years. He was in disbelief, restless and sleepless and couldn't stop dreaming about it.

just my opinion | Reviewer: mellie | 4/15/12

for me this song is about someone who lost their faith in god or faith in general but they want it back so they just keep on searching. i can really connect with song since im an agnostic who's lost my faith as it was "stolen" from me and i want it back but i just can't believe anymore so i'll just keep on searcing for something that "can only be seen by the eyes of the blind" because "god knows i've never been a spiritual" gal. just my interpretation. love ya billy thanks for sharing.

Reading the song under a different light... | Reviewer: Claudio | 3/1/12

Well, I interpreted this song in a different way.
Even though I recognize the possible -and probably more correct- religious interpretation, I read it more under the key of the "dream side".
I often make periodic dreams not forcely about a river to cross, but about something to do that I can't reach because there is always some kind of obstacle, just like a too wide river to cross for example.
And Billy Joel describes it properly!
Great song! Its lyrics can really be read in very different ways according to everyone experience!

The Thin Veil | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/6/12

There is a thin veil of fear that separates us all from the Love that is our true source. There is a true vision that cannot be seen with the body's eyes. THANK YOU for expressing, Mr. Joel:)

Tracing the Roots of The Symbology Utilized | Reviewer: terpsichoreankat | 12/11/11

I agree that the song interpretation should begin and end of each listener. One of the reviewers noted the religious background of the artist, which has historical ties to the Christian faith.
What wasn't noted is much of the symbology and history of the Jewish faith transferred to the Christian faith via the Torah and other recorded history of the 12 tribes. The very word Christian, though Greek, refers to how the Jewish people crowned and acknologed thir King. The root word christos translates to 'annoitment by oil'.
The river of dreams: river Jordan that must crossed to the promised land and the other notations of valley of fear et.al. r referenced in Psalms. This is all consistent to Joel's heritage.
What is interesting to me is the oblique reference to the mysticism of the Jewish faith via the Kabbala. With in that tradition a portion of one's soul can be stolen: something sacred somebody stole." One's soul was said to leave the body during sleep. Joel also notes he "doesn't know about of life after this" as in Orthodox Judaism the concept did not exist.
All these factors r consistent with his religious tradition. HOW each individual interpretes the lyrics is based on that persons life experiences.

Beloved Boo | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/22/11

I first listened to this song about a year ago. At that time, the only thing that impressed me was the line "We all end in the ocean, we all start in the streams..." Nothing more.

But it takes me about a year with so much turbulence, so many ups and downs, and some devastating events to grow up. And yesterday, all of a sudden, I had a chance to listen to the song once again. I played it once, twice, third and so many times. I realized the meaning of each and every word. I love the pausing and the quietness before Joey sang "... in the middle of the night". I love the atmosphere of the song. It's a little bit dark and mysterious and seemingly holy. Like you talk to yourself in the very moment of truth, when you ask your-own-self who you really are, in this endless and limitless universe...

Yes, the only thing that keeps carrying us through this life is "river of dreams". It flows restlessly, unconditionally. So, go with the flow and let yourself dive freely into those wild and soaring dreams...

The song almost made me cry out tears. But that's the tears of enlightenment and joy.

Thank you, Joey. For such a thoughtfully beautiful song.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. --Norman Maclean | Reviewer: Len | 10/13/11

Well, there is one obvious and inarguable connection between Billy Joel and the Christian religion. Jesus Christ was born a Jew and died a Jew. Billy Joel was born to two Jewish parents and has never renounced the religion of his birth.

After that, your interpretation of the lyrics to any of his songs is your own private business and is as just valid as anyone else's. No more, no less.

I find it very touching that the words to River of Dreams have had such a deep and personal effect on so many people. This is the one song I can listen to endlessly without tiring of it.

@ Robert | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/10/11

You are only half right with your statement. Billy Joel claims that he is an atheist and expresses it often. However in the words he sings in this song and he even said it himself on the Howard Stern show of 2010 that he knew this song was "Gospel" intended. He didn't want to write it nor did he want to sing it, but he did anyways. Billy Joel has a problem remembering his dreams, this one on the other hand was clear as day, he admits to this. So yes, it has absolutely everything to do with God truthfully whether you like it or not. Not religion, but God. There is a fine line between the two.

Why the retaliation? | Reviewer: Andrew | 5/8/11

Spirituality has been and always will be linked with religion, you cannot talk about the concept of soul without referencing God, whoever or whatever you believe that entity to be. Stop raining on people's parade, the song is uplifting and causes us to reflect on life.

Spirituality not religion please | Reviewer: Robert | 4/28/11

Jerom this is definitely not what it's about. It's not about you or your god. The meaning of river of dreams has endless possibilities, that's why it's such a brilliant song. Maybe we are all dreaming and it's time to wake up to the true potential of our soul. What we resists persists, remember we are the dreamers of the dreams so dream big. Your soul belongs to you so own it!!

Its not about religion | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/28/11

Jerom this is definitely not what its about. Its not about you or your god, depressing well that's a matter of perspective. This is one of the
most uplifting songs I have ever heard and to try and define what the river of dreams means is endless, that is why it is such a brilliant song. What we resist persists, maybe life is a dream and we all should wake up. The lyrics hit a chord with my soul, dream big everyone for we are the dreamers of the dreams. The time is now

from a chritian's perspective | Reviewer: gerom | 4/6/11

The lyrics were intriguing after i did download a song i used to enjoy hearing when i was a lad. life can be a myth, man's existence is a big question mark. why are we here? what's the purpose of life? we are born, we live a finite amount of time in this universe , we die. then again someone else starts this cycle again and again.....well ok don't bother to ask yourselves why we are here? there is no answer in human being's perspective, but there is hope....yes to religion we throw all this burden and we have answers. our lives are not just a dream Billy Joel.Christ said;" I'm the beginning and the end" Christ was born on Earth, He grew up, stood in man's shoes,was murdered, then Resurected. Christ filled the emptyness we are looking for.the emptyness is innate in every human being, there is a gap between our soul which is a part of God and the Creator. we struggle to reunite with God. We are suspecious about christ, we are blown by the wind left and right but ultimatly for the truth we shall sale!
I'm not a perfect Christian but I have faith.Just surrender to God's wisdom and everything will be alright.this song makes me sad and unhappy, my life is not just a dream, it will be unreal and chaotic in the river of dreams! i'll be lonely in the streams of water, but no I got Jesus Christ He'll lead my way, all I have to do is just put the mast and smile, the river will be better, I won't ask where are you taking me Jesus? 2000 years ago You were here on earth, You said " BLESSED THE ONES WHO GOT FAITH and they never have seen....", easy people right? just don't circle round and round, Jesus came to earth, delivered peace of mind, this is all what we need, tranquility.
i'm not a priest , i'm just a Christian, God be with you all, just nock the door, all the gates will open, by the way it's free for all!!

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------ Performed by Billy Joel

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------ 11/22/2014

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