"The River Of Dreams" as written by and Billy Joel....
In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To a river so deep

I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide
And it's too hard to cross

And even though I know the river is wide
I walk down every evening and I stand on the shore
And try to cross to the opposite side
So I can finally find out 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

And I've been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I would 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 that I've been looking for

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the jungle of doubt
To a 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

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 runs to the promised land

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


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"The River of Dreams" as written by Billy Joel

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The River Of Dreams song meanings
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28 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentToo deep interpretations for me. He is missing something in his life,and he is restless...
    redshiftdazzleron August 16, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe story you're thinking of goes along with Great Wall of China, from the same CD, but this song i'm pretty sure is simply aboyut the River of Dreams, which is life as a whole. "we all end in the ocean, we all start in the stream, we're all carried along by the river of dreams" what he's searching for, i think is just meaning to life, but the River, being life is to wide for him to cross and really find an answer. or maybe, it soges along with the song Everybody has a Dream, meaning the River of Dreams is the whole group of the dreams and amitions of everyone in the world, and he's lost his with the rest. either way, two things are pretty much for sure. one, he wrote all the songs on this CD during his devorce, so they reflect his sadness during the time. And then there's the fact that he wanted to bring a more "spiritual" persona to the song, and not religiously, but just in a way that encompasses all life and dreams and everything. Mountains of faith, Dasert of truth, valley of fear, and jungle of doubt are definately part of this overview of the song.
    Rodan2000on October 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI honestly think that this song IS about religion. Let's just say christianity or anythin really but mountains of faith, desert of truth, valley of fear. Mountains= tall and strong, like your faith should be, deserts= plain and barren with nothing to hide, like you should be. Valley of fear= The valley of the shadow of death.
    Plus he takes about god on a line.
    Also, "something sacred i lost" can't be $$$, since money isn't sacred,
    Searchin for something takin out of my soul could refer to faith.
    Something so undefined, that it can only be seen, by the eye's of the blind..hm....spirit/faith? maybe purpose but more the previous....
    THE PROMISED LAND...duh..
    I think u guys should get where i'm comin from.
    sanman513on January 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWow haven't heard this song in like 10 years but it just popped in my head the other day and I got to listening to it. To me this song is about a man on a spiritual quest. A quest for what exactly, he may not know, but he feels it pulling on him and feels he needs to pursue it. I think the different landscapes spoken of in this song are the mans different states of mind or ways in which he deals with his quest, so to speak.
    I think the river symbolizes a void between the man and his quest, something keeping him from the where he feels he needs to be in life, such as his ego or society. The man wants to put it behind him but cant seem to take the leap of faith to the other side of the river, where of course, the grass is greener. While he does go to the bank and look across, he has little faith in himself and feels it may be too big a risk to leave everything behind when there is so much uncertainty on the other side.
    When the man realizes he is looking for something taken out of his soul I think this is definitely alluding to his inner spirituality, he knows he always has it and can never "lose" it for good. But at the moment it is lacking and he feels it has been stolen from him.

    "I know I'm searching for something
    Something so undefined
    That it can only be seen
    By the eyes of the blind"

    This part is very meaningful because it states what he is searching for, this to me, says clearly the man is looking for something inside himself. He cant put his finger on what it is, almost noone can, but it is seen with the eyes of the blind, thus, it is whithout a doubt, inside himself..

    The Spiritual Quest could be replaced by many things, happiness, love, a new outlook on life, a radical life change, all of which are searching for the same thing.. This is just how I view the song, could be wrong but wouldnt know unless we asked the the man himself.. The only part I wasnt too sure about was the chorus itself. The dreams, im not sure if the man is medetating, feeling his quest pull on him while he is dreaming, or any other possibility..
    Thanks for reading my rant..


    Thnkabtit34on January 15, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe person is searching for something within themselves that may have shined in the past and may have dulled or faded over the years -- a purity, an energy, an idea. Even though they may have failed in "crossing the river" they continue to attempt to do so. The person is not actually at a physical shore of a river so deep; he does realize there is something missing in his life and is working towards that fulfillment. I love this song so very much.
    elanorafaganon May 01, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow, the name of the site should be randompraiseofartists.net instead of songmeanings.net. doesn't anyone give any kind of insight into song meanings here. every time i look at the comments its always "YEA I LOVE THIS BAND/THIS ARTIST...THEY ARE SOOOO GOOD AND COOL... YEA THEY ROCK MY SOCKS. damn, americas going down the drain fast.

    this song is, from my understanding, about a family member who was doing some kind of money management for billy and stole from him. the something that was stole was trust. ironicly this song was a lullaby for me when i was younger.
    Boo Urnson June 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBilly Joel is without a doubt my favorite singers, and has been for as long as I can remember. This is also my favorite song from him. I find it funny how Boo Urns says how it was a lullaby for him, because it was exactly like that for me too. It would always come on at night and I'd always fall asleep to it.
    joe123321on November 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor me, this is about knowing you should be doing something with your life but not being quite able to put your finger on what it is and you'll probably never do it.

    "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 that I've been looking for"
    Dr Strangeloveon July 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh and one more thing. I dunno if it's me or not ( i may be crazy) but the jungles sounds i.e. the birds. if you listen VERY VERY closely it sounds like "find je-sus"..never know...
    sanman513on January 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow...all my life I thought the title of this song was "In The Middle Of The Night". I first heard it when I was 7. Now, 12 years later, I find out I'm wrong. Well, you learn something new every day!
    As for the song, it's great. It's like a story in itself. Definitely one of my faves by Billy Joel. And it's got a catchy rhythm!
    cphersonon March 08, 2006   Link

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