The Impossible Dream (The Quest)

"The Impossible Dream (The Quest)" is a popular song composed by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics written by Joe Darion. The song is the most popular song from the 1965 Broadway musical Man of La Mancha and is also featured in the 1972 film of the same name starring Peter O'Toole.

The complete song is first sung by Don Quixote as he stands vigil over his armor, in response to Aldonza (Dulcinea)'s question about what he means by "following the quest". It is reprised partially three more times – the last by prisoners in a dungeon as Miguel de Cervantes and his manservant mount the drawbridge-like prison staircase to face trial by the Spanish Inquisition.

It was awarded the Contemporary Classics Award from the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.[1]

Notable renditions

"The Impossible Dream (The Quest)"
Single by Jack Jones
from the album The Impossible Dream
B-side"Strangers in the Night"
ReleasedApril 1966
StudioColumbia 30th Street Studio, New York City
Songwriter(s)Joe Darion, Mitch Leigh
Producer(s)Pete King
Jack Jones singles chronology
"The Weekend"
"The Impossible Dream (The Quest)"
"A Day in the Life of a Fool"

In politics

During Robert F. Kennedy's long shot campaign for the presidency in 1968, Senator George McGovern introduced him before a South Dakota stump speech by quoting from "The Impossible Dream". Afterwards Kennedy questioned McGovern whether he really thought it was impossible. McGovern replied, "No, I don't think it's impossible. I just... wanted the audience to understand it's worth making the effort, whether you win or lose." Kennedy replied, "Well, that's what I think."[10] It was actually Robert Kennedy's favorite song. One of Kennedy's close friends, Andy Williams, was one of many vocal artists of the Sixties that recorded the song.[10] The song was also a favorite of younger brother Ted Kennedy and was performed by Brian Stokes Mitchell at his memorial service in 2009.[11]

The song was a favorite of Philippine hero Evelio Javier, the assassinated governor of the province of Antique in the Philippines, and the song has become a symbol of his sacrifice for democracy. Javier was shot and killed in the plaza of San Jose, Antique during the counting following the 1986 Snap Elections, an act which contributed to the peaceful overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos by Cory Aquino in the People Power Revolution. Every year, Javier is remembered on Evelio Javier Day and the song is featured. The song's lyrics are written in brass on a monument in the plaza where he was shot.

Portions of the lyrics to "The Impossible Dream" are quoted on the packaging for Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.[12]

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2012-03-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2011-10-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 131.
  4. "Jim Nabors Sings Love Me with All Your Heart".
  5. "Jim Nabors Sings Stirring Version of 'The Impossible Dream On Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  6. Watts, Randy; Callahan, Mike; Edwards, David; Eyries, Patrice. "Columbia Album Discography, Part 21 (CL 2500-2599/CS 9300-9399) 1966–1967". Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  7. "Various Artists - Rhythm Of The Games: 1996 Olympic Games Album". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  10. Schlesinger, Arthur M. (1978; 1990). Robert Kennedy and His Times. Ballantine Books.
  11. "Ted Kennedy's Wake: Farewell to 'Captain Ahab'". Time. 2009-08-29. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  12. "bronner-US-liquid-32oz-peppermint-LSPE32US5-02.pdf" (PDF). Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Retrieved 9 January 2019.

Further reading

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