“The Impossible Dream” is the first time Jack Jones has made an appearance in one of my stories, which is surprising as he was a very popular singer in the 1960s and 70s.
I remember him popping up regularly as a guest artist on many of the TV variety shows my parents and grandparents liked to watch in the 1970s, so I knew his name. But when I heard a performance of “The Impossible Dream” yesterday, I didn’t immediately recall it was Jack Jones who recorded the biggest hit version of it, reaching Number 35 in the Billboard charts in 1966.
This wasn’t Jack Jones’ first time at the rodeo, though.
He’d won a Grammy for “Lollipops And Roses” in 1962, and had a big hit with the Bacharach and David song “Wives And Lovers” in 1963.
So it wasn’t a surprise that “The Impossible Dream” did well, although it’s probably fair to say it was a little outside his more normal repertoire of standards from The Great American Songbook, which sold a lot of albums and allowed him to enjoy a lucrative career in Las Vegas.
“The Impossible Dream” is a song about striving against the toughest challenges, and winning through to the other side, despite whatever the world might throw at you to drive you off-course.
Written by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion, “The Impossible Dream” comes from the Broadway musical “The Man Of La Mancha”, which was later turned into a film of the same name.
Over the years, it’s been covered by just about every singer you can think of — Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Matt Munro, Sammy Davis Jr, Tom Jones and, more recently, Josh Groban.
And I can see why…it’s a particularly stirring tune. I suspect pretty much every famous singer has struggled against impossible odds at one time or another…when getting started in show business, or after they fell out of fashion and had to rebuild their career again from ground zero, or even just to keep their popularity going long after everyone in the world has heard their name, defying the odds which make that more and more unlikely with each passing year.
When almost anybody sings “The Impossible Dream”, they’re not just voicing the words. You can tell most of them are drawing on something deep inside them to deliver the full depth…