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The Story Behind The Song: Pull Me Under by Dream Theater

Had it not been for an A&R man and one DJ, Dream Theater’s hopes could have been dashed years ago.

You can blame William Shakespeare for Dream Theater’s success. He may have died four centuries ago, but the Bard was the inspiration for the song that not only saved the budding prog-metal band’s career, but also gave them an unexpected hit during the grunge era: Pull Me Under.

“We got airplay with that song, and that was remarkable,” says guitarist John Petrucci. “At the time, grunge was starting to take over. So unless you were Nirvana, Pearl Jam or the like, radio stations weren’t interested. But Pull Me Under was the exception.”

As the 1990s dawned, Dream Theater were on the skids. The Boston band’s highly rated debut album, 1989’s When Dream And Day Unite, had seen them held up by the press as the missing link between Rush and Metallica. But the acclaim wasn’t matched by record sales, and the band were dropped by their label, Mechanic/MCA. To make life even more difficult, they had fired singer Charlie Dominici due to what they saw as limitations with his voice. With no label and no singer, and out-of-step with the changing musical times, Dream Theater considered splitting up.

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