Friday Song: “Higher”

Lucid dreaming, a relentless gunman, and embarrassing pants

Scott Stapp, the lead singer of Creed, had a recurring nightmare in which he was pursued down a road by a man with a gun. Running away in his dream, he’d turn left below an overpass, find a pillar to hide behind, but would be shot anyway — a development in the nightmare that would wake him, filled with fear.

When Stapp learned about lucid dreaming via a book about Hindu monks — lucid dreaming is the ability to remain asleep while affecting how dreams unfold — he started to train himself in the techniques. Once he learned how, he was able to alter the nightmare so that he turned right when he got to the overpass, allowing him to escape. He wrote “Higher” about the experience, and never had the nightmare again.

With a voice and singing style reminiscent of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Stapp powers through lyrics that are often misinterpreted as either religious or about drug use. They are neither.

In 1999, Creed had a #1 hit with “Higher.” It remained on the charts for 17 weeks, and crossed over to other charts. Unfortunately, another song (“One”) from a previous album was also still getting airplay, leading to a backlash against Creed as listeners felt the band was being overplayed.

Creed broke up in 2004, with Stapp departing and the remaining members forming a successful new band, Alter Bridge. The band reunites occasionally, most recently this April, the first time in 12 years.

“Higher” was part of the Texas Rangers’ 2023 playoff run. The team listened to the song before games in the dressing room, and then started playing the song in their stadium, with fans singing along. Creed tweeted their support, and showed up at Game 3 of their ALCS to participate in the singalong.

The Rangers ended up winning the World Series.

The video was shot in a rush as the band had to leave for concerts in Japan. In 2017, Stapp told GQ he is a little embarrassed by it:

Sometimes I cringe when I see it. Like, “What was I thinking? Look at those pants.”