Song: Don't Stop Believin' by Journey

 Place: South Detroit, Michigan

The Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan
Lyrics passage Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit.
He took the midnight train goin' anywhere.
phoneSend "Don't Stop Believin'" Ringtone to your Cellphone
The Renaissance Center in Detroit, MichiganThe Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan
Some songs are just so iconic, they touch everybody at the same time. Journey's good at that. Don't Stop Believin' is a song anybody can identify with. If you've found your love, your lover and you know the truth of this song. If you haven't yet, it gives you hope for tomorrow. It is the very definition of a power ballad.

Over 27 years after it was released, it's iTunes' most-downloaded 20th-century song. VH1's Greatest Songs of the '80s ranked it #11. It charted in the US at #9 and the UK at #62, Billboard Hot 100 chart at #9, and Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart at #8.

This song is so popular, it's practically a cottage industry. Films and TV shows which count "Don't Stop Believin'" as part of the soundtrack include: The Wedding Singer, Family Guy, Monster, South Park, Shrek the Halls, Bedtime Stories, Yes, Dear, King of the Hill, The Comebacks, View from the Top, Cold Case, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, My Name Is Earl, Just Shoot Me, Laguna Beach, American Idol, Scrubs, The Sopranos, and Glee.

It was that Sopranos appearance that sparked renewed interest in the song, using it as the ending note for their series' finale. Being a TV show about gangsters, song composer Steve Perry was understandably apprehensive about how the song would be used in the show. The writers of Sopranos had to reassure him how the ending would happen, and then they had to swear him to secrecy about it. Probably on fear of Tony pistol-whipping him.

Detroit sports teams love this song, of course. Let's backtrack for a moment: Detroit is in Michigan, a state that has been hit with hard times due to the loss of American industry. Once the mecca of the auto industry and one of the most successful states in the Rustbelt, its economic decline has been documented in such works as Michael Moore's Roger & Me, focusing on Flint, Michigan. So, it stands to reason that Detroit could use a hopeful ballad like this. In fact, sports teams the world over seem to love it; it has been played at the 2008 National Hurling Championship in Ireland, the pregame show for Super Bowl XLIII, the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park, and many others.

Where else can you play it? At weddings. On the road. At work with half an hour left to go. It's the mashed potatoes of rock ballads - it goes with everything! It's a dessert-topping and a floor wax!

Ironically, "South Detroit" really doesn't make much sense. Detroit distinguishes between East Side and West Side only. "South" might be more of a general designation, or down-river. Note on a map that if you go too far south from Detroit, you end up in Canada. They couldn't mean that, could they?
phoneSend "Don't Stop Believin'" Ringtone to your Cellphone


Kariann from Detroit, MII'll never tire of this song as it is associated with so many good memories. Steve Perry's voice is amazing. Love this song...
Beverly from Vancouver, BCHaving a family in the early 80's meant Sesame Street,not radio, and I actually missed Journey. Only this year did I discover this incredible song, which has carried me through some rough times. Thanks Journey, and Steve.
Gerhart from Albany, NYGood to see the map on this one, which explains a lot. Steve Perry was obviously more concerned about how his lyrics would scan than staying true to his geography.
Leave a Comment
NameWhere are you from?
Your Comment
security code

 Video: Don't Stop Believin'

 Place: South Detroit, Michigan


Song : Don't Stop Believin'

Journey's most enduring song, this track has a unique structure, which helps it stick in your mind. Where most songs have a chorus that's repeated several times, "Don't Stop Believin'" brings in its chorus (and title) only at the end - about 3:20 into the song. The structure goes: instrumental, first verse, instrumental, second verse, first pre-chorus, instrumental, third verse, second pre-chorus, instrumental, and then finally the chorus until fade-out.

It was not their biggest hit (that would be "Open Arms"), but it is by far Journey's most famous song, thanks to a resurgence in the '00s.

Album : Escape
Released : 1981
US chart position : 9
UK chart position : 6

More facts for Don't Stop Believin'
More songs from Journey