Former Journey frontman Steve Perry shed some light on the story band’s classic 1981 showstopper “Don’t Stop Believin”.” Perry, who helped put together the band’s latest compilation, Greatest Hits Vol. 2, recalled to NYmag.com that the song, which was featured on 1981’s Escape collection, was written on sleepless night while the Journey was doing a five night run in Detroit during their 1980 tour behind their Departure album. Perry recalled, “I was digging the idea of how the lights were facing down, so that you couldn’t see anything. All of a sudden I’d see people walking out of the dark, and into the light. And the term ‘streetlight people’ came to me. So Detroit was very much in my consciousness when we started writing.”
He also spoke about the fact that — as most Detroiters know — there is no “South Detroit” in the Motor City: “I ran the phonetics of east, west, and north, but nothing sounded as good or emotionally true to me as South Detroit. The syntax just sounded right. I fell in love with the line. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned that there is no South Detroit. But it doesn’t matter.”
DID YOU KNOW???
- Journey’s Escape featured five hit singles — including “Open Arms” which topped out at Number Two, “Who’s Cryin’ Now” which hit Number Four, “Don’t Stop Believin'” which hit Number Nine, “Still They Ride” peaked at Number 19, and “Stone In Love” which hit Number 13 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart.
- In 2009 the studio recording of “Don’t Stop Believin'” broke records by becoming the only song to have been downloaded two million times and becoming the most downloaded song in iTunes history.
Here’s a video of Journey, from 1981 live in Houston, performing the song.