♫ Don’t Stop Believin’ ♫

It’s hard these days to keep a positive attitude.  I find myself in a dark mood more often than not of late, despite my friends’ efforts to convince me that Trump will lose in 2020 and order will be restored.  I once was considered an optimist, but these days … I’m anything but.  So, this song, which was sent to me by a dear friend as a reminder to never stop believing, just begged to be played tonight.

This song was not Journey’s biggest hit, but it is by far their most famous song, thanks to a resurgence in the ’00s.  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 line, “Strangers waiting, up and down the Boulevard” is a reference to Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, where dreams are made. Keyboard player Jonathan Cain got the idea for the song when he went there to pursue his career.

“The song began with the chorus. My father had coached me. I was in Hollywood, struggling with my career, kind of lost. I was asking him, ‘Should I come back to Chicago and just give up on this dream?’ And he said, ‘No, son. Stay the course. We have a vision. It’s gonna happen. Don’t stop believin’.'”

Cain’s dream came true when he joined a group called The Babys with John Waite. In 1980, he joined Journey in San Francisco, and this song took shape.  He told Steve Perry about his idea for placing the song in Sunset Boulevard, and Perry had him describe it.

“I described the menagerie of people who would show up on a Friday night,” Cain said. “All the dreamers that had dreams to become actors. Producers, artists, lawyers, anything… they were all there on a Friday night.”

Journey lead singer Steve Perry, keyboard player Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neal Schon are the credited songwriters on this one, but the entire band contributed. Perry explained that the song originated during a series of gigs in Detroit when he found himself in a hotel room unable to sleep, staring out of the window:

Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlight people, living just to find emotion
Hiding, somewhere in the night

“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.”

The popular resurgence of this song can be traced to its use in the 2003 movie Monster, which was based on the true story of the female serial killer Aileen Wuornos. The film was not widely seen but drew critical raves and a Best Actress Oscar for Charlize Theron, who portrayed Wuornos. In the movie, the song comes on when Wuornos and Selby Wall (played by Christina Ricci) are skating to it in a roller rink.

Don’t Stop Believin’

Just a small town girl
Livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train going anywhere
Just a city boy
Born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train going anywhere

A singer in a smoky room
The smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlights, people
Living just to find emotion
Hiding somewhere in the night!

Working hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlights, people
Living just to find emotion
Hiding somewhere in the night!

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’
Streetlights, people!

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on!
Streetlight people
Ohhh, woah!
Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’
Streetlights, people

Written by Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, Neal Schon.

7 thoughts on “♫ Don’t Stop Believin’ ♫

  1. The very wise Winnie the Pooh said : “A friend is someone who helps you up when you are down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” In the world of today and this country that is becoming increasingly difficult to recognize, we need all the friends we can find and to Don’t Stop Believin’, else we may not make it through. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhh … the Tao of Pooh! For a ‘bear of very little brain’, he sure did have some words of wisdom. You’re so right, and I am so fortunate to have some very wonderful friends, including yourself! Hugs!


  2. Steve Perry dubbed “The Voice” is well respected by fellow musicians, often voted as the best male vocalist of his generation, voted #76 of Rolling Stones’ top 100 greatest singers of all time. The man is pure sentimental emotion.
    Please play Faithfully, Open Arms or Foolish Heart sometimes. His love songs are amazing.


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