♫ Heat Wave ♫

My daughter, who is playing, along with her band, at a St. Andrew’s night event downtown this evening, texted me to say that the hotel where they are playing is so hot … and immediately this song, despite the fact that it is only 40° F (4° C) outside, popped into my head and, as so often happens, refused to vacate!  Ah well, it is the energy of the song that I love, so even if we aren’t experiencing a heat wave and I am bundled up in my sweat shirt & sweat pants, the song calls out to be played!


Written by the Motown songwriting team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, this was the first Top 10 hit for Martha & the Vandellas, whose lead singer, Martha Reeves, started as a secretary at Motown.  

The origins of the song, according to Lamont Dozier …

“It was summertime and hot and sticky in Detroit. I often sat at the piano and played a warm-up riff to get my day started. This one particular day the heat was over the top and I was watching tv and the weatherman said we had a record-breaking five-day heat wave that was not going to let up. So all this funky riff needed was for me to throw a girl into the mix and this song was born.”

Martha & the Vandellas became the first Motown group ever to receive a Grammy Award nomination when this song was nominated in 1964 for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording; it lost to Ray Charles’ hit Busted.

This song charted at #4 in the U.S., and in 1975, Linda Ronstadt put out a version that hit #5 in the U.S. and #12 in Canada.

Heat wave
Martha and the Vandellas

Whenever I’m with him
Something inside
Starts to burning
And I’m filled with desire
Could it be a devil in me
Or is this the way love’s supposed to be?

It’s like a heat wave
Burning in my heart (It’s like a heat wave)
I can’t keep from crying (It’s like a heat wave)
It’s tearing me apart

Whenever he calls my name
Soft, low, sweet, and plain
Right then, right there, I feel that burning flame
Has high blood pressure got a hold on me
Or is this the way love’s supposed to be?

It’s like a heat wave
Burning in my heart (It’s like a heat wave)
I can’t keep from crying (It’s like a heat wave)
It’s tearing me apart

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh, heat wave
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh, heat wave

Sometimes I stare in space
Tears all over my face
I can’t explain it, don’t understand it
I ain’t never felt like this before
Now that funny feeling has me amazed
Don’t know what to do, my head’s in a haze
It’s like a heat wave

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
(But it’s all right, girl)
Oh
(Go ahead, girl)
Yeah, yeah
(Well, it’s all right, girl)
Oh
(Can’t miss it, that’s love, girl)
I feel it burning
(Don’t pass up this chance)
Right here in my heart
(It sounds like a true romance)
Don’t you know it’s like a heat wave?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah (Burning, burning)
Oh (Burning, burning, burning)
Yeah, don’t you know it’s like a heat wave?
Burning right here (Burning, burning, burning)
In my heart (Burning, burning, burning)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah (Burning, burning)
Oh (Burning, burning, burning)

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie Holland
(Love is like a) Heat wave lyrics © Stone Agate Music

♫ Tiny Dancer ♫

I told you last night when I played Goodbye Yellow Brick Road that you’d probably see this one soon, but I really didn’t think it would be quite this soon!  Oh well, here we are …

The lyrics, written by Bernie Taupin, were inspired by Taupin’s first visit to the US in 1970, and were intended to capture the spirit of California, where he found the women he met highly contrasted with those who he had known in his home country of England. A common misconception is that the song’s lyrics were about Taupin’s first wife, Maxine Feibelman. Taupin has stated that this wasn’t true, and that the belief came about due to the song being dedicated to Feibelman on the original album.

Due to the song’s lengthy run time and lack of a hook, Tiny Dancer was initially a non-starter as a single in the US, reaching only #41 on the U.S. pop chart, and was not even released as a single in the UK.  Eventually, the song slowly became one of John’s most popular songs even in the territories that initially failed to embrace it.

Tiny Dancer
Elton John

Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man
Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand
And now she’s in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand

Jesus freaks out in the street
Handing tickets out for God
Turning back she just laughs
The boulevard is not that bad

Piano man he makes his stand
In the auditorium
Looking on she sings the songs
The words she knows, the tune she hums

But oh how it feels so real
Lying here with no one near
Only you and you can hear me
When I say softly, slowly

Hold me closer tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today

Hold me closer tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today

Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band
Pretty eyed, pirate smile, you’ll marry a music man
Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand
And now she’s in me, always with me, tiny dancer in my hand

But oh how it feels so real
Lying here with no one near
Only you and you can hear me
When I say softly, slowly

Hold me closer tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today

Hold me closer tiny dancer
Count the headlights on the highway
Lay me down in sheets of linen
You had a busy day today

Songwriters: Bernie Taupin / Elton John
Tiny Dancer lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Conservative Millionaire CEOs Are Becoming Their Own Stereotype of the Welfare Queen

In case you were wondering why far too many of our members of Congress do NOT represent us, the answer lies here in this well-spoken post by our friend Gronda. It all boils down to this: The rich get richer, while the poor get poorer. Democracy in action? I think not.

Gronda Morin

Disclaimer: I’m pro-business but I truly do believe in free enterprise, competition in the marketplace where companies win by innovating, creating new widgets, smart cost cutting while paying their employees a living wage and treating them and their consumers with respect.

In short, anyone like Elon Musk buying a company at an inflated price where bills aren’t paid, employees who’ve yet to be fired are treated with disrespect, and management doesn’t deliver on a quality product, shouldn’t be allowed to stay in business. It’s the height of hubris for CEOs to blame workers who don’t want to live 24/7 in the workplace for their owners’ stupidity. This is the definition of lazy management and the antithesis of businessmen taking personal responsibility for their own lack of due diligence and failures. These greedy short-sighted CEOs have become their own stereotype of the “welfare queen.”

These are the same guys who get…

View original post 1,608 more words

♫ Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ♫

Last night after we returned from sharing Thanksgiving dinner with our friends, after the girls put away the leftovers and cleaned the kitchen (that’s our standing deal — I make the mess cooking and they clean it up while I take a break!), Chris started watching a biographical film about Elton John’s early years beginning in his childhood and going up through his rehab treatment after years of drug abuse and ultimately a heart attack.  I almost never watch television, but this one caught my interest so I ended up watching most of it, despite not being able to hear the music.  It was well worth the time spent, and now long story short, I’m in the mood to play some Elton John!  I debated between this one and Tiny Dancer … this one won out for today, but I suspect you’ll see Tiny Dancer here before long.


It goes without saying that the “Yellow Brick Road” image comes from the book/movie The Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum.  Bernie Taupin, who wrote the lyrics to this and most of Elton’s other songs often seems to write about Elton, but this one appears to be about himself. The lyrics are about giving up a life of opulence for one of simplicity in a rural setting.

Speaking about the song, Taupin said:

“It’s funny, but there are songs that I recall writing as if it was yesterday. And then there are those I have absolutely no recollection of, whatsoever. In fact, I’d have to say that for the most part, if someone was to say that the entire Yellow Brick Road album was actually written by someone else, I might be inclined to believe them. I remember being there, just not physically creating.

There was a period when I was going through that whole ‘got to get back to my roots’ thing, which spawned a lot of like-minded songs in the early days, this being one of them. I don’t believe I was ever turning my back on success or saying I didn’t want it. I just don’t believe I was ever that naïve. I think I was just hoping that maybe there was a happy medium way to exist successfully in a more tranquil setting. My only naiveté, I guess, was believing I could do it so early on. I had to travel a long road and visit the school of hard knocks before I could come even close to achieving that goal. So, thank God I can say quite categorically that I am home.”

ben-jerrysIn 2008, Ben & Jerry’s created a flavor of ice cream in honor of Elton John called “Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road.” Made of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks, it was made to commemorate Elton’s first concert in Vermont (home of the ice cream makers) on July 21, 2008 at the Essex Junction fairgrounds. Elton had played every other state before his Vermont show. He had some of the ice cream before the show.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Elton John

When are you gonna come down?
When are you going to land?
I should have stayed on the farm
I should have listened to my old man

You know you can’t hold me forever
I didn’t sign up with you
I’m not a present for your friends to open
This boy’s too young to be singing, the blues

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can’t plant me in your penthouse
I’m going back to my plough

Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road

What do you think you’ll do then?
I bet that’ll shoot down your plane
It’ll take you a couple of vodka and tonics
To set you on your feet again

Maybe you’ll get a replacement
There’s plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who ain’t got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground

So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can’t plant me in your penthouse
I’m going back to my plough

Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road

Songwriters: Bernie Taupin / Elton John
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

My Thoughts On Thanksgiving This Year

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.  The origins of this day mean nothing to me, for they are based on lies, on the whitewashing of the factual history of the nation.  However, I still treasure the day for other reasons.  It is a time to stop for a minute, to remember the things that most of us have to be thankful for, starting with family & friends.  But this year feels different to me.  I am sad.  I feel guilty that I do have so much to be thankful for.  I have my family, small though it is, and wonderful friends, all of you included.  I have electricity and can keep my house reasonably warm or cool, can keep my food cold in the fridge and then cook it in the oven.  I have hot and cold running water and plenty of it.  I have a car that runs.  We have enough money to pay our bills and still have a bit left over at the end of the month.  So yes, I am thankful, but I still feel guilty when I think of all the people, both here and elsewhere, who have none of those things.

In Ukraine, winter is setting in and many residents have no electricity, no water.  Some have lost their homes to Russian bombs.  Some have lost their spouses, their children and grandchildren. Can you imagine living under those conditions?  And apart from donating a few dollars here and there, there is little to nothing that most of us can do to help.

Even here in the U.S., often referred to as a wealthy nation, more than a half-million people are living on the streets or in homeless shelters.  37.9 million people in this country are living in poverty … that’s 11.6% of the population!  6.6 million people worldwide have died of Covid since March 2020.  Imagine how many grieving friends and family members they have left behind.

Then there is the rise in all forms of bigotry … LGBTQ people being shoved back into the proverbial closet, Black people being murdered simply because of the colour of their skin, women being stripped of their rights, and religious extremism threatening to invade the very foundation of human rights.

So yes, I feel guilty.  I am no better than a homeless person, no better than a person in Ukraine, so why should I be enjoying a veritable feast with my family and good friends, while others suffer so much?  It isn’t a perfect world, but frankly … the world could be a whole lot better if governments worked together to solve problems instead of creating them, if those who can afford to shared their wealth with others less fortunate, and if everyone set aside petty differences to work for the collective good.

That said … it is not my intent to be dreary and depressing.  We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with our dear friends, the al-Dabbagh family.  They came to this country as refugees from Iraq about 10 years ago, and almost immediately we became close friends.  They are warm and loving people and we do so enjoy sharing cultures, food, and much joy with them.  They have a new baby, Naya, this year who is just 3 months old, so I’ll get to spend time spoiling her!  I don’t suggest that we all shouldn’t have a great holiday, but I just wanted to share with you some of my own thoughts, my feelings that despite our troubles, we all have so much to be thankful for.

And on that note, I wish all my friends in the U.S. a very happy holiday with friends & family (and turkey), and to the rest, I just wish you a happy day.  I will be busy cooking for our two families (9 people in total), so I won’t likely have an afternoon post nor be answering comments today, but I will try to get caught up on Friday.  Love ‘n hugs to you all!

DAMMIT!!! 🤬

Wednesday, 1:30 a.m.

1:30 this morning, I had just finished my music post and was getting ready to put it on the schedule for the usual time, 11:00 a.m.  Suddenly my phone went mad with a knock-knock here and a knock-knock there.  Being nearly deaf, my notification sound is a sharp knock, which I can hear much better than any tone.  Usually, it is silent at 1:30 in the morning, so I knew something was up.  Sure enough … three notifications from The Guardian, The Washington Post, and the New York Times informing me that a gunman had shot and killed multiple people in a Wal-Mart store in Virginia.

GODDAMMIT PEOPLE!!!!  Two days before Thanksgiving and people cannot even go buy a damned turkey or some sweet potatoes without getting killed???  We the People … our damned lives are less important to the members of Congress we pay to protect us than the profits of the damned gun industry?

As I pound the keyboard, hitting as many wrong keys as right ones, my loving cat Oliver, sensing my distress, hops onto my lap and using his paw, gently pulls my left hand away from the keyboard.  Whoever called them ‘dumb animals’ was dead wrong … they’re a hell of a lot smarter than we humans are.

Having spent a few minutes patting Oliver and chatting with him, my tears have dried and I am now somewhat calmer … at least I’m hitting the right keys now!  By the time I resume this post later today, hopefully there will be some details, but already … barely 3 hours after the massacre, Wal-Mart management is sending useless ‘thoughts and prayers’ just as most of our elected officials who cannot be bothered to take guns out of the hands of lunatics will be doing by this afternoon.  The latest from the BBC is that they think it may have been the store manager who opened fire, but … don’t worry, folks, for a Wal-Mart corporate executive said that the company is “shocked by this tragic event.”

On that note, I shall switch gears, pat Oliver a bit longer, have a piece of cheese, try for some sleep (it is now 2:45 a.m.), and return to this story later this morning.

Wednesday afternoon

Well, details remain sketchy but apparently it was the night manager who did the shooting.  He was in the break room with a number of employees planning for today’s deluge of last-minute Thanksgiving shoppers, and just as the meeting was about to break up, the manager pulled out a pistol and opened fire.  Six people were killed and either 4 or 5 were taken to nearby hospitals with injuries.  Given that there were some 20+ employees in that break room and the store was crowded with shoppers, it’s a small wonder that there weren’t more killed.  The gunman then turned the gun on himself and was dead when police arrived.  The name of the shooter (murderer) has not been released and the FBI is involved in the investigation.

Mass shootings … as commonplace as syrup on pancakes.  Someday perhaps we will have lawmakers who see it as their duty to craft restrictive gun laws with teeth, but as long as the gun industry is allowed to put lots of money into the pockets of these men and women, essentially buying their votes against ANY gun restrictions, these shootings will continue to escalate.  People claim the biggest reason for gun ownership is self-defense, but it is rare that a gun is used for self-defense.  The night manager at Wal-Mart certainly wasn’t ‘defending’ himself, nor was the murderer at Club Q last weekend, nor was the man who killed three University of Virginia football players ten days ago.  More often than not, guns are used to murder people for any or no reason, but not self-defense.

In some states today, it is as easy to buy a gun as it is to buy a pack of bananas.  When does it stop?  Does it stop when some crazed gunman kills a large number of members of Congress, or perhaps the President?  I know you’re all tired of hearing me rant about guns, and I’m tired of writing about guns, but until something is done, I WILL KEEP WRITING ABOUT IT!!!

♫ (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay ♫ (Redux)

Tonight’s song has the distinction of being the first posthumous number one hit in American music history.   Otis Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967, a month before this song was released (January 8, 1968) and three days after he recorded it. It was by far his biggest hit, though given that he was a rising star at the time of his death, it is likely he would have had at least a few more had he lived.  This is one of my favourites.

Stax guitarist Steve Cropper wrote this with Redding. Cropper produced the album when Redding died, including this track with various songs Redding had recorded the last few years.  Says Cropper …

“Otis was one of those kind of guys who had 100 ideas. Anytime he came in to record he always had 10 or 15 different intros or titles, or whatever. He had been at San Francisco playing The Fillmore, and he was staying at a boathouse (in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco), which is where he got the idea of the ship coming in. That’s about all he had: ‘I watch the ships come in and I watch them roll away again.’ I took that and finished the lyrics.  If you listen to the songs I wrote with Otis, most of the lyrics are about him. He didn’t usually write about himself, but I did. ‘Mr. Pitiful,’ ‘Sad Song Fa-Fa,’ they were about Otis’ life. ‘Dock Of The Bay’ was exactly that: ‘I left my home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay’ was all about him going out to San Francisco to perform.”

The end of this song contains perhaps the most famous whistling in music history. It wasn’t planned, but when Steve Cropper and Stax engineer Ronnie Capone heard it, they knew it had to stay. Cropper explained on his website:

“If you’re an Otis Redding fan you’d know that he’s probably the world’s greatest at ad-libbing at the end of a song. Sometimes you could go another minute or two with Otis Redding’s ad-libs – they were so spontaneous and felt so great. And this particular song I think baffled Otis a little bit because of the tempo and the mood, so when we got down to the end of it he really didn’t have anything to ad-lib with, and he just started whistling. That just sparked Ronnie Capone and myself off, and almost immediately we said, ‘Hey man, that’s great, leave that in there.’ It sure is a cool melody to go out with.”

Redding recorded this with Booker T. & the MG’s, the house band for Stax Records. They played with all the Stax artists, including Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, and Albert King, and had a hit on their own with Green Onions in 1962.

In 1993, when the three remaining members of Booker T. & the MG’s (Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Booker T. Jones), backed Neil Young on his tour, they ended each show with Dock of the Bay.

Sittin’on The Dock Of The Bay
Otis Redding

Sitting in the morning sun
I’ll be sitting when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
And I watch ’em roll away again

Sitting on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
I’m just sitting on the dock of the bay
Wasting time
I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the ‘Frisco bay
‘Cause I had nothin to live for
And look like nothing’s gonna come my way
So I’m just

Look like nothing’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same
Sittin’ here resting my bones
And this loneliness won’t leave me alone
It’s two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home
Now, I’m just

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Steve Cropper / Otis Redding
Sittin’on The Dock Of The Bay lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

And Yet Again …

I have not yet written about the horrific massacre in Colorado that left 5 people dead and 25 injured, not because I had nothing to say, but rather because I have too much to say.  Meanwhile, Dan Rather and Elliott Kirschner have said it for me, and in a much better way than I could have, for mine would have been a rant.  I will, no doubt, have more of my own words on this subject sometime soon, once I can stop 🤬.


Guns and Hatred

Once more

Dan Rather and Elliott Kirschner

22 November 2022

Guns and hatred collide once more.

Peace is broken; lives are shattered.

Again we see the pictures and learn the names of those who have been slaughtered.

“Authorities are trying to determine a motive.” But the broader narrative is already known.

Those who feed the hate, stoke the vitriol, and profit off of our divisions hide behind meaningless expressions of thoughts and prayers. For them, there is no pause for reflection, no sense that we can do better.

Anger, waves of anger, sweep over a deep trench of hopelessness.

We have mourned before, and we surely will again.

A cycle repeats. The words we uttered for the last tragedy could be reprised for this one, and likely the one to come.

In what sane world do we accept a national impotence in the face of unending bloodshed? None.

Why do we demonize people for how they express their love for others? Or for what they look like? Or for how they pray?

Why is celebrating our common humanity not enough?

What do we tell our children? How do we teach them?

Hate is learned, and it is being taught.

If we are honest with our history, we know that hatred has been a constant in our national story. But so too have attempts to rise above it, to make progress toward a more just and equitable nation, to strive for that “more perfect union.”

We celebrate acts of heroism. We find support in our collective grief. But we should never accept this murderous hostility to our diversity. Our national strength is rooted in our differences. We are all at our best when we support each other.

Far too many continue to live in fear because of who they are. This fear is not an accident or unintentional. There are powerful people in this country who base their power on the ability to frighten.

Cultivated terror is a poison that infects our society. Once unleashed, it is impossible to control. It easily explodes in violence, as it did in Colorado Springs. There will be another set of charges to mark, another court case to cover, another verdict to await. But we can already pass a verdict on a society that allows this to continue.

Completely eliminating cultivated hate and violence is not possible, but we can drastically reduce it — if only enough Americans unite to make it happen.

♫ The Letter ♫

When I played this one back in April 2020, I played only the Box Tops version, for that was the one I knew best and liked.  However, about half of those who commented said they preferred Joe Cocker’s version.  And so I decided that this time ’round I would also include Cocker’s version, though I still prefer the Box Tops.  And, as I was seeking the Joe Cocker version, I came across one by one of my faves, Al Green!  So, I guess I will play all three tonight and let you guys choose your favourite!  For the record, having listened to all three, the Box Tops still has my vote!  An interesting final note provided by Roger last time I played this …

“Singer Alex Chilton died of a heart attack in 2010:
Wikipedia quote: “Chilton had experienced at least two episodes of shortness of breath in the week prior to his fatal heart attack, though he did not seek medical attention in part because he did not have health insurance”…


The Nashville songwriter Wayne Carson Thompson wrote the song after his father gave him the line, “Give me a ticket for an aeroplane.”  Thompson gave the song to The Box Tops on the recommendation of his friend, Chips Moman, who ran ARS Studios and liked the sound of an unnamed band headed by then-16-year-old Alex Chilton, who auditioned for him in 1967.

Thompson played guitar on the recording. He didn’t like the singing, believing the lead vocal was too husky, and wasn’t fond of the production either. The addition of the jet sound “didn’t make sense” to him. When producer Dan Penn added the airplane sound to the recording, Wayne Carson Thompson clearly thought that Penn had lost his mind. He hadn’t – several weeks later it became one of the biggest records of the ’60s, and The Box Tops went on to score with a few other Thompson compositions.

The Letter launched Chilton’s career and inspired numerous cover versions. English rock and soul singer Joe Cocker’s 1970 rendition became his first top ten single in the U.S.; several other artists have recorded versions of the song which also reached the record charts.

The video is of very poor quality, for which I apologize, but the sound quality of this one was the best of the 5 or 6 I viewed, so I went with it.

The Letter
The Box Tops

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just a wrote me a letter

I don’t care how much money I gotta spend
Got to get back to my baby again
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter, my baby just-a wrote me a letter

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Wayne Carson Thompson
The Letter lyrics © The Bicycle Music Company

♫ Don’t Stop Believin’ ♫ (Redux)

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’
Journey

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

(Chorus)
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

(Chorus)
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.