Song of the Day #406: ‘Don’t Stop Believin” – Journey

journey-escape20 Best Songs of the 80s – #2

You didn’t think I’d make it through this whole list without a Journey song, did you?

This spot could have been filled with any number of songs by Steve Perry and the boys — ‘Who’s Crying Now,’ ‘Stone in Love,’ ‘Open Arms,’ ‘Separate Ways,’ ‘Send Her My Love,’ just pick one. I’m going with ‘Don’t Stop Believin” because it’s the iconic Journey song, and also because its brand of muscular rock optimism really encapsulates the music of the 80s.

The reason Journey is rather special to me, and ranked so high on this list, is it’s the band that introduced me to the concept of albums. I don’t know if Journey’s Escape was the first album I owned, but that’s how I remember it.

I would hold the big sleeve in my hand (yes, this was in the days of vinyl) and pore over the lyric sheet while listening to the album. I was fascinated by the idea that I owned this thing that played music but was also a little bit like a piece of art, a little bit like a book of short poems.

And, contrary to the parade of singles I heard so transiently over the radio, this was a collection of songs unified around a theme, presented as a cohesive unit. I think it’s safe to say Escape made me the “album guy” I am today.

Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere

A singer in a smokey room
A 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
Streetlight 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

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’

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5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #406: ‘Don’t Stop Believin” – Journey

  1. Amy says:

    Ah- a chance to recruit you to watch Glee! :)

  2. Amy says:

    Well, I’ve attempted to embed the great clip of the Glee kids singing this great Journey tune, but it doesn’t seem to want to cooperate. Maybe it went to Spam for some reason? If you can recover it, do yourself a favor and pop it up here – pure delight :)

    And, of course, this song made a huge splash as the final song over the blackout “what the —– ?” final credits of The Sopranos. I don’t know that a song has ever been used more effectively.

    I still prefer “Open Arms” ;)

  3. Dana says:

    Ah, Journey—great pick—and well deserved placement on your list. Great song, great album. And I’m surprised Amy favors Open Arms, particularly since this song was also used so effectively during the Clinton-Gore campaign.

  4. Kerrie says:

    In a word, YES! This is another great pick for your top 5. I agree that no 80s countdown would be complete without Journey, and Escape definitely meets your “three great songs equal a great album” criteria. :)

    I’m a little sad this theme is coming to a close, but I can’t wait to see what’s number 1!!

  5. pegclifton says:

    I agree that this was a great song to end the great Soprano’s!

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