If you’re into statistics and all that, here’s a tidbit you might find interesting: “Don’t Stop Believin’” was not Journey’s top charting hit. (“Separate Ways” has that distinction on the Rock charts, and “Open Arms” on the mainstream US chart.) However, due to its increased use in television and the movies over the years, the song has certainly grown to be one of Journey’s most recognizable tunes, in part because of its connection to an era.
Hailed by many as the consummate arena rock act of the 1980s (though they’ve actually been around since the early 1970s), Journey started as a progressive rock band and eventually found their way to mainstream success in the pop/rock genre. Originally released in 1981 as a single from the album Escape, “Don’t Stop Believin’” barely squeezed into the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart when it was released, taking its place among a growing list of modestly successful hits. As a band, however, Journey maintained a fiercely loyal following during their heyday through the decade of the 1980s until temporarily disbanding in 1989.
“Don’t Stop Believin’” managed to stay on the radar over the years through a variety of song placements in television and the movies, but saw a huge resurgence, ironically, thanks to the television show Glee!. The song was recorded and released by the cast on the soundtrack record Glee: The Music, Volume 1) in 2009, and went on to surpass the original version on the charts, climbing all the way to No. 4 on the Hot 100. That added push has caused various covers of the tune to continue to chart and re-chart, causing it to become the top-selling digital track in iTunes history with over 5 million downloads logged. It was also the top digitally downloaded rock song in US history until just last month, when it was finally surpassed by Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.”
Journey reunited in 1995 and is still intact. However, despite having numerous lead vocalists over the decades, if you’re like me, you’ll always think of Steve Perry as the voice of Journey. He left the band for good in the late 1990s, so it’s not quite the same, at least for me.
Recorded and released just before the music video era, “Don’t Stop Believin’” never had a music video made for it (another testament to its success as a song). But here’s an audio version for you to enjoy.