One of the most recognizable songs in America today is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” It has seeped into pop culture in myriad ways, particularly in recent years after it was featured in the finale of “The Sopranos” and the first episode of “Glee.” A staple at karaoke nights, it has a driving rock sensibility and a sense of yearning that makes it relatable for anyone with a dream.
Recently, Journey keyboard player Jonathan Cain shared how the song came to be. It had its roots in the 1970s, when he moved from Chicago to Los Angeles to try to make it as a musician. Times were hard for him, and at one point, after his dog was hit by a car, he had to call his dad to ask for money to help with the vet bills. He felt discouraged and frustrated, and he asked his dad if he should give up and return home. His dad encouraged him to stay the course, advising him, “Don’t stop believin’.”
Cain jotted that advice in a notebook where he kept song ideas. Some time later, after he had joined Journey, lead singer Steve Perry was looking for ideas for another song to include on the next album. Cain flipped through his notebook and came across this phrase, and it jumped out at him. He wrote a chorus and brought it in, and the other members helped to flesh it out into a full-fledged song. As soon as they heard the finished cut, they knew they had something remarkable on their hands, and they decided to make it the first track on the album. Even so, none of them could have predicted just how popular the song would become. After all these years, “Don’t Stop Believin'” continues to inspire people of all ages.