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Lyric Music

Don’t Stop Believing


Album Escape

Story of Song

‘Streetlight people’ was the term on Steve Perry’s mind looking down from his hotel room. In an interview with New York Magazine, Perry explained that the song originated during a series of gigs in Detroit when he found himself in his hotel room unable to sleep and staring out of the window. Perry said: “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. 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.” There has been controversy over the lyric “Born and raised in south Detroit” since this city name does not exist in Detroit. When asked about that, Perry said:”I ran the phonetics of east, west, and north, but nothing sounded as good or emotionally true to me as South Detroit, the syntax just sounded right. I fell in love with the line. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned that there is no South Detroit. But it doesn’t matter.”

Release date

Released on October 6, 1981 in the US and December 1, 1981 in the UK.


Jonathan Cain – Steve Perry – Neal Schon



Chart Rankings

US – 9

UK – 6


This classic hit debuted at number 62 in the UK, peaked at number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and ranked at number 8 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. The song re-entered the charts 27 years later becoming the72nd most downloaded song of 2008, a year later in 2009 the song topped the 3 million mark in paid downloads. In the same year it became the top-selling track in iTunes history amongst songs not released in the 21st century, it is the best-selling digital song from a pre-digital-era. ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ was used as a soundtrack in television series and films such as Monster, Family Guy, The Sopranos, My Journey, South Park, The Wedding Singer, Shrek the Halls, Bedtime Stories, Yes Dear, King of the Hill, The Comebacks, View from the Top, Cold Case, CSI, My Name is Earl, Just Shoot Me, Laguna Beach. In the year 2005 in the US, the song became national anthem for the Chicago White Sox baseball team. It is the 15 Most Downloaded Song in Rock History, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it 6 times platinum for digital sales over 6.4 million digital units.

Artist’s age on release date

The band Journey was active for 8 years when they released the song. Steve Perry and Ross Valory were 32, Neal Schon and Steve Smith were 27 and Jonathan Cain was 31 years of age.

Cover Versions

Northern Kings – Petra Haden – Alvin and the Chipmunks – Steel Panther – Joe McElderry – Big Brother (2010) – The X Factor Indonesia – Jumprockers – DJ Higheffect featuring Silvia Dias – Starship. (All Time Low) band covered this song. Lady Gaga, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Blondie and Shirley Bassey performed this at the finale of a Rainforest Fund benefit at Carnegie Hall in May 2010.  In 2009 it was remade by the cast of the Fox TV musical comedy Glee.


Added by Slate

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