Journey - "Don't Stop Believin'"

MTV isn’t the only ’80s rock relic turning 30. Released 7/31/81 (a day before the network’s launch) on Journey’s seventh studio album Escape, “Don’t Stop Believin’” would inexplicably go on to be one of the biggest songs of the digital era. A life-affirming arena anthem with an indelible keyboard hook, the top ten hit only became a pop culture behemoth and indie-rock touchstone in the past five years.

In the summer of ’05 it was celebrated ironically in Laguna Beach and Family Guy, then two years later famously soundtracked the Sopranos finale. In the indie sphere, it was covered by of Montreal, Petra Haden, and Marnie Stern, among others, before Pitchfork named it one of the 500 greatest songs since ’77. “Believin’”’s been even more inescapable as of late thanks to Glee, Tron: Legacy, Rock Of Ages, and every baseball game. And through all that it’s become the best-selling digital song released in the 20th century, fitting for a band that found its current lead singer via YouTube. I’ll be happy to never have to hear it again, but since that’s not happening let’s revisit Marnie Stern’s cover, along with the original:

Comments (25)
  1. For all that, my favorite “Don’t Stop” memory may just be Steve Perry singing it at the Giants game last year.

  2. and people still insist on playing this song?

    • I think people ironically ‘like’ it. I can’t even do that, myself.

      • you can’t “ironically like” something. you may like something because it, on its own, is ironic…but ironically liking something just means you like it but are too insecure to admit it.

        by the way- i’m not mad at you, i’m mad at all the hiding behind irony bullshit that goes on these days. im also mad at my dog for telling me to kill my neighbors…mostly because he changed his mind after i put them through a wood chipper.

        Best regards,
        Daisy Fuentes

        • You can ironically like something. To give a very extreme example, no one seriously thinks The Room is an awesome dramatic film, but plenty of people love to watch it so they can laugh at how outrageously bad it is. Every actor involved with the film (save the director) has confirmed that the film was always intended to be a serious work of art, so the people who like the film are doing so ironically. Some art is unintentionally cheesy, and when people recognize the cheesiness of that thing but like it because of or in spite of that, they are appreciating it in a somewhat detached way. People that talk about hiding behind irony are people who never had good taste in the first place and so are incapable anything ironically. Liking something ironically is not always snobbery; experience leads to sophistication, which, if one is intelligent, naturally leads to a set of standards that inform one’s perceptions.

          • should read “incapable of liking anything ironically”

          • “People that talk about hiding behind irony are people who never had good taste in the first place and so are incapable anything ironically. Liking something ironically is not always snobbery; experience leads to sophistication, which, if one is intelligent, naturally leads to a set of standards that inform one’s perceptions.”

            I like you ironically. As in, you’re embarrassing yourself because you seem to actually be serious in your statement despite it being unfounded drivel…and that entertains me, even though it wasn’t your intention to seem like a twat. You are The Room of this Stereogum post.

          • People watch The Room because they like to watch The Room. Whether they laugh AT it or WITH it is immaterial, it makes them happy to watch The Room.

            Their rationale afterward is just that, a rationale.

  3. what happened to Steve Perry? I saw Journey on the Today Show last week with an Asian lead singer who remarkably sounded like Mr. Perry but it just was not the same. With all the reunions of bands of the past on tour these days why is he absent from the party? It would so nice to see him again, such a talent. :)

    • I read somewhere that he stopped believin’. Seriously though. How many times do you think you could take being forced to sing that song before you started to question yourself.

    • Steve Perry did a reunion album with journey in the ’90s but was unable to do a tour sto support it. He broke his hip and subsequently discovered that he was suffering from a degenerative bone disease. He didn’t have any plans to do anything musical again, but he recently wrote a ton of songs and mentioned that at some point he would release another solo album.

  4. I’m not sure how true it is, but it’s my understanding that he blew his voice out.

    • That’s not true; several industry people who know him have contradicted this rumor in recent years (including American Idol judge Randy Jackson).

  5. Petra Haden does a pretty incredible a capella cover of “Don’t Stop Believing”:

  6. NO one!!!….NO….one sings Don’ Stop Believin like STEVE PERRY!!!! Journey got an award last Friday on the NBC Today Show for 30 years of DSB. WHY was STEVE NOT mentioned!!!!! STEVE PERRY & STEVE SMITH were the ORIGINAL members when this song was written and performed and the two Johnny come latelys gets the credit! This just chapps my ass!!!!!

  7. Steve Perry deserves as much credit as any of the others do. It was his voice that was on that record. No one else could or can sing it like SP. He gave it all he had for so many years and I think it is terrible that he was not even mentioned when Journey received that award!! He has NOT lost his voice, he just did background vocals on Cassidy’s new album due out this fall!! He needs to release that new CD and shut everyone’s mouth!!

  8. Yes I certainly do!!!!!! :)

  9. Henderson, you know, if you disagree with me, you could actually explain your view instead of doing the typical Stereogum thing and responding with an irrational emotional reply. Okay, you are right without any explanation! Everyone who likes Dogs Playing Poker and the Mona Lisa likes both in exactly the same way because no one’s response is complicated by anything so pretentious as an actual thought process. Anyone who admits to anything other than a purely visceral negative/positive response to art is a jerk.

  10. FUCK THIS SONG!!!!!!!!!

  11. Love it or hate it, this song survives. I’m curious as to if people will still remember ‘Chillwave’ in 30 years. Im saying this as I’m listening to Washed out, so don’t attack me :P

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