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Don't Stop Believin'

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Don't Stop Believin'"
Don't Stop Believin'.jpg
Single by Journey
from the album Escape
B-side"Natural Thing"
ReleasedOctober 1981
StudioFantasy Studios, Berkeley, California
Songwriter(s)Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon
Producer(s)Kevin Elson, Mike "Clay" Stone
Journey singles chronology
"Who's Crying Now"
"Don't Stop Believin'"
"Open Arms"
Audio sample
"Don't Stop Believin'"

"Don't Stop Believin'" is a song by American rock band Journey, originally released as the second single from their seventh album, Escape (1981). It became a number 9 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 on its original release after entering the chart at position 56 on October 31, 1981. In the United Kingdom, the song was not a top 40 hit on its original release, but it reached number 6 in 2010 following the popularity of a cover version by the cast of the American comedy-drama Glee.

Mike DeGagne of AllMusic has described "Don't Stop Believin'" as a "perfect rock song"[1] and an "anthem", featuring "one of the best opening keyboard riffs in rock."[2] It is the best-selling digital track from the 20th century, with over 7 million copies sold in the United States.[3][4]

Song structure and references

While a majority of songs have a refrain that is repeated several times throughout the song, the true chorus to "Don't Stop Believin'" (as well as the first mention of its title) is not heard until the end of the song, with only 0:50 left. The song's writers designated the musically similar sections before the chorus as the "pre-chorus."[5] The song's structure is:

  1. Introduction (instrumental) (0:00–0:17)
  2. Verse 1 (0:17–0:49)
  3. Instrumental (0:49–1:05)
  4. Verse 2 (half-length) (1:05–1:20)
  5. Pre-chorus 1 (1:20–1:54)
  6. Instrumental (1:54–2:01)
  7. Verse 3 (2:01–2:33)
  8. Pre-chorus 2 (2:33–3:05)
  9. Instrumental (chorus) (3:05–3:21)
  10. Chorus until fade (3:21–4:11)

The song is played in the key of E major at a tempo of 118 beats per minute. The vocal range is E3–C#5.[6] The chord progression, played by the piano in the introduction and continued throughout most of the song, is eight chords long, following a I-V-vi-IV-I-V-iii-IV progression.

The title of the song came from something keyboardist Jonathan Cain's father frequently told him when he was a struggling musician living on Los Angeles' Sunset Boulevard ready to give up because he was not having success in the music industry. Each time he would call home in despair, his father would tell him, "Don't stop believing or you're done, dude."[7]

While the lyrics mention being "born and raised in south Detroit", there is no place in the Detroit, Michigan area called "South Detroit"; the location south of the Detroit city center is actually the Canadian city of Windsor.[8] Steve Perry has said, "I tried north Detroit, I tried east and west and it didn't sing, but south Detroit sounded so beautiful. I loved the way it sounded, only to find out later it's actually Canada."[8] Detroiters often refer to the "East Side" and "West Side" of the city, but only rarely north (sometimes called "8 Mile", after the road of the same name) or south (referred to as "Downriver" or "Mexican Town"). The lyric "streetlight people living just to find emotion" came from Perry watching people walking in the streets of Detroit at night after a show.[9]


Escape version

Revelation live version

  • Arnel Pineda – lead vocals
  • Ross Valory – bass guitar, background vocals
  • Jonathan Cain – keyboards, background vocals
  • Neal Schon – lead and rhythm guitars, background vocals
  • Deen Castronovo – drums and percussion, background vocals

In popular culture

In 2007, the song gained press coverage and a sharp growth in popularity for its use in the famous final scene of HBO's The Sopranos series finale "Made in America". Steve Perry was initially hesitant to allow the song to be used in The Sopranos but later agreed.[10] Digital downloads of the song soared following the episode's airing and the exposure motivated the band members to overcome the struggles they were having at the time and find a replacement lead singer after Perry's departure.[11][12]

The song has for years been commonly played at Detroit Red Wings home games; at Red Wings home games, especially during the last minutes of playoff victories, the recording is turned down during the line "born and raised in south Detroit" so the home fans can sing the line from the song.[13][14] It was played at the closing ceremony of the Red Wings long-time home of Joe Louis Arena in 2017. It is also used at numerous Detroit sporting events.[15]

The song got a boost when it was used as the closing number in Rock of Ages, a jukebox musical featuring hits of the '80s. The show ran on Broadway from 2009 to 2015, and in 2012 was made into a movie starring Tom Cruise.[16]

Chart performance

The song reached number eight on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart, and number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It sold over a million copies in vinyl.[17] It is the No. 1 paid digital download song originally released in the 20th century,[18] and was also the 72nd most downloaded song of 2008, and 84th most downloaded song of 2009 in the store, over 27 years after its release. On August 31, 2009 the song topped the 3 million mark in paid downloads.[19] It is the best-selling digital song from a pre-digital-era,[20] and it was also the best-selling rock song in digital history until it was overtaken by Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" in January 2014.[17] It was placed just outside the top twenty best selling digital songs of all time in September 2010.[21] It has sold over 7 million digital units in the US as of July 2017.[3]

"Don't Stop Believin'" has entered other charts across the world in recent years, following a gain in popularity. In Ireland, the song peaked at number 4, at 25 in Sweden after many chart runs, and at number 50 in the Dutch charts.

The power ballad[22] is one of the most popular rock tracks in Ireland and continues to remain in the top ten most downloaded songs.[23]

UK chart success

The song was released in the United Kingdom in December 1981[24] and peaked only at number 62. "Don't Stop Believin'", never re-released in the UK, retained a cult following and re-entered the UK Singles Chart in February 2009 at number 94 due to digital downloads. On November 1, 2009, following a performance on The X Factor, "Don't Stop Believin'" re-entered the chart at number 52, and it rose to number 19 a week later. The song stayed in the charts for three weeks, before dropping out of the top 40. On December 20 that year, "Don't Stop Believin'" re-entered the chart at number 9 after the song was performed again on The X Factor. The song remained in the top 10 for another seven weeks in 2010, hitting a peak of number 6 in the process.

In early 2010, it was announced that the song had been the 65th best-selling single of 2009, this nearly three decades after its initial release. "Don't Stop Believin'" spent a total of 21 non-consecutive weeks in the top 40 during its November 2009 – April 2010 run. "Don't Stop Believin'" was the 25th best-selling track of 2010, selling just over 435,000 copies. It re-entered the charts in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and to date has spent 95 weeks in the top 100.[25]

In September 2014, the Official Charts Company listed the song as having sold a million copies in the UK.[26]

Charts and certifications


In December 2010, The Key of Awesome had sampled the chorus of "Don't Stop Believin'", as part of their Black Eyed Peas spoof.[55] However, in October 2011, the members of Journey had the original video taken down due to the copyright infringements.[56][57]

Glee Cast version

"Don't Stop Believin'"
Glee Cast - Don't Stop Believin.png
Single by Glee cast
from the album Glee: The Music, Volume 1
ReleasedMay 19, 2009
Songwriter(s)Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon
Producer(s)Ryan Murphy, Adam Anders
Glee cast singles chronology
"Don't Stop Believin'"

"Don't Stop Believin'" was recorded by the cast of American television series, Glee. It was performed, in whole or in part, in six different episodes of the series, ranging from the first episode to the 120th (second last) episode. The song was performed to close out the very first episode, "Pilot" (May 2009).[58] This arrangement, which became the first single released from the soundtrack of the series, Glee: The Music, Volume 1, was adapted from Petra Haden's version.[59]

A portion of the song was performed again in the first season's fifth episode, "The Rhodes Not Taken" (September 2009). A second version was performed by the cast in the first season's finale episode, "Journey to Regionals" (June 2010), for the glee club's Regionals competition; this version is included in the EP soundtrack, Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals, and earned a nomination in December 2010 for the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals – the only song from Glee ever nominated for a Grammy. A third version was performed by Lea Michele as Rachel Berry in the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of the show, "Sweet Dreams" (April 2013), joined by the rest of the original six (in her imagination), making it the last new musical performance by Finn Hudson, as actor Cory Monteith died three months later; this version was released as a single April 23, 2013. A fourth version was performed, by ten of the original twelve members, seven more current members and Mr. Schuester, in the thirteenth episode of the fifth season, "New Directions" (March 2014).[60] A reprise of the six-member "Pilot" version is featured in the second last episode of the series, "2009" (March 2015).

Released as a digital download on June 2, 2009, the song performed well in the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia, where it charted within the top five of their national charts. The cast performance of "Don't Stop Believin'" was certified gold in the US in October 2009 and platinum in March 2011, achieving over 1,000,000 digital sales,[61] and platinum in Australia, with sales of over 70,000.[62] It remains the most popular recording in the show's history, having sold 1,422,000 copies in the United States alone.[63]

"Don't Stop Believin'" was put on the BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2 playlists in the UK in January 2010.[citation needed]

Critical reception

Aly Semigan of Entertainment Weekly praised the song stating "Fox's Glee put the ultimate earworm back in its rightful place." She also stated: "even if you aren't one for show choirs (which, is quite frankly, shocking), it's pretty damn hard to resist." Semigan also compared it to the original version stating "it sounds slightly different in this Freaks and Geeks meets High School Musical pilot, but it's a good kind of different."[64]

Chart performance

Glee Cast performing the song during Glee Live! In Concert!
Glee Cast performing the song during Glee Live! In Concert!

In the United States, the song debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 on the week dated June 6, 2009 with sales of 177,000 copies in its first week, behind Black Eyed Peas's "Boom Boom Pow", Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" and Jamie Foxx's "Blame It", respectively the number one, number two and number three on the chart.[65][66] The song received certification Platinum by RIAA for more 1.4 million copies of digital sold, which is also their best-selling song to date.[66]

Track listings

  • 'Digital download
  1. "Don't Stop Believin'" – 3:50
  • German CD single
  1. "Don't Stop Believin'" – 3:52
  2. "Rehab" – 3:26


Weekly charts
Chart (2009–2011) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[67] 5
Australia Hitseekers (ARIA)[68] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[69] 68
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[70] 37
France (SNEP)[71] 48
Germany (Official German Charts)[72] 50
Ireland (IRMA)[73] 4
Italy (FIMI)[74] 46
Japan Adult Contemporary Airplay (Billboard)[75] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[76] 91
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[77] 16
Portugal Digital Songs (Billboard)[78] 9
Scotland (OCC)[79] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[80] 74
UK Singles (OCC)[81] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[82] 4
US Pop 100 (Billboard)[83] 18
Year-end charts
Chart (2010) Position
European Hot 100 Singles[84] 82
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[47] 22


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[85] Platinum 70,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[86] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[87] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Joe McElderry version

In 2009, Joe McElderry performed the song on the 6th UK series of The X Factor on week 4, and again in the finals. This helped the original version get back in the UK charts in the second half of 2009.[88] The song was one of the choices to be the series' winner single, but Journey did not like the arrangement of The X Factor version.[89] "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus was eventually chosen.[90] McElderry still frequently performs the song in his live shows, occasionally changing the lyrics, "born and raised in South Detroit" to "born and raised in South Shields."

Big Brother 2010

The housemates of Big Brother 2010 recorded a version of the song, coached by Andrew Stone of Pineapple Dance Studios, in July 2010.[91] Stone also choreographed and shot a video of the performance. According to Digital Spy, the video "almost out-Glees Glee"[92] Steve and Rachel sang the lead vocals.

See also


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  2. ^ Don't Stop Believin' at AllMusic
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  5. ^ Flans, Robyn (June 1, 2007). "Classic Tracks: Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"". Mix Magazine. Archived from the original on March 3, 2011.
  6. ^ "Journey: Don't Stop Believin' Sheet Music". Weed High Nightmare Music/Lacey Boulevard Music, USA.
  7. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (December 16, 2010). "Don't Stop Believin': the power ballad that refused to die". Retrieved June 23, 2017 – via The Guardian.
  8. ^ a b "Journey song cements status as cultural touchstone". CBC News. July 20, 2009. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  9. ^ Greene, Andy (October 5, 2018). "Steve Perry Still Believes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
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  12. ^ "Journey Members Reflect on Importance of 'Sopranos' and 'Glee,' Talk PBS Doc". The Hollywood Reporter. August 6, 2013. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
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  14. ^ Rick Paulas (September 1, 2009). "A smell of wine and cheap perfume". ESPN. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
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  23. ^ The song was used by Waterford people to support the Waterford hurling team in a bid to win the All Ireland title in 2008.iTunes 2008: Top Overall Songs
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