Journey’s Popular Tune Becomes ‘Biggest Song of All Time’

American rock group Journey, New York, June 1979. Left to right: guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Ross Valory, keyboard player Gregg Rolie, singer Steve Perry, and drummer Steve Smith
Michael Putland/Getty Images

“Just a small town girl, Livin’ in a lonely world…” If you’ve left the house in the last several decades, chances are you know all of the lyrics to this song even if you’re not a Journey fan. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” has been featured at sporting events, on the radio, in movies and television shows, and plays just about anywhere you go. This catchy tune has now been crowned the “Biggest Song of All Time” by Forbes.

The anthem was first released in October 1981 as a part of Journey’s seventh studio album. It quickly became a hit, due to its epic opening music and lyrics anyone could sing along to. As someone from Michigan, the part “Born and raised in South Detroit” is always sung the loudest here when played at bars and sporting events. The song even became a celebration for patients at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit recovering from COVID-19 in 2020.

Photo of Neal SCHON and Ross VALORY and JOURNEY and Steve SMITH and Gregg ROLIE and Steve PERRY; L-R (back): Steve Smith, Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, (front): Neal Schon, Steve Perry - posed, group shot

GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images

The Recording Industry Association of America added that the song is now an 18-times-platinum-certified single and has likely been heard at least once by just about everyone in the world. How’s that for a hit? Journey singer Steve Perry always believed in the song but admitted that it didn’t get great radio play when it first came out. He said, “When we were doing the song in 1981, I knew something was happening, but honestly, when I saw it in the film ‘Monster’ with Patty Jenkins, I started think, ‘Oh my goodness there’s really something.’ The lyric is a strong lyric about not giving up, but it’s also about being young, it’s also about hanging out, not giving up and looking for that emotion hiding somewhere in the dark that we’re all looking for. It’s about having hope and not quitting when things get tough, because I’m telling you things get tough for everybody.”

Steve Perry of Journey performing at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois, May 21, 1982

Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Current Journey singer Arnel Pineda said that the song’s message has always been his motto. Pineda shared, “Even before I discovered ‘Don’t Stop Believin”, it has been my motto — you know, to never stop believing in myself. The life that I’ve gone through, all those hardships, I never stopped believing that someday there is something magical that will happen in my life.”

(L-R) American rock guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist, Neal Schon, English drummer, Aynsley Dunbar, American singer and keyboardist, Gregg Rolie, American singer and songwriter, Steve Perry and American musician, Ross Valory, of the American rock band Journey, pose for a group portrait circa August, 1978 in San Francisco, California

Randy Bachman/Getty Images

If you want to hear the tune live, Journey is teaming up with Def Leppard for an incredible tour in 2024. For certain shows, they will be joined by The Steve Miller Band, Heart, or Cheap Trick. Get tickets on their website. For now, remisince and rock out to “Don’t Stop Believin'” below:

’80s Where Are They Now
Want More?

’80s Where Are They Now

March 2023

Who can forget all the great TV shows, movies and music of the ‘80s? See what your favs are up to now!

Buy This Issue