It’s the song that truly does go on and on and on …
Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” was a Billboard Top 10 hit upon its release in 1981, but it’s a song that still gets blasted out of TV shows, karaoke nights and sporting events. And it’s given the band, which plays Madison Square Garden on a double bill with Def Leppard on June 13, continued relevancy in the digital age.
“It’s a song that gives permission to dream, and to a large extent, people always want that as a possibility,” keyboardist Jonathan Cain tells The Post. “There’s always a midnight train going somewhere for everyone.”
Cain’s new memoir (Zondervan) is named after the rock classic he helped write. Here, he reveals some things you might not know about the song — from its inspiration to how, 37 years after its release, it still earns Journey some serious coin.
Cain’s father came up with the title
While Cain was searching for a break in his first major group, the Babys, during the ’70s, his father, Leonard, offered some encouragement, telling him, “Don’t stop believin.’”
“I wrote the phrase down in my notebook and it sat there for five years,” says Cain, 68. He joined Journey in 1980 and when his bandmates asked for some ideas during the writing of the 1981 album “Escape,” he pulled out that title and worked on the lyrics with singer Steve Perry (guitarist Neal Schon also has a writing credit). “After that, my dad said, ‘Well son, it’s a good thing you didn’t stop believing!’”
There’s a little of the Boss in it
By the time Cain joined Journey, he was already a big Bruce Springsteen fan. And he says that the Boss’ influence can be felt in “Don’t Stop Believin.’”
“Bruce wrote about what I wanted to write about: cars, girls, being on the street at night,” says Cain. “It was American culture. I couldn’t help put a little bit of that into the Journey mixture.”
It’s still a money-maker
When “Don’t Stop Believin’” initially became a hit, Cain treated himself to a Porsche. Then, in 2007, after it was featured in the now-famous final scene of “The Sopranos,” it became the most downloaded song of all time for a short while. Today, the song remains a windfall for the San Francisco band.
“Since Soundscan started measuring sales in 1991, it’s earned over $10 million,” says Cain. “And that’s not counting the 10 years before that. This first quarter of 2018, it earned four times as much as any other Journey song.”
He didn’t want the ‘Glee’ rendition to win a Grammy
The version sung in the pilot episode of “Glee” in 2009 earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Pop Vocals the following year — but Cain wasn’t rooting for the show.
“The ‘Glee’ producers did a great job, but it would have been strange to have the ‘Glee’ version win a Grammy, when Journey doesn’t have any,” says Cain. “So I was in the weird position of hoping Train would win, even though they were up against our song! I remember texting their singer Pat Monahan and saying, ‘I’m praying for you, man!’”
Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” ultimately nabbed the award.
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