JOURNEY's 'Don't Stop Believin'' Recognized As 'Biggest Song Of All Time'

March 18, 2024

You've heard it literally everywhere since the 1980s: on the radio of every car you've ever owned, at every major sporting event you've attended in the last 20 years (including a live performance by the band at this year's NFC Championship Game between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers),sung by Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Mary J. Blige in the film "Rock Of Ages", and covered by the cast of the TV show "Glee". You heard it and then stared at a black screen in horror for a full 10 seconds wondering whether your DVR wasn't set to record the full episode, and then had it running through your head while you argued with friends over whether Tony Soprano got whacked in the diner or not.

And now, JOURNEY's timeless rock anthem "Don't Stop Believin'" has officially been declared the "Biggest Song Of All Time" by Forbes. According to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America),the hit rock song likely heard by everyone around the world is now an 18-times-platinum-certified single.

Released in October 1981 for JOURNEY's seventh studio album "Escape" through Columbia Records, "Don't Stop Believin'" quickly became the band's signature song. Critical acclaim was instant, with Billboard praising the "fluid guitar and vocal." AllMusic declared "Don't Stop Believin'" a "perfect rock song" and an "anthem", featuring "one of the best opening keyboard riffs in rock." Neal Schon, founder and lead guitar of JOURNEY, wrote the instantly recognizable bass line, and keyboardist and rhythm guitar Jonathan Cain had kept the song title from encouragement his father gave him as a struggling musician living on Sunset Boulevard. Decades after its release, the song became the best-selling digital track from the twentieth century, with over seven million downloads.

In a 2009 interview with CBC's "Q" cultural affairs show, former JOURNEY singer Steve Perry said he always thought "Don't Stop Believin'" had potential as a single. It was always a hit with live audiences, though it didn't get great radio play at the time it was issued, 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.'"

He added: "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."

Current JOURNEY singer Arnel Pineda, who has been fronting the band for 17 years, told CBS News in 2012, "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."

In 2020, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, "Don't Stop Believin'" had become a rallying call for patients recovering from COVID-19 at two hospitals in New York and Michigan. The 1981 hit was being played at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and the New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital during celebrations for patients prevailing over the coronavirus.

JOURNEY features Schon, Cain, Arnel Pineda (lead vocals),Jason Derlatka (keyboards, vocals),Deen Castronovo (drums, vocals) and Todd Jensen (bass).

Since the group's formation in 1973, JOURNEY has earned 19 top 40 singles, 25 gold and platinum albums, and has sold over 100 million albums globally. Their "Greatest Hits" album is certified 15 times-platinum, making JOURNEY one of the few bands to ever have been diamond-certified, and "Don't Stop Believin'" has been streamed over one billion times alone.

JOURNEY was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017, and 2018's co-headlining tour with DEF LEPPARD was the band's most successful tour to date, landing them in the Top 10 year-end touring chart with more than one million tickets sold, and earning them the prestigious Billboard "Legends Of Live" touring award. March 2019 saw the release of "Escape & Frontiers Live In Japan", a live DVD/CD set from their concert at the Budokan in Tokyo featuring the band's first-ever performances of the albums "Escape" and "Frontiers" in their entirety. JOURNEY has also received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and were inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall Of Fame. Additionally, the band is the subject of the award-winning documentary "Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey" about the band's resurgence upon adding Pineda as lead singer after Schon discovered the Philippines native on YouTube.

JOURNEY will team up with DEF LEPPARD for a 2024 stadium concert tour of North America. The 23-city tour opens July 6 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and concludes September 8 at Coors Field in Denver. The opening act for most of the tour dates will be fellow Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer Steve Miller and his band. Two other Rock Hall inductees will alternate as opening acts for the seven shows Miller is not playing — CHEAP TRICK and HEART.

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