Don't Stop Believin'

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"Don't Stop Believin'"
Don't Stop Believin'.jpg
Single by Journey
from the album Escape
B-side ""Natural Thing""
Released June 3, 1981 (US)
June 8, 1981 (UK)[1]
Format 7" vinyl, digital download
Recorded Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California, 1981
Genre Hard rock, Rock
Length 4:11
Label Columbia
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 a single from their seventh album Escape (1981). It became a number 9 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 on its original release. In the United Kingdom, the song was not a Top 40 hit on its original release; however, it reached sixth with a 2009 re-release after it had increased its popularity from its use on television.

Mike DeGagne of AllMusic has described "Don't Stop Believin'" as a "perfect rock song"[2] and an "anthem", featuring "one of the best opening keyboard riffs in rock."[3] It has sold more digital copies than any other song originally released in the 20th century. [4]

Song structure and references[edit]

While most popular songs have a refrain that is repeated several times throughout the song, the true chorus to "Don't Stop Believin'" (as well as 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", the area that would be considered south Detroit 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]

Personnel (Escape)[edit]

Personnel (Revelation)[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

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.[9] 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.[10][11]

The song was released as downloadable content for the music video game series Rock Band on March 31, 2009.[12]

The song is referred to in the chorus of the song "This'll Be My Year" performed by Train on their album California 37, in which Pat Monahan sings "I stopped believin', although Journey told me 'don't'".[13][14]

The song has been a rallying cry for a multitude of sports teams, first by the Chicago White Sox in their successful run to the 2005 World Series, when catcher A. J. Pierzynski and teammates heard the song being sung in a bar in Baltimore. The White Sox invited Journey lead singer Steve Perry to the team's celebration rally, where he sang the song along with several members of the team. In 2008, in a tight battle for first place with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers began to play "Don't Stop Believin'" in the middle of the 8th inning at all of their home games.[15] Subsequently, the song was played at Dodger home games throughout the 2009 season, much to the chagrin of Perry, a self-proclaimed San Francisco Giants fan.[15]

The song also became the unofficial anthem for the Giants' 2010 postseason, especially after local musician Ashkon created a parody version of the song following their winning the 2010 National League West Division.[16] The song was used during the end montage following the Fox network's coverage of the 2010 World Series, which was won by the Giants. Perry appeared in the Giants' subsequent victory parade,[17] and the song was played at the start of the Giants' victory rally.[18] Perry has appeared at several Giants home games at AT&T Park during the 2014 postseason, leading the crowd in singing "Don't Stop Believin'" during the "8th inning sing-along" when the Giants are tied or behind in the score; when the Giants are ahead the crowd sings "Lights" instead.[19]

The song has for years been commonly played at Detroit Red Wings hockey 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.[20][21] It is also used at numerous Detroit sporting events.[22]

Prior to the beginning of the 2014 season Mississippi State Head Football Coach Dan Mullen asked the DJ at Davis Wade Stadium to play "Don't Stop Believin" between the third and fourth quarters of each Bulldog home game. MSU fans immediately took to the song and began to sway and ring the cowbells that they traditionally bring to home games in sync with the beat while singing along.[23][24][25][26]

"Oh, man. I love that song," said MSU defensive end Preston Smith. "When it comes on, it gets the whole stadium going. It's a great energy, I love it. I think I was out there in the Auburn game doing a drum solo."[27]

Chart performance[edit]

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.[28] It is the #1 paid digital download song originally released in the 20th century,[29] 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 31 August 2009 the song topped the 3 million mark in paid downloads.[30] It is the best-selling digital song from a pre-digital-era,[31] and it was also the best-selling rock song in digital history until it was over taken by Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" in January 2014.[28] It was placed just outside the top twenty best selling digital songs of all time in September 2010.[32] It has sold over 6.8 million digital units in the US as of September 2016[33] and is the best selling digital track recorded in the 1980s.

"Don't Stop Believin'" has entered other charts across the world in recent years, following a gain in popularity. In Canada the song peaked at number 2, at number 4 in Ireland, at 25 in Sweden after many chart runs, and at number 50 in the Dutch charts.

The song is one of the most popular rock tracks in Ireland and continues to remain in the top ten most downloaded songs.[34]

UK chart success[edit]

The song was released in the United Kingdom in December 1981[1] 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. "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.[35]

In September 2014, the Official Charts Company listed the song as having sold a Million copies in the UK.[36]

Charts and certifications[edit]


In December 2010, The Key of Awesome had sampled the chorus of "Don't Stop Believin'", as part of their Black Eyed Peas spoof.[49] However, in October 2011, the members of Journey had the original video taken down due to the copyright infringements.[50][51]

Later versions[edit]

Northern Kings version[edit]

The Finnish symphonic metal band Northern Kings included the song on their album Reborn.

Petra Haden version[edit]

The 2007 album Guilt by Association Vol. 1 contains an a cappella version of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Petra Haden (member of That Dog and daughter of jazz bassist Charlie Haden) recorded via multiple vocal overdubs.

Alvin and the Chipmunks version[edit]

Alvin and the Chipmunks recorded a version for their 2008 album Undeniable.[52]

Steel Panther version[edit]

Glam metal band Steel Panther released a version as a non-album single in 2009.

Joe McElderry version[edit]

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.[53] 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.[54] "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus was eventually chosen.[55] 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[edit]

The housemates of Big Brother 2010 recorded a version of the song, coached by Andrew Stone of Pineapple Dance Studios, in July 2010.[56] Stone also choreographed and shot a video of the performance. According to Digital Spy, the video "almost out-Glees Glee"[57] Steve and Rachel sang the lead vocals.

X Factor Indonesia version[edit]

On May 17, 2013 singer Fatin Shidqia along with Novita Dewi performed this song during the Grand Final of X Factor Indonesia.[58]

Jumprockers version[edit]

Hungarian band Jumprockers recorded the song in the style of jumpstyle in 2013. This version kept the original vocals but a brand new guitar solo part was recorded.

DJ Higheffect feat. Silvia Dias version[edit]

In 2014 German DJ Higheffect released ten versions with Portuguese singer Silvia Dias as the leading voice.[59] MP3 Seller Musicload categorized it Dancepop.[60]

Boondox, Bukshot & ClaAs version[edit]

In the summer of 2014 American rappers Boondox, Bukshot and ClaAs recorded a hip hop version of the song, and released it in June 2014 accompanied by a music video.

Starship version[edit]

On the 2009 compilation album Rock of Ages, Starship, formed from Jefferson Starship, recorded this song. This should not be confused with the soundtrack to the film Rock of Ages.

Glee Cast version[edit]

"Don't Stop Believin'
(Glee Cast version)"
Glee Cast - Don't Stop Believin.png
Single by Glee cast
from the album Glee: The Music, Volume 1
Released May 19, 2009
Format Digital download, CD Single
Recorded 2009
Genre Pop
Length 3:50
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon
Producer(s) Ryan Murphy, Adam Anders
Glee cast singles chronology
"Don't Stop Believin'
(Glee Cast version)
"String Module Error: Match not found"

"Don't Stop Believin'" was recorded by the cast of American television series, Glee. It is the first single released from the soundtrack of the series, Glee: The Music, Volume 1 and was performed on the first episode of the initial season, "Pilot".[61] A portion of the song was performed again in the episode "The Rhodes Not Taken". A second version was performed by the cast in the first season's finale episode, "Journey to Regionals", for the glee club's Regionals competition; it is included in the EP soundtrack, Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals. A third version was performed by Lea Michele as Rachel Berry in the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of the show, "Sweet Dreams"; it was released as a single April 23, 2013. A fourth version was performed in the 2014 episode "New Directions".[62] The Glee arrangement was adapted from Petra Haden's version.[63] The "Regionals Version" earned a nomination for Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for the 2011 ceremony. A reprise of the Pilot version is featured in the 2015 episode "2009".

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,[64] and platinum in Australia, with sales of over 70,000.[65] It remains the most popular recording in the show's history, having sold 1,422,000 copies in the United States alone.[66]

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

Critical reception[edit]

Aly Semigan of Entertainment Weekly critically praised the song stating "Fox's Glee put the ultimate earworm back in its rightful place." She then continued saying "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."[67]

"Don't Stop Believin'
(Regionals version)"
Song by Glee cast
from the album Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals
Released June 8, 2010
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010
Genre Pop
Length 3:44
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, Neal Schon
Producer(s) Ryan Murphy, Adam Anders
Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals track listing
"Any Way You Want It" / "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'"
"Don't Stop Believin'
(Regionals version)
"Bohemian Rhapsody"

Track listings[edit]

  • Digital download[68]
  1. "Don't Stop Believin'" – 3:50
  • German CD single[69]
  1. "Don't Stop Believin'" – 3:52
  2. "Rehab" – 3:26

Other versions[edit]

The Almighty Glee Club did their remix version including a radio edit, club mix, dub mix and instrumental. Pop-Punk band All Time Low performed a version of this during several live concerts, and was featured once in a special of their straight-to-DVD concert video.

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, the song debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 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.[70][71] 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.[71]


Chart (2009–2011) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[72] 5
Australia Hitseekers (ARIA)[73] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[74] 68
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[75] 37
France (SNEP)[76] 48
Germany (Official German Charts)[77] 50
Ireland (IRMA)[78] 4
Italy (FIMI)[79] 46
Japan Adult Contemporary Airplay (Billboard)[80] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[81] 91
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[82] 16
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[83] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[84] 74
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[85] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[86] 4
US Pop 100 (Billboard)[87] 18

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Position
European Hot 100 Singles [88] 82
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[42] 22

Live performances[edit]

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

"Don't Stop Believin'" was part of the setlist of Glee Cast's worldwide 2010/11 concert tour, Glee Live! In Concert! tour.

On April 7, 2010, Glee Cast performed the song on the The Oprah Winfrey Show.

On April 13, 2010, Glee Cast performed the song on the 2010 White House Easter Egg Roll, along with "National Anthem", "True Colors", "Somebody to Love", "Over the Rainbow", "Home" and "Sweet Caroline".

On December 5, 2010, Glee Cast performed the song on the UK version of the The X Factor.


From the album Glee: The Music, Volume 1:

From the EP Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals:

From the Tour Glee Live! In Concert! & CD/DVD Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (Motion Picture Soundtrack)

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]