Some might say that the title of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” track has proved prophetic. 29 years after the track was released, the song has topped the 3 million mark in paid downloads – the first song released prior to 2000 to do so!
Originally released in 1981 from the band’s Escape album, the song was popular but never dominated the top 40 charts.
Proving that music, like fashion, can be cyclical the song has developed a cult following in the 21st Century around the world. It re-entered the top 10 in the UK and achieved record downloads on iTunes (proving that music cds online are not just the domain of young artists!).
What has sparked this revival?
The commercial use of a song, or its inclusion on a soundtrack can be either its kiss of death or a fast track path to fame and success. Luckily for Journey, they fall into the latter category. The continual use of “Don’t Stop Believin’” in television shows and films has propelled it into anthem status. The song has been used in The Sopranos, numerous singing contests such as X-factor and American Idol, as well as films including The Wedding Singer and Shrek.
But it is the musical teen drama TV-series Glee, which covered the song in a series finale that is responsible for the song’s skyrocketing popularity. The popularity of the show’s cover helped the original Journey version of the song hit the 3 million mark, while sales of the Glee version have reached 1 billion, and created a significantly younger fan base for the group.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Journey guitarist Neal Schon expressed both his surprise and delight at the popularity of the song. “Every day, something new happens with it and it becomes bigger,” he said.
UK’s Classic Rock magazine also voted the song’s impressive comeback as their event of the year.
How does Schon explain the song’s revival?
“I think people have just looked to something different occasionally – to songs with great melodies, that have a message and a meaning – and I guess that’s where we’ve fitted in,” he says.
It seems that the troupe of high school misfits urging audiences to “hold on to that feeling” in the Glee finale has hit just the right chord and encouraged youngsters to buy rock music – even if it has been recycled!
Despite their delight at being back on top, the band is conscious of being known for only one song. To prove they’re no one-hit-wonders these aging rockers are hitting the road with Styx and Foreigner on a UK tour in June 2011 to showcase their new music. (Although we’re sure “Don’t Stop Believin’” will make it into the playlist!).