You might hear it in a bar: It’s karaoke night, and everyone is belting that classic chorus to their hearts’ fullest. You’ve probably heard it on TV: It appeared on Glee’s very first episode, on Scrubs and on the series finale of The Sopranos. You might even listen to it on the field: The White Sox, the Dodgers, and San Francisco’s Giants have all used it as an anthem, a rallying cry to buck up and win the game. Or you might just choose to listen to it, in personal moments of hopelessness or nostalgia. No matter the context, “Don’t Stop Believin’” keeps on giving. And nearly four decades after its release, our desperate times may call for this song of hope more than ever.
On June 3, 1981, it seems that the circumstances were not all too different. When Journey released the song 37 years ago, it became an instant hit. Its anthemic riffs and arena vocals settled into the hearts of listeners immediately, allowing the single to chart within the top 10 upon its original release. Shortly thereafter, Journey began touring Escape, released worldwide today in 1981. Escape saw Journey rising to the top of their game, breaking them into a large pop audience with the aforementioned “Don’t Stop Believin’,” along with other hits like “Open Arms,” and “Who’s Crying Now.”
In this concert from 1981, Journey performs these hits along with other longstanding classics like “Lights” and “Any Way You Want It.” Listen below to Journey at the band’s peak, performing this batch of beloved songs whose lasting soul and popularity sometimes feel rarely matched today.