Sunday, July 10, 2011

Diversion 2.0 Thirty Day Song Challenge -- Day 27: A Song You Discovered After Everyone Else

As I’ve mentioned in numerous previous posts, prior to just a few years ago, the world of classic rock was one big enigma to me. I’d hear a little INXS here or some Boston there, but, in general, I was ignorant of any guitar-based music older than grunge. As such, most rock “staples” from the 70’s and 80’s went largely unheard by me, leading to more than a few instances of excitedly telling my friends about a song they had literally grown up with. Today’s entry is about one such song.

Journey – “Don’t Stop Believin’”

There are times when you’re late to the party, and there are times when it’s just damn embarrassing. I discovered “Don’t Stop Believin’” during my freshman year of college during a play rehearsal. The play in question was a musical, and a piano was kept onstage as accompaniment for the cast members. During a bit of downtime, one of the actors showed off a bit by playing a few songs, to the general delight of the rest of the cast. I knew the first song he played—“Piano Man”—but was absolutely baffled at the next, piano-heavy tune he started, and was even more shocked when literally everyone in the house started singing along. “Just a small town girl,” shouted the men and women to my side, as though this song had somehow usurped the national anthem and they were singing along out of patriotism, “living in a lonely wo-orld!” I was frozen to my chair, bewildered at how so many people could know the lyrics to what obviously must be a rather obscure song, because I certainly hadn’t heard it before.

Later, I found out how borderline infamous the song was, and felt a bit silly.

Since my fateful run-in with Journey’s anthem to streetlights and people living just to find emotion, “Don’t Stop Believin’” has apparently taken the fast track to latter-day popularity, gaining a large following in the late 2000’s due to digital downloads and its use in various movies and TV shows. So much the better. “Don’t Stop Believin’” is a tremendous song, and perhaps one of the best group sing-along songs I’ve had the privilege to hoarsely shout along with.

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