Song Lyric Sunday — Searching

This week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme from Helen Vahdati is “search.” I hope I’m not bending the rules too much by using “searching” as my theme word. Close enough, right?

Anyway, the song I chose is the classic rock song, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” from the band Journey. The song was originally released in 1981 as the second single from Journey’s seventh album Escape. It became a number 9 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 on its original release. It was written by band members Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain, and Neal Schon. Perry sang lead vocals.

The song is essentially about people searching, searching for a better life, for love, whatever. Keyboard player Jonathan Cain got the idea for the song when he went to Hollywood to pursue his career. Cain said, “I was in Hollywood, struggling with my career, kind of lost. I was asking my father, ‘Should I come back to Chicago and just give up on this dream?’ And he said, ‘No, son. Stay the course. We have a vision. It’s gonna happen. Don’t stop believin’.’”

Cain told Steve Perry about his idea for placing the song in Sunset Boulevard, and Perry had him describe it. “I described the menagerie of people who would show up on a Friday night,” Cain said. “All the dreamers that had dreams to become actors, producers, artists, lawyers, anything. They were all there on a Friday night.”

Perry explained that some of the lyrics originated during a series of gigs in Detroit when he found himself in a hotel room unable to sleep, staring out of the window. “I was digging the idea of how the lights were facing down, so that you couldn’t see anything,” he recalled. “All of a sudden I’d see people walking out of the dark, and into the light. And the term ‘streetlight people’ came to me. So Detroit was very much in my consciousness when we started writing.”

Here are the song’s lyrics.

Just a small town girl
Livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere

Just a city boy
Born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere

A singer in a smokey room
The smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on, and on, and on

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night

Streetlights people
Livin’ just to find emotion
Hidin’ somewhere in the night

Workin’ hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice just one more time

Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on, and on, and on

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night

Streetlights people
Livin’ just to find emotion
Hidin’ somewhere in the night

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’
Streetlight people

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on
Streetlight people

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’
Streetlight people