Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't Stop Believing

Easter weekend found us in Des Moines watching the Broadway musical, Rock of Ages at the Civic Center. If you haven't seen it or don't know much about it, this is a play similar to that of Momma Mia--taking the music of a generation and using it to tell a story in song. Momma Mia utilized the songs of ABBA while Rock of Ages used the music from the big hair era of the 1980s. Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Poison, Asia as well as many others had their music adapted to tell the story of a small town girl looking to make it in the big city of Los Angeles in the 1980s. A great performance for anyone who lived the music as the Civic Center crowd was not typical of the theatre crowd. Many wore the big band t-shirts back in the day, and some took this opportunity to bring them out of the closet. And a few brought out the lighters at the end of the production, which was highlighted by Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."

With the storyline becomming very evident, it was just a matter of time Journey's signiture tune would be performed. It brought the crowd to their feet and left everyone singing it along with the cast. Walking out I wondered what has made this song so popular. It was a hit in the 80s, but has almost been ressurected twenty plus years later to be used in many differerent ways.

After the 2009 season, I used the song in a end of the season highlight video. This video started out as the motivational video shown to the team before the memorable last-second win at Michigan State. The song was at the request of Iowa's QB, Ricky Stanzi, and it was most fitting for how the game ended. Rather than starting from scratch, I decided to edit it for use on the HawkVision board inside Kinnick Stadium following the last game of the season. A month later at the Clevelander Hotel on South Beach in Miami, the above clip was taken as the DJ used the Journey song as part of his music set.

The song is popular at Beaver Stadium on home football Saturdays. The Penn State student section anticipates its playing every week. Close to 20,000 Nittany Lion students sing along as Journey is belted throughout the stadium.

The song now has become part of our pop culture. HBO's Soprano fans had the song become the background music during the series end. Fans of Family Guy will remember the song being used in an episode with Peter and his friends singing it during karoke. Fans of the tv show "Glee" sang it during an episode, then re-sang it for Oprah Winfrey. The song had its time during the TV Land annual award show with David Hasselhoff taking the lead.

Do a google search, and you can find other ways this song has been used throughout time. So what makes this song so special that it has transcended through time and generations. A QB who wasn't alive when the song first hit the charts, suggests it to motivate his teammates nearly thirty years later. Those older than I stood and danced along with the cast of Rock of Ages. Is it because the song talks of hope and how dreams can come true if in fact you "don't stop believing?" And what are other songs that has transcended generations like this Journey song has?

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