journy don't stoprushonrock contributor Andy Spoors just loves his AOR anthems and the man more likely to be watching Bowling For Soup has never stopped believin’ when it comes to the evergreen Journey.

To celebrate the band’s latest revival – with landmark track Don’t Stop Believin’ hitting the Top 20 earlier this month – our favourite musical mystery man offers his thoughts on a melodic rock phenomenon.

Sit back and enjoy.

A piano begins to play and the whole nightclub erupts into cheering and howls of delight. But it wasn’t always the case. For Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ the rise to success has been a bizarre tale of pop culture exploding.

Way back when the mullet still reigned supreme in 1982, Don’t Stop Believin reached the shores of the UK and reached a lowly position of 62 in the charts. For the majority of music listeners the song was catchy enough. But it would be fair to say it made a lasting impression on the hearts of rock fans nationwide.

The song soon slipped out of the charts and out of the public consciousness but the story of a small town girl and city boy was far from over. TV shows such as The Sopranos, My Name is Earl, Scrubs and possibly the best reference of all – Family Guy – all featured the power ballad. Sales on iTunes sky-rocketed.

Don’t Stop Believin’ currently holds the record for the most downloads of a song not released in the 21st Century on iTunes. A huge accomplishment when you consider some of the seriously rocking competition!

The press the band and song got across the pond in 2007, when HBO chose the track to close the book on The Sopranos, was unfathomable. The track still refuses to die even in 2009, with February seeing a re-entry at number 94.

And say what you will about a certain Saturday night ITV show, it has sparked yet another revival of interest – this time firing the anthem into the Top 20 a whole 27 years after it was first released!

For the first time on X-Factor, a contestant said something noteworthy with Joe McElderry admitting: “Everyone in the North-East loves that song.” And host Dermot O’Leary chipped in when he added: “That’s a real Newcastle anthem.”

That statement could be more on the money than most people realise. Clubs and bars across the city take time out from the usual R’n’B and pop songs to belt out this now legendary ballad on a nightly basis. And every time it is met with full renditions and beaming smiles from the ‘clubbers’ who wouldn’t look out of place at a pop concert. 

Following its inspired inclusion on X-Factor’s ‘Rock Week’ it’s fair to say the British public as a whole have embraced a truly great rock tune. But one unfortunate by-product could be the song becoming bigger than the band itself. On the flipside X-Factor bosses could have brought rock fans an unexpected gift.

When a band as humble and savvy as Journey realise just how big their popularity is in 2009 you can be sure they will be appearing on a stage near you sooner than you might have thought. And for me that isn’t soon enough.