Don't Stop Believin' just keeps going on and on and on ...
The Journey power ballad is making another bid for immortality after a power month that is making it feel like 1981 all over again.
When the film Rock of Ages opened last week, the song was the showstopping finale, with Tom Cruise (as bad-boy rocker Stacee Jaxx) leading the cast in a spirited stadium version. It's also performed nightly in the Broadway show that spawned the movie.
At country's CMT Music Awards on June 6, Journey closed the show, performing the song alongside Rascal Flatts. And Don't Stop is used in commercials for the animated flick Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which opened June 8.
"There's just no stopping this song," says Neal Schon, the Journey guitarist who wrote Don't Stop with Jonathan Cain and former lead singer Steve Perry for the 1981 album Escape. "I'm just amazed by it all. It's everywhere. It's the song that everybody comes back to."
"The song is kind of the poster child for timeless music," says Adam Anders, executive music producer for the Rock of Ages film and Fox's Glee, which features another iconic version of Don't Stop as its theme song. "It's a testament to the song that we keep redoing it, and it's still everyone's favorite."
The ballad appeared in 1998's The Wedding Singer and 2003's Monster, but its true resurgence started in 2007, when it was used in the finale of HBO's popular Mob series The Sopranos.
"My phone just started blowing up," Schon recalls. "It was like thousands of people calling me going, 'Did you see that?' What a trip."
Rock of Ages film director Adam Shankman says the song has a timeless message that fits in with any inspirational story. "It's saying: 'Don't let fear take you back. You cannot stop. Keep the faith.' It's enduring popularity speaks for itself. And I definitely made a mountain out of it in the movie."
Schon says he gets requests for permission to use the song about every two days ("there's a lot we turn down"). But the next major unveiling will be a documentary about Arnel Pineda, who went from Filipino street kid to the current lead singer of Journey.
The title of the film making the festival rounds? Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey.
"Then I hope people stop picking on us for a while," Schon says, laughing. "We need a break."