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Video: Journey performs classic ‘Don’t Stop Believin’

IMAGE: Journey
Romeo Gacad  /  AFP/Getty Images
Journey added new lead vocalist Arnel Pineda, center, a Filipino rocker, in 2007. He's flanked by, from left Ross Valery, Neal Schon, Deen Castronovo and Jonathan Cain.
TODAY contributor
updated 7/28/2011 6:37:44 PM ET 2011-07-28T22:37:44

Journey stands as perhaps the quintessential example of rock by association.

Journey’s music isn’t just part of the soundtrack in the background of your life. Rather it’s pegged to specific events, moments or experiences.

If you’re a “Caddyshack” fan, your mind may Journey back to the scene when Rodney Dangerfield blasts “Any Way You Want It” from his golf bag, interrupting Ted Knight in mid swing. In 2007, “Don’t Stop Believin’” played from a diner’s jukebox as the HBO series “The Sopranos” ended. More recently, “Don’t Stop Believin’” was covered by the cast of “Glee.”

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And those represent a small sampling of instances in which Journey’s music has permeated pop culture beyond its rock moorings. It’s tempting to say that Journey is the Energizer Bunny of bands, except for the fact that Journey was born before that marketing critter (1973, as opposed to 1988) and has lasted longer.

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“Journey is the ultimate embodiment of the people’s rock band,” noted Steve Horowitz, who teaches an online course called “Rock and Roll in America” at the University of Iowa. “Except for during the band’s early years as Santana band refugees performing jazz-rock, critics have hated Journey for their slick style.

Slideshow: Bands of the ‘70s that just won’t quit (on this page)

“Meanwhile, ever since the mid ‘70s, fans have loved them and bought their records by the millions. Their songs were and continue to be the theme music of many a high school prom because they capture that spirit of melodramatic hope and angst one feels as a young person growing up into an adult world that does not make sense.”

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The Journey currently on tour is a revamped version of the original 1973 edition created by bassist Ross Valory and guitarist Neal Schon. Both are still with the group, but now it also includes instrumentalist Jonathan Cain, drummer Deen Castronovo and vocalist Arnel Pineda.

The Journey zeitgeist thrives today for a whole new legion of fans, thanks in part to Pineda, a Filipino who joined the group in 2007. Schon had invited Pineda to audition for the gig after seeing some of his videos on YouTube.

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“I think they found a singer who is an exciting person to watch onstage, which they haven’t had in a very, very, very long time,” explained Phil Gallo, music writer for Billboard magazine. “I think they went out and recorded a collection of new songs that connected with the (former lead vocalist) Steve Perry era better than anything they’ve done in a long time. The new songs line up with the hits quite nicely.

“There’s also the fact that this guy came from the Philippines. There are a lot of Filipinos who are now new Journey fans, and in some cities that creates a sizeable base.”

Video: ‘Anyway You Want It,’ Journey wows crowd (on this page)

Journey’s hit list has been a fixture on every rock radio station since the 1970s, when it released its breakthrough fourth album, “Infinity,” the first with Perry in the fold. Aside from “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Any Way You Want It,” some of the band’s other notable creations include “Open Arms,” “Send Her My Love,” “Who’s Crying Now,” “Separate Ways” and “Wheel in the Sky.”

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Aside from FM stations and film/TV, Journey also took its brand of arena rock into stadiums — during games. “Sports teams like the Chicago White Sox playing ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ really made use of their music in a big way,” Gallo said. “Then it caught on with other teams and other sports.”

Journey’s mojo has remained fairly steady and formidable over the years, even while personnel changes were taking place. It’s a tribute not so much to an image projected by individual artists, or by the group as a whole, but how its music itself is rooted in the culture.

Video: Journey performs classic ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ (on this page)

“One reason a rock band achieves longevity is because they have an incredible concept-story-brand,” said Jason King, artistic director and associate professor at The Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music in the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. “They also achieve longevity because they’ve made an indelible impact on public consciousness, an impact that seems to keep getting renewed with each successive generation.

“But most importantly, a rock band achieves longevity because they have compelling songs ... songs that are staples on radio stations around the world and in every karaoke bar, songs that have, over time, become part of the fabric of our everyday lives. The Beatles had a timeless catalogue. The Eagles have those kinds of songs. The Rolling Stones have those songs. And certainly Journey does as well.”

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Despite the popularity of Journey’s songs, said music critic Andrew Barker of Variety, the band doesn’t always get its due from classic rock purists. “Journey occupies an unusual place in the rock canon,” he said. “On the one hand, they were enormously successful, and they’ll continue to get airplay on classic rock radio as long as classic rock radio exists. On the other, they’re still as despised by the cognoscenti as they’ve ever been, and I can’t see that stopping either.”

Video: Journey rocks new single, ‘City of Hope’ (on this page)

Obviously, a band can’t please everybody. But the mere fact that "Sopranos" creator David Chase chose “Don’t Stop Believin’” as the soundtrack for his show's cryptic and dramatic ending says the song and the band are held in generally high esteem.

“I think ‘The Sopranos’ element made you listen to the lyrics and made you kind of get behind the idea that the show closed with a vague idea of what’s important in life,” Gallo said. “It boils down to family in a lot of cases. In this case, these four people seemed to wind up at the same table.

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“It’s (the song itself) a strange story of fictional people in south Detroit. (“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.) Now the song is associated with a big family. I think it gave it some powers.”

Said Barker: “Parodies aside, it’s hard to think of a single negative effect that ‘The Sopranos’ finale has had on that song. It’s a lot like what ‘Wayne’s World’ did for Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ — before the movie, the song was well known, but after the movie, it was a staple of the culture.”

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The same can probably be said of Journey as a whole.

“Journey’s imprint on the popular culture — from high school proms to sporting events to TV shows — guarantees they will not be forgotten,” said Horowitz, who is also a staff writer for Popmatters.com. “They are a shorthand way of evoking the late ‘70s-early ‘80s."

Michael Ventre is a frequent contributor to TODAY.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelVentre44.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: Bands of the 70s that just won't quit

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  1. AC/DC

    Scottish brothers Malcolm and Angus Young formed AC/DC in 1973 with bassist Larry Van Kriedt, vocalist Dave Evans and drummer Colin Burgess. The bassist and drummer roles changed a lot in the early years before finally Mark Evans and Phil Rudd settled in. Dave Evans was replaced by Bon Scott in 1974. The band’s classic album “Highway to Hell” was released in 1979 and Scott died a year later in 1980. Brian Johnson replaced Scott and the band went on to release “Back in Black.” In 2008, the band released its first album in eight years, “Black Ice.” The band hit the road for an 18-month tour in Oct. 2008. (Redferns via Getty Images, AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Average White Band

    Alan Gorrie, Malcolm “Molly” Duncan, Onnie McIntyre, Hamish Stuart, Roger Ball and Robbie McIntosh formed the Average White Band in 1971 in Dundee, Scotland. McIntosh died of a heroin overdose in 1974 and was replaced by Steve Ferrone. The band were known for hits such as “Pick Up the Pieces” and “Cut the Cake.” The band disbanded in 1982. Today, a version of the band still tours with original members McIntyre and Gorrie. (Average White Band) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Chicago

    A group of DePaul University music students formed Chicago in 1967. The members included guitarist Terry Kath, keyboardist Robert Lamm, drummer Danny Seraphine, bassist Peter Cetera, saxophonist Walter Parazaider, trombonist James Pankow and trumpet player Lee Loughnane. The band released at least one disc a year during the 1970s. It has sold more than 120 million albums, with five No. 1 albums, and 21 top 10 hits. The band’s current lineup is Lamm, Pankow, Loughnane, Parazaider, Jason Scheff, Tris Imboden, Keith Howland and Lou Pardini. The band’s hits include “Baby, What a Big Surprise” and “If You Leave Me Now.” In 2009, Chicago toured with Earth, Wind and Fire. (Jerry T. Lai / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. The Doobie Brothers

    Tim Johnston, Patrick Simmons, Dave Shorgen and John Hartman formed the Doobie Brothers in 1970. Over the years, the lineup went through many changes and included Michael Hossack, Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Michael McDonald, Bobby LaKind, John McFee, Chet McCracken, Cornelius Bumpus and Skylark among others. The band’s hits include “Listen to the Music,” “It Keeps You Runnin’” and “Black Water.” The band is on the road for the rest of 2009 and will be playing in Tempe, Ariz. on New Year’s Eve. (Courtesy of Sarah Marie Davis) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The Eagles

    The Eagles started out as a backing band for Linda Rondstadt, whose manager, John Boylan, recruited session musicians Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Frey invited Don Henley and the group played on Rondstadt’s 1972 self-titled album. The band recorded their first album, “Eagles,” in 1972 and went on to make six No. 1 albums. Their hits include, “Hotel California,” “Desperado” and “Heartache Tonight.” Leadon left the band in 1975 and was replaced by Joe Walsh. Meisner was eventually replaced by Timothy B. Schmit. The band broke up in 1980, but reunited in 1994 for “Hell Freezes Over.” In 2009, the Eagles are still touring in support of their latest album, “Long Road Out of Eden.” (Elektra/Asylum Records, Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Journey

    In 1973, former Santana members Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie came together with Ross Valory, George Tickner and Priarie Prince to form Journey. Steve Perry joined the band in 1978. The band’s hits included “Wheel in the Sky,” “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Open Arms.” The band split in 1984, with Schon and Perry pursuing solo careers. The band reunited in 1995, but Perry left again in 1998 and was replaced by Steve Augeri. In 2006, Augeri was dropped from the band and replaced by Jeff Scott Soto, but he too was replaced, this time by Arnel Pineda of the cover band The Zoo, which Schon had seen on YouTube. (Steve C.Mitchell / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Heart

    Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson form the core of the band, which went through various lineups during the 1970s before finally settling on a lineup that featured Mike Fisher, Roger Fisher, Steve Fossen, John Hannah and Brian Jonstone. The members of the band changed throughout the years and included Michael DeRosier, Howard Leese, Mark Andes, Denny Carmassi, Scott Olson and others. The band’s hits included “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” “Barracuda” and “What About Love?” Heart is playing 15 dates on Journey’s 2009 tour. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. KC and the Sunshine Band

    Harry Wayne Casey (aka KC) formed KC and the Sunshine Band in 1973 in Miami, Fla. Original members Casey and Richard Finch, who quickly added Jerome Smith and Robert Johnson. The band's hits included “That’s the Way (I Like It),” “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty,” “Get Down Tonight” and “Please Don’t Go.” The lineup changed a lot over the years and the current lineup has 14 members. Casey sang “Get Down Tonight” on the April 22, 2009 episode of “American Idol.” The band still performs, doing corporate gigs for companies such as IBM. (Martin Bernetti / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Aerosmith

    In 1970, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Steven Tyler, Joey Kramer and Ray Tabano formed Aerosmith in Boston. Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford in 1971 and the band broke into the mainstream with their 1975 album, “Toys In the Attic.” Drug problems caused Perry and Whitford to leave the band in 1979 and 1981, but both returned in 1984. The band has sold 150 million albums worldwide. They hold the record for the most gold and multi-platinum albums by an American band. Their hits include “Dream On,” “Walk This Way,” “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” and “Cryin’.” The band was set to tour in 2009, but during a concert in Sturgis, S.D., Tyler fell from a catwalk on the stage, and the band was forced to cancel its tour. (Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. KISS

    KISS formed in New York in 1972. The original members were Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. The band is known for its distinctive makeup: The Demon (Simmons), Starchild (Stanley), Spaceman (Frehley) and Catman (Criss). The band’s hits included “Beth,” “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “Detroit Rock City.” In 1977, according to a Gallup poll, KISS was the most popular band in America. The band was also known for its merchandise, which included dolls, comic books, makeup kits and more. The band’s fans were known as the KISS Army. The band’s members all released solo albums in 1978, which marked the beginning of KISS’s decline. Criss and Frehley left the band in 1982. Stanley and Simmons continue to play with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer as KISS. (Fernando Vergara / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Loggins & Messina

    Jim Messina had played with Poco and Buffalo Springfield before he teamed up with singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins in 1970. The duo made six albums in the ‘70s and sold 16 million records. Their hits included “Danny’s Song” and “A Love Song.” The duo split in 1970. “Things got a bit strained,” Loggins told msnbc.com. But in 2005, the pair got back together and released a compilation album and a live album. In 2009, the duo hit the road for a tour. (Loggins & Messina, Wireimage) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Steve Miller Band

    Steve Miller formed the Steve Miller Band in 1967 in San Francisco. Miller, guitarist James Cook, bassist Lonnie Turner and drummer Tim Davis made up the original lineup, with Boz Scaggs joining soon after. Their hits included “Space Cowboy,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “The Joker” and “Take the Money and Run.” The band’s lineup changed many times through the years and members have included “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, Glyn Johns, Ross Valory, Les Dudek and Jim Smith, among others. The band has not released a new album since 1993’s "Wide River," but continues to tour. (www.stevemillerband.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Styx

    Styx was born in 1972 and featured members Chuck and John Panozzo, Dennis DeYoung, John Curulewski and James “J.Y.” Young. The prog rockers’ hits included “Come Sail Away,” “Lady,” “Babe” and “Renegade.” Curulewski left the band in 1975 and was replaced by Tommy Shaw. The band’s 1983 album, “Kilroy Was Here” was a concept album set in a future where playing music is forbidden. Shaw left at the end of the “Kilroy” tour, and the band fizzled. Styx reunited in 1995, but split into two different bands both using the name in 1999. After a lawsuit, DeYoung was allowed to perform as “the voice of Styx.” The actual Styx features Shaw and JY. In 2009, Styx toured with REO Speedwagon and .38 Special. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Tavares

    The Tavares brothers – Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch and Tiny – started performing as kids in 1959. In 1973, they signed with Capitol Records and really crossed over in 1975. Their hits included, “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel,” “Don’t Take Away the Music” and “Whodunit.” The band recorded the Bee Gees’ “More Than a Woman” for the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack. Ralph Tavares left the group to become a court officer in New Bedford, Mass. (Tavares, Sergio Vassiliu) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Three Dog Night

    Singers Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells formed Three Dog Night in 1968. Michael Allsup, Floyd Sneed, Joe Schermie and Jimmy Greenspoon comprised the rest of the band. The band’s hits included “Mama Told Me Not to Come” “Joy To the World” and “Black and White.” The band’s lineup shifted over the years with Sneed, Allsup and Schermie leaving to form their own group. The band played their final show in 1976. In 1981, they reunited for an EP that featured all the original members except Schermie. The lineup changed again throughout the ‘80s. The band still tours, playing 80 concerts a year. Founding members Wells, Hutton, Greenspoon and Allsup still play in the group. (Donald Kravitz / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. The Village People

    French composer Jacques Morali came up with the concept for the Village People in 1977. The original members included Victor Willis (police officer), Felipe Rose (American Indian chief), Randy Jones (cowboy), Glenn Hughes (biker), David Hodo (construction worker) and Alex Briley (military man). Their hits included “Macho Man,” “Go West,” “Y.M.C.A.” and “Can’t Stop the Music.” The group was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in 1979. Later members included Ray Simpson, Jeff Olson and Eric Anzalone. Founder Morali died of AIDS in 1991. (Carol Rosegg, Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Above: Slideshow (16) Bands of the ‘70s that just won’t quit
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