How a Deadly School Fire Inspired Lyrics for Massive Journey Hit Song
Journey keyboard/guitarist Jonathan Cain opened up about two near-death experiences he had as a child on an episode of I Am Second. The musician talked about a tragic school fire at Chicago's Our Lady of the Angels church school that led him on a path with music and eventually to writing one of their biggest hits.
Cain's first near-death experience was when he nearly drowned in a lake but was resuscitated and his second near-death experience was a fire that took place in 1958. In I Am Second, the musician says that he "watched 92 children die right next to the House of God, and three nuns. I felt so lost. My father saw my sorrow right away and led me straight to music. He told me, 'Son, your life was spared for something great and that must be music.'"
Then the Journey keyboardist/guitarist's father enrolled him at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, according to Louder Sound. While Cain was in school his dog got run over and he needed money to pay for the vet bill so he called and asked his dad. "Dad, I just wonder. Should I give up on this music dream and come home to Chicago, and just forget about it?" he asked. After a minute of silence his dad responded, "Jon, this is your vision. No, you're not coming home. Stay the course. Don't stop believing."
Cain wrote "don't stop believin'" in his lyric book and when he returned to the book after joining Journey he used those three words from his dad to write "Don't Stop Believin'" with Neal Schon and Steve Perry.
Although "Don't Stop Believin'" didn't take off immediately, the song ended up becoming massive (just as Schon predicted) and has sold over five million units and been certified as five-times platinum by the RIAA.