Neal Schon appeared on America’s Got Talent Wednesday night and performed the Journey classic “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
The guitarist played the song alongside the 2019 winner of America’s Got Talent, pianist and singer Kodi Lee, and singer Teddy Swims. You can watch their performance below.
Schon recently recalled the experience of crafting “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which appeared on 1981’s Escape. “Jonathan [Cain] wrote the lyrics ‘don’t stop believin” with Steve [Perry],” Schon told Guitar World. “But it was a phrase his father had given him when he was trying to make it in the music industry and not having much luck, I guess. His dad said, ‘Don’t give up, son.’ It just kind of came out of that.”
“Don’t Stop Believin'” employed some different songwriting tactics than were typically expected for a rock song, Schon explained. “For the first time, you’re hearing a chorus on the outro,” he said, “which was completely against all rules of nature in that time period – and now – if you’re going to try to get a song on the radio. The saying was, ‘Don’t bore me. Get to the chorus.'”
But Schon said he could tell right away that the song would be successful. “When the song was done and the mix was almost finalized, I turned to everybody in the room and said, ‘I think this song is going to be massive,'” he recalled. “They released it as a single, and it wasn’t so massive – but then it ended up being massive. It just took a long time for everybody to catch up!”
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