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It Goes On And On And On And...

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 25, 2005 5:03PM

Though it innocently “started out as a big joke”, the song “Don’t Stop Believin’” has become the unofficial theme song of the White Sox run at the World Series title.

It’s not surprising that all this started thanks to A.J. Pierzynski, the Sox player who’s been behind other controversial calls in the postseason.

2005_10_25_journeybitches.jpgIn a Rick Morrissey column, Piersynski says he and other Sox players were listening to a lounge singer in a Baltimore bar and began chanting for him to sing the song. He did. This begat ritual pre-game singalongs and eventually led to appearances by former Journey lead singer Steve Perry in the Sox dugout and the ESPN radio booth during the opening games of the Series. USA Today is reporting (4th item) that Perry will join the team for their next three games in Houston, which isn’t surprising because, really, what else does Steve Perry have to do lately?

The song has even spawned a remix by The Hitmaker, a local artist who must have thought the song wasn’t getting enough play at Excalibur or Boogie Nights.

We know what we’re supposed to say here. We’re supposed to look down our noses at this development as we mock the song and the band, one of the fluffiest of the 80s “corporate rock” groups. We’re supposed to complain that just as the Sox start getting some national recognition, its lofty status as our theme song will mean the entire country will see White Sox fans as a bunch of mullet-wearing, bitchin’ Camaro-owning, Zubaz-sporting yahoos.

But the truth is: we love that damn song.

From the opening piano line and the easily mimicked guitar solo to the corporate pep rally lyrics backed up by a beat that always gets our head a-nodding, we know the song isn’t a contender for any of those “best songs of all time” lists. But as writer Bob Cook points out on, when you’re looking for a song to get you psyched up “the quality of a song, or what it’s actually about, doesn’t necessarily matter.”

Chicagoist has long held that “Don’t Stop Believin’” is one of the best songs to sing when drunk in a bar (see also: “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Living On A Prayer”). Why? Because outside of a passing mention of the non-existent “south Detroit,” the song could be about anyone searching for anything and hoping to find it. Hell, they could have used it in the last Lord of the Rings movie and it would have fit right in. The universality of “Don’t Stop Believin’” is part of why people still connect with it over 20 years later (though we’re still surprised it showed up in August as a top 10 download at iTunes thanks to its airing on “Laguna Beach”).

And frankly, the tune rocks. Shut up, it does.

So while we’re still shaking our heads in disbelief at the song’s surprising ascendance in the pop culture zeitgeist, we’re going to enjoy it while it lasts. In a non-ironic fashion.

Just so long as no one starts playing “Who’s Crying Now” when the Sox win.