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On George Lamond's Journey

Freestyle singer George Lamond's cover of "Don't Stop Believing" is presently in regular rotation on New York's new dance station, 87.7 FM, The Pulse. The original Journey song, out of fashion for decades, has in the last year experienced a sort of resurrection. And unlike Bon Jovi's calculated 2007 comeback, there doesn't seem to be any public relations blitz behind the song's comeback; it happened organically. It was used on The Sopranos (I didn't see it) and Family Guy. In the latter, fat middle aged men relive their youth by pathetically singing "Don't Stop Believing" on karaoke night. Soon after the two shows aired, the Journey song hit the top 10 on the iTunes chart, just as it did on the Billboard chart more than a quarter of a century ago.

Hearing "Don't Stop Believing" for the first time in 1981 was like a coming of age for me. The lyrics showed me a world I had no idea existed, a lonely night-world of midnight trains, populated with hustlers and runaways. The way the "smell of wine and cheap perfume" was celebrated gave me my first understanding of the Romantic. The song later inspired me to wander the darkest corners of North Philly, to take trains "goin' anywhere" and find my way back in the dawn. It inspired paintings and stories and characters... To this day, the rolling piano and coiling guitar still cast a dark spell on me.

George Lamond's decision to cover "Don't Stop Believing" is a bold one, but is it a wise one? Lamond certainly has the pipes to hit the high notes. But why exactly do we want him to? Steve Perry's vocal performance on the original is so perfect, so iconic, to imitate his ethereal alto and gritty phrasing seems pointless, and yet to deviate from it in any way seems wrong. Journey's coiling guitar has been replaced by a 90's style pop-house beat, effectively turning the soulful song into a vaguely nostalgic dance party. It certainly sounds better than Peter Griffin's rendition, but at heart George Lamond's cover is showy, over-the-top karaoke. In this age of American Idol, it seems like that's enough.
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No one can sing quite like Steve Perry.

I remember this song well when I was a kid.

Where can I hear Lamond's version so I could compare?
If you're in NY you can hear it on 87.7. It's a good dance station! It's kinda like KTU only it doesn't bite moose bone LoL