Saturday, August 19, 1978

Journey “Lights” charted



Writer(s): Steve Perry, Neal Schon (see lyrics here)

Released: July 1978

First Charted: August 19, 1978

Peak: 68 US, 67 CB, 63 HR, 30 AC, 4 CL, 74 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 22.3 video, 49.67 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Journey formed in 1973 as an offshoot of Santana. Their first three albums had more progressive leanings and failed to generate any commercial impact. The band’s fortunes changed in 1978 with the arrival of Steve Perry, who was accepted into the band after the group’s manager listened to just fifteen seconds of his audition tape. SF While Gregg Rolie was still on board with the band as a singer and keyboardist, the 1978 Infinity album very much signalled a changing of the guard.

The band got their first whiff of the charts with the lead single, “Wheel in the Sky,” hitting #57 on the Billboard Hot 100. That song and the third single, “Lights,” both featured Steve Perry on vocals. While the latter only got to #68 on the charts, it has become an album rock classic.

Perry wrote the song about San Francisco, where the band formed. However, he initially wrote it about Los Angeles, featuring the line “when the lights go down in the city / And the sun shines on L.A.” He didn’t like the way it sounded and when he joined Journey, he was inspired by an early morning trek across the Golden Gate bridge and changed the line to “the sun shines on the bay.”

The song has since become a feature for San Francisco and Oakland, California sports temes including the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics baseball teams, the San Francisco 49ers football team, and the Golden State Warriors basketball team. It was the last song played on the legendary San Fracisco top 40 radio station KFRC 610 before it changed formats in 1986. WK


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First posted 7/7/2022; last updated 7/12/2022.

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