"They've gotten me back into music. They touched me in a way that made me excited about music again": How the San Francisco Giants saved Steve Perry

Steve Perry at a San Francisco Giants game
(Image credit: Jason O. Watson via Getty Images)

At the beginning of the last decade, a tradition began to develop at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Every time the MLB team the San Francisco Giants played a home game, Journey's classic Don't Stop Believin' would be played during the eighth inning stretch. And every time Journey frontman Steve Perry attended a game, he'd lead the crowd in a singalong.

Don't Stop Believin's relationship with baseball is a complex one. It was originally adopted as an anthem by the Chicago White Sox in 2005, and Perry led a singalong at the championship parade after the Sox beat the Astros in the World Series the same year. The Detroit Tigers began to use it. So too the Kansas City Royals. But if any team can claim ownership of the song, it's the Giants. And no more so than when Perry is in his seat in section 219. 

The videos prove it. Perry looks delighted when the song is placed. He dances. He runs up and down the aisles. He mimes like a sozzled wedding guest, throwing his arms into the air as the song climaxes, like he's having the best time imaginable. He's a joy to watch. And remember, much of the footage comes from a time when Perry wasn't making music, when he'd retreated from performance altogether.

"I had lost that deep passion in my heart for the inner joy of songwriting and singing," he told Classic Rock in 2019. "I sort of let it all go. If it came back, great; if it didn’t, so be it, because I’d already lived the dream of dreams."

Meanwhile, Don't Stop Believin' was becoming one of the biggest songs in the world. That final scene in The Sopranos. The hit teen show Glee. Countless episodes of The X-Factor and American Idol and similar reality TV shows across the globe. And for Perry, most importantly, the San Francisco Giants.

“I can't put into words what the Giants have done for me emotionally," he told a TV interviewer. "It's beyond words. In a lot of ways, they've saved me and they've gotten me back into music, to be perfectly honest with you. They touched me in a way that made me excited about music again."

Watch the videos below. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.