Lights (Journey song)

"Lights" is a song recorded by American rock band Journey and written by Steve Perry and Neal Schon, released in 1978.

Single by Journey
from the album Infinity
B-side"Opened the Door"
ReleasedAugust 1978 [1]
GenreSoft rock[2]
Songwriter(s)Steve Perry, Neal Schon
Producer(s)Roy Thomas Baker
Journey singles chronology
"Feeling That Way / Anytime"
"Just the Same Way"
Music video
"Lights" on YouTube

Background and writing

The song is about Journey's city of origin, San Francisco, although it was actually written in and originally intended to be about Los Angeles. It was one of Steve Perry's first Journey songs, and was recorded soon after joining the band. In an interview, Perry said, "I had the song written in Los Angeles almost completely except for the bridge and it was written about Los Angeles. It was 'when the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on LA.' I didn't like the way it sounded at the time. And so I just had it sitting back in the corner. Then life changed my plans once again, and I was now facing joining Journey. I love San Francisco, the bay, and the whole thing. 'The bay' fit so nice, 'When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay.' It was one of those early-morning-going-across-the-bridge things, when the sun was coming up and the lights were going down. It was perfect."[3]

Released as a single in 1978, it was originally only a minor hit, reaching number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time.[4] It has, however, become more popular over the years and is now one of Journey's most popular and easily recognizable songs and is often played in Classic Hits/Oldies radio stations. It is frequently played at San Francisco Giants baseball games (including versions led by Perry himself at Game 2 of the 2010 World Series,[5] Games 1[6] and 2[7] of the 2012 World Series, and Games 4 and 5 of the 2014 World Series[8]) and the cross-bay Oakland Athletics after-game fireworks starts. The song is now usually played at Levi's Stadium when the NFL San Francisco 49ers win a home game. It is sometimes used in promos for the Golden State Warriors.

Journey released a live version of the song in 1993 for the Time³ box set. This recording reached #30 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[9]

The song was the last to be played during the Top 40 era of KFRC 610, a legendary San Francisco station, before the flip to a nostalgia/adult standards format in 1986.[10]

KIII of Corpus Christi, Texas used this song during their sign offs in the late 1980s.


Cash Box praised the "searching guitar work" and "excellent lead and backing vocals."[11]



  1. Strong, Martin Charles (1995). The Great Rock Discography. p. 445. ISBN 9780862415419.
  2. "AM Gold: The Best Seventies Soft-Rock Gems". Rolling Stone. June 11, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
  3. "Steve Perry "Off The Record" w/Joe Benson, December 2000". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  4. "Lights by Journey Songfacts". Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  5. "43,000+ Giants Fans singing Journey's "Lights" with Steve Perry in the audience. Someone on Yahoo..." McCovey Chronicles. 2010-10-29. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  6. "SF Giants 8th Inning Sing-A-Long 2012 World Series Game 1". Firstpost. Archived from the original on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  7. "Tigers vs. Giants | 10/25/12 |". 2016-01-20. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  8. Rohan, Tim (2014-10-26). "With Giants in Series, One Rock Song Goes On and On and On and On". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  9. Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 126.
  10. "Bay Area Radio Museum and Hall of Fame | San Francisco". 1939-03-14. Retrieved 2016-10-13.
  11. "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. August 5, 1978. p. 18. Retrieved 2022-01-01.
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