How a Last-Minute Steve Perry Edit Changed ‘Lights’ Forever
Steve Perry's arrival before the release of 1978's Infinity permanently shifted Journey's career path for the better. But only after Perry made a slight change to "Lights," one of the album's best-known singles.
"This is kind of a funny story," Perry told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show, "but 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 L.A.' I didn't like the way it sounded at the time."
Perry shelved the song, until as he said, "life changed my plans once again." He joined Journey in October 1977, replacing singer Robert Fleischman toward the end of their tour. Perry's job required him to move north to his new band's home, and he was soon inspired to take a different approach to the song.
"I love San Francisco, and I love the Bay and the whole thing, and the words 'the bay' fit in so nice," Perry added. "'When the lights go down in the city / And the sun shines on the bay,' you know? It was one of those early-morning-going-across-the-bridge things when the sun was coming up and the lights were going down. So, it was perfect."
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