2012 : Steve Perry Explains “South Detroit” Reference

When:
January 10, 2021 all-day
2021-01-10T00:00:00-05:00
2021-01-11T00:00:00-05:00
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Reached at home in San Diego, former Journey frontman Steve Perry admitted for the first time that he totally made up the geographic locale of “South Detroit.”

The world’s all-time most-downloaded mp3 has inspired confusion in the hearts of Detroiters since being released in 1981.

Any woman, myself included, could be and has been that “small-town girl, living in a lonely world.” But who was her partner beneath the streetlights — “just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit?” Was he from Wyandotte or Lincoln Park? Is South Detroit a rebranding strategy for the greater Downtown area? Could Steve Perry be talking about some dude from WINDSOR, for crying out loud?

Jan. 10, New York: Perry pleads poetic license, and ignorance, despite the fact that a quick glance at a map would have alerted him to the issue. “I ran the phonetics of east, west, and north, but nothing sounded as good or emotionally true to me as South Detroit,” he says. “The syntax just sounded right. I fell in love with the line. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned that there is no South Detroit. But it doesn’t matter.”

Source : Ashley C. Woods, “Steve Perry answers the South Detroit question from Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’‘, MLive, January 11, 2012; updated August 10, 2017.

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