Born to Sing the Blues: A Jonathan Cain Book Review

“Just a city boy…”

From the suburbs of Chicago to Sunset Boulevard, Jonathan Cain found solace in music. He saw what it was like to play to an audience of a dozen Italian men in a deli to sold out arenas. He witnessed the tragedy of a school fire to his father’s passing. He shares these stories and more in his memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’: The Man, the Band and the Song that Inspired Generations.

The story begins at the 3600 block of Augusta Boulevard, where his family lived about Venetti’s, the Italian delicatessen. Cain worked in the shop and attended Our Lady of the Angels Church as well as Our Lady of the Angels School. The Catholic grade school would go up in flames on December 1, 1958 and claim the lives of 92 students and three nuns.

By the spring of 1959, Cain’s passion for music was in full swing as he began working with a music teacher. His first band, The Futuras, made their debut at the opening of a chicken rotisserie restaurant. Cain and his brother Tommy played a VFW hall Friday and Saturday nights. They also played lounges and playhouses. He played solo gigs at piano bars and joined the orchestra on stage during his junior prom.

It was only a matter of time before he called Los Angeles home.

Despite hitting the ground running the moment he landed in California, he managed to hit the highest of highs and lowest of lows in a whirlwind amount of time. From solo records to writing for Jimmy Barnes to performing as a member of The Babys, working in the music industry took a lot of effort and dedication.

It’s the climax of the story that really gets the reader’s attention: the moment Journey requests that Cain join the band. One minute he was performing in the opening act, the next minute he was performing as the headliner. He was writing songs with Steve Perry and sharing the stage with Neal Schon, Ross Valory and Steve Smith.  He was there as “Don’t Stop Believin’” rose to the top of the charts. He was there as Steve Perry chose to pursue a solo career. He was there when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s there today as the band gears up for a 58-city summer tour with Def Leppard.

Cain shares his stories not just as a member of Journey, but as a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a friend. His personal accounts of his life so far let the reader feel his emotions through the words of not only his songs but of his pages, bound together for the world to see.

“It goes on and on and on and on…”