One morning, Journey"s Jonathan Cain woke up in his tour bus to the stench of diesel fuel & with the beginning of a roông chồng anthem scrawled on a napkin. He told the story of writing "Faithfully" to Bart Herbison of Nashville Songwriters Association International.

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Bart Herbison: “Highway run into the midnight sun.” There is not a greater opening line in the history of music. I"m thinking “Stairway to Heaven,” the first two lines aren"t that good. Wow, Jon!

Jonathan Cain: Well, I was on a bus và we were rolling along after a show. I sat out waiting for some of the crew lớn come with us. They were taking the big stage down. I was seeing these riggers pulling it all down, & I just sat out there in this big empty auditorium. I thought, "Man, you know, these guys are sacrificing this time with their families or loved ones to be out here with us." And I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a tuy vậy we could sing for all of us, because we"re all missing our loved ones, and all making that road sacrifice?” So I went lớn the bus with that thought. And I had a napkin & it was those first four lines.

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BH: A songwriter actually did write a song on a napkin?

JC: On a napkin, yeah. “Wheels go round & round, you"re on my mind.” And then I (thought), “Well, I"m tired. I’m gonmãng cầu keep this và go lay down in the bunk.” So I did. And baông chồng in those days, you wake up smelling lượt thích diesel.


So we were up khổng lồ upstate Thủ đô New York. I took the napkin lớn my (hotel) room, put all my bags down and just fell asleep. I woke up và I looked at the napkin. And I had a little Casio MT30 keyboard. I was plunking around on it và I’m trying lớn get an idea for the melody. And then, you know, "Restless hearts, sleep alone tonight. Sendin" all my love sầu along the wire.” What next? Well, I reckon it’s a Holy Spirit moment, because I"ve sầu never written a tuy vậy in 20 minutes.


BH: I think you’re feeling guilty, is what I’ve sầu always read. Cause you would typically go to Steve ...

JC: Yeah, so I’m filled with this idea. And it’s a supernatural moment that I’ll never forget. There was sunlight just streaming in the window. And me và this napkin, & a little keyboard this big on the bed, you know?

… We go to sound check, I’ve got my napkin in my pocket, and everybody goes to lớn dinner except me. I wander bachồng inkhổng lồ the symphony piano room, & I find this big nine-foot Mason và Hamlin, this big old beautiful piano from the "40s. … There I am & I’ve sầu got my napkin. And I sat it in front of me, & I start. And I’m lượt thích, “This is better than I thought it was gonmãng cầu be. This is gonmãng cầu be good.”

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BH: Tell me you still have that napkin.

JC: I bởi not. You know what happened? This is a sad story. This is the way things go. They were, Sony, was looking for memorabilia. You know, for their floor downstairs they have lượt thích this big exhibit they were going lớn put up. And so they asked me if I had my lyrics, and I gave them my book with the napkin, và I never got it bachồng.

BH: So they still have it?

JC: No, it"s gone. I looked. Everything is gone.

BH: Universe, bring that baông chồng. It’s his.

About the series

In partnership with Nashville Songwriters Association International, each week we interview a songwriter about his or her work.

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