Though this classic Journey song eventually became a tribute to the band’s hometown of San Francisco, it didn’t start out that way.
As Steve Perry explained in an interview, “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.”
Lights was the third single released off of their Infinity album, which was the first album to feature Steve Perry as lead singer. Though Lights would only reach #68 on the charts, it’s popularity increased over time, to the point that it became one of Journey’s signature songs.
Like almost every Journey video, the video for Lights is a simple performance clip, though some very 70s special effects are included as almost an afterthought. This would be Journey’s style until they tried something different with the infamous video for Separate Ways.