The song is a ballad about Journey's city of origin, San Francisco, although it was actually written in and originally intended to be about Los Angeles. It was one of Steve Perry's first Journey songs, and was recorded soon after joining the band. In an interview, Perry said, "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." 
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