As topo morto already commented, it doesn't really make sense to consider pop as just an evolution of classical music. It has lots of influences from folk, blues, jazz that don't really make sense from a classical-harmony perspective.
To a large degree, you might also just sum pop up as “relax, focus on keeping the melody simple&catchy and then harmonise it with whichever chords feel natural”.
In particular, you might as well just forget the need of resolving dominants, directly or via “stepping stones”, into their tonic. The reason this is so important in classical music is mostly that you don't consider chords as entities on their own right, more as “snapshots” of a bundle of voices. And in a dominant you have certain leading notes that “must” lead to some target.
But in pop, you can't really find consistent single voices in the chord sequences – rather, you just have a main voice (usually vocals), sitting on top of accompaniment chords which are considered as entities. But leading tones need to happen in the main melody to really have an effect. And in particular the vii-i leading does just as well fit over a proper V-I cadence, as over a V-IV.
However, the vii note in particular is rather seldom used in pop, perhaps to avoid evoking to much leading character in the first place.
In the example, the subdominant is used twice as just “I feel to cool to go to the tonic right away”. In the middle, the IV is then followed by the actual tonic (you may consider this an additional plagal cadence), but in the end it's just left standing there and the theme repeats with its relative minor.
That said, you should of course not forget that dominants and homophonic voicing with leading tones are a thing. Well-written pop and rock often uses classical composition techniques very consciously, but it doesn't feel the need to follow any classical-derived rules at all times. That's The Way for sure takes a lot of its appeal from the fact that the tonic, when it is played, feels very much “here's home”. But there's no need to establish this by finding any sort of elaborate cadence. Since pop songs don't tend to modulate much, the home key is pretty much established by the collection of all harmonies that just have been used. Cultural heritage reminds us that if there's an em and a D and a C, then G is for sure a cosy rome with a lot of paths leading to it, but we don't need to actually use them. (We have planes nowadays, don't we?)