February 23

Journey is one of those bands that I love and hate at the same time. There was probably no bigger band in the early ‘80s than Journey. They were on MTV, the radio and in cassette decks everywhere. My favorite Journey memory was the spring of 1979. I had been given a bashed up 1967 VW beetle by my sister. A friend and I had banged the fenders out enough to get the thing to roll and pushed it up and down a long rural driveway about 100 times to get the thing to start. Once started we, drove the VW around and around on the property, like a go cart, blasting the meager radio… the song Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin was on heavy rotation.

Na na na na na na, Na na na na na, Na na na na na na, Na na na na na! Repeat seven times for one-and-one-half glorious minutes!

Recently, while at the local record store, Groove Merchants, we let it slip that we collected K-Tel records. The owner of the joint responded that we all gave in to guilty pleasures occasionally. His most recent was to take home a Journey album… I’ve been looking for good used copies ever since.

I found three at the local Spokane Public Radio Recordings & Videos Sale:

journey

Departure, Escape and Frontiers were the band’s follow-ups to Infinity and Evolution, the first to feature Steve Perry as frontman. I had these albums back in the day, although on 8-track or cassette. In the CD era I owned the band’s Greatest Hits collections and lost touch with the concept of their albums. Listening to these albums, front to back, sequentially, I was struck by an odd fact… side #2 of Journey albums, well… suck! I would listen to these records, all strong out of the gate, and flip the record to side 2 and… yawn! I’d never heard most of these songs. Maybe I’d forgotten, maybe I’d fast forwarded through them… these were all new songs to me… and I was not a fan.

Sure, there were a couple of “hits”, Good Morning Girl, Open Arms, but nothing like the side ones! Here, judge for yourself:

Departure

1.    “Any Way You Want It” xy
2.    “Walks Like a Lady” z
3.    “Someday Soon”
4.    “People and Places”
5.    “Precious Time”
6.    “Where Were You”
7.    “I’m Cryin'”
8.    “Line of Fire”
9.    “Departure”
10.    “Good Morning Girl” yz
11.    “Stay Awhile” z
12.    “Homemade Love”

Escape

1.    “Don’t Stop Believin'” xy
2.    “Stone in Love” yz
3.    “Who’s Crying Now” xy
4.    “Keep on Runnin'”
5.    “Still They Ride” yz
6.    “Escape” yz
7.    “Lay It Down”
8.    “Dead or Alive”
9.    “Mother, Father” y
10.    “Open Arms” xy

Frontiers

1.    “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” x
2.    “Send Her My Love” xy
3.    “Chain Reaction” yz
4.    “After the Fall” yz
5.    “Faithfully” xy
6.    “Edge of the Blade”
7.    “Troubled Child”
8.    “Back Talk”
9.    “Frontiers”
10.    “Rubicon”

For comparison sake I also included a cross reference after each track name to indicate tracks that were included on Journey greatest hits compilation albums:

x= Greatest Hits 1988
y= The Essential Journey 2001
z= Greatest Hits 2 2011

As you can see, 11 of 15 (74%) side A tracks were included on greatest hits compilations while only 5 of 17 (29%) side B tracks were. I think I’ve uncovered a Journey conspiracy!

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