Monday, October 23, 2017

"Only the Young" by Journey

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2201
Date:  01/26/1985
Debut:  43
Peak:  9
Weeks:  16
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  By this point, Journey had been absent from the charts for nearly a year. After their successful Frontiers album and tour, the band took some time to recoup and do other projects. The most prolific one was Steve Perry's solo album Street Talk. While still contemplating their next move, an opportunity to contribute a song to a film soundtrack came up. Instead of recording something new, the band offered up this tune, which had originally been recorded for Frontiers but ended up bumped from the final track listing. The song was a good fit for the coming-of-age flick Vision Quest and it ended up being the first single from the film's soundtrack album. It debuted just outside the Pop Top 40 and soon became the band's fifth Top 10 single. It did even better at Rock getting to #3. The results were great for Journey, but not so good for Scandal, who had purchased the song for their Warrior album and then got locked out of being able to issue it themselves as a single.

ReduxReview:  I'm not sure why Journey bumped this song from Frontiers. This had hit single written all over it and the album could have benefited from it. My only guess is that the anthem was a bit lighter than the darkly produced tunes found on the album and it might have sounded out of place. In the end it was probably a good decision as the song got out as something brand new following Frontiers and helped to keep them active on the charts while recording their next LP. As for the song, the guitar riff, sentimental lyrics, and sing-a-long chorus were arena ready and it played well on the radio. Although I would like some of their future songs, I consider this to be their last great single. It still had that real pop/arena rock Journey sound. Their tunes after leaned even closer to commercial pop/rock, most likely due to Steve Perry's flirtations with soft rock on his solo album.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  In 1980, the Make-a-Wish foundation began to grant wishes to kids with life-threatening illnesses. Journey and this song would play a part in one kid's wish. Kenny Sykaluk was a 16-year-old who was in the hospital in the last stages of his battle with cystic fibrosis. Journey was his favorite band and his wish was to meet them. It was all arranged and in the fall of '84 the band traveled to Cleveland to meet Sykaluk. They brought along a new Walkman that had a cassette with this song on it. At the time the song was set to be issued as a single in the coming months, but no one outside of Journey's inner circle had heard the tune. Sykaluk would be the first. He played the song while the members of Journey were in the room. The visit was very emotional for the band and it hit them even harder the next day when they found out that Sykaluk and passed away. Apparently, he was still holding the Walkman when he died. Journey dedicated the song to Sykaluk and used it as the opening number on the next tour.


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