YEAR RELEASED: 1978
CHART ACTION: #21
SINGLES: Wheel In the Sky (#57), Anytime (#83), Lights (#68)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Feeling That Way
LINEUP: Neil Schon, Ross Valory, Gregg Rolie, Aynsley Dunbar, Steve Perry
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After three flop albums, Journey goes to plan B (actually B2), and scores on mainstream album rock radio and in concert.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Thanks to record companies with patience, a connected manager, and some fast talking, Journey survived after three bum albums and changed direction. Gone were the prog rock excursions, in were tight song structures. They gave room for Rolie and Schon to do their thing, (“Winds of March”) but in a concise way.
This focus on songs made all the difference. I’m not 100% convinced that Rolie couldn’t have handled the vocals like he did before, but Steve Perry’s voice is distinctive AND he brought a pop songwriting ear to the band. This album has four Journey classics – the ones that you still crank up on the radio (though two, “Feeling That Way” and “Anytime” are practically linked together and radio plays them that way).
There’s filler, of course. But this is heads and shoulders better than their other work, and only obstinate contrarians will disagree.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Robert Fleischman was the first vocalist they tried, and he co-wrote “Wheel in the Sky” and another track, but he fell out with management and Perry was hired.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B: The filler’s just there, but it’s better filler. The high points are definite “A” AOR material.