Top 10 Journey Songs

The best Journey songs show how the band, one of the early progenitors of what rock critics dismiss as “arena rock,” became so popular in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jaden-Smith-plays-Top 10 Jonny songs

 

Journey were unquestionably ahead of their time in terms of public relations, particularly in terms of professionalizing their live shows, and pioneering elements of live production that are now standard practice.

While the group was chastised for the skill with which they were marketed, the music they created – an intriguing blend of guitar-driven hard rock and vocal-oriented pop – has endured across the decades, connecting with several subsequent generations.

The group’s earliest musical origins featured an elaborate mix of rock and progressive fusion, but it wasn’t until they later shifted in a more commercial direction that they began their long, slow climb to superstardom.

Best 10 Journey Songs

Though they were frequently chastised, Journey’s best work boasted a level of instrumental and vocal ability far beyond that of most of their contemporaries and covered a wide range of styles, as you’ll see in our list of the top 10 Journey songs.

10. Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin

From: ‘Evolution’ (1979)

Steve Perry reportedly drew inspiration from one of his biggest influences, Sam Cooke, for this track from Journey’s fifth album.

The singer sampled “Nothing Can Change This Love” for the song, which struck a perfect balance between his soulful pop vocals and Neal Schon‘s heavy rock guitars to become the group’s first Top 20 hit, reaching No. 16 and propelling Evolution to triple-platinum status.

9. Stone in Love

From: ‘Escape’ (1981)

This hard rock track from Journey’s seventh studio album helped launch the writing career of newcomer keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who collaborated with Perry and Schon on the song.

The song’s infectious combination of heavy riffing, blazing guitar solos, and an alluring melody – all topped off by an undeniable Steve Perry vocal performance – helped it become a rock radio staple, easily earning it a spot on our list of the Top 10 Journey Songs.

8. Lights

From: ‘Infinity’ (1978)

Perry wasted no time in establishing himself as a writer after joining Journey for their fourth album. This soulful rock song pairs a Schon riff with a lyric Perry originally wrote about Los Angeles, but changed to fit after joining Journey in San Francisco.

“Lights” debuted at No. 68 on the Billboard Hot 100, but quickly became a rock radio staple and an essential part of Journey’s live shows.

7. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

From: ‘Frontiers’ (1983)

Another in a long line of Journey classics written by Cain and Perry, this song came together during a backstage writing session during which the singer played bass and the keyboardist played guitar.

It combines Perry’s Motown influences with hard rock to create a track that reached No. 8 on the Mainstream Rock chart and has since become an all-time classic rock track.

The single was accompanied by a widely mocked video in which the band members mime to the song without their actual instruments.

6. Feeling that Way

From: ‘Infinity’ (1978)

“Feeling That Way” began as an instrumental titled “Velvet Curtain,” written by keyboardist Gregg Rolie and drummer Aynsley Dunbar, before he added lyrics and renamed it “Please Let Me Stay.”

The track was not recorded until Perry joined Journey and wrote some additional material. He and Rolie took turns singing lead on this song, which is almost always paired with “Anytime” on the radio and in concerts.

5. Wheel in the Sky

From: ‘Inifinity’ (1978)

“Wheel in the Sky,” one of the first Journey songs to gain traction on rock radio, began as a poem titled “Wheels in My Mind” written by Diane Valory, the wife of Journey bassist Ross Valory.

When singer Robert Fleischman heard it, he used it for a lyric that was set against Schon’s hard rock riff.

When Journey replaced Fleischman with Steve Perry, he put his signature vocal stamp on the song, firmly cementing it as one of the Top 10 Journey Songs.

4. Open Arms

From: ‘Escape’ (1981)

Cain originally proposed the melody for “Open Arms” as a member of the Babys, but singer John Waite reportedly rejected it as too sentimental.

After he and Perry finished the song, their Journey bandmates felt the same way, especially Schon, who thought the song was too light for the group.

Despite the opposition, the group recorded and released the song, which remained at No. 2 on the Billboard chart for six weeks and has since become a cultural touchstone.

3. Any Way You Want It

From: ‘Departure’ (1980)

This song, co-written by Perry and Schon, was heavily influenced by Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott, who was participating in a rhyme scheme exercise with the two backstage while the bands were touring together.

Departure featured an edgier sound than previous Journey records, and the track is a perfect example of that, propelled by Schon’s fleet-fingered solos and Perry’s high-octane vocal performance.

2. Faithfully

From: ‘Frontiers’ (1983)

Cain wrote the wistful piano ballad “Faithfully” about the difficulties of being on the road while maintaining a home life with his wife.

The song’s universal sentiment and melodic structure struck a chord with fans, and it went on to become one of Journey’s most recognizable and enduring songs, peaking at No. 12 on the Billboard chart.

The song, ironically, has outlasted the marriage it was written to commemorate, which ended in divorce in 1987.

1. Don’t Stop Believin

From: ‘Escape’ (1981)

“Don’t Stop Believin'” not only tops our list of the Top 10 Journey Songs, but it also ranks 13th in our poll of the Top 100 Classic Rock Songs, and it is the best-selling catalog track of the digital era, having sold more than 5 million digital tracks.

The song’s multi-generational appeal stems partly from its inspirational message and partly from its arrangement, which appeals to fans of both hard rock and vocal-oriented pop.

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