Chart Week: May 10, 1986
Song: “Be Good To Yourself” – Journey
Chart Positions: #20, 5th week on the chart. Peaked at #9 the week of May 31.
Remember when it used to be a surprise when new music arrived? At least for kids. Before the internet, before I had cable TV, and before I could read music magazines regularly, new albums by my favorite artists often appeared seemingly out of the blue. I might get a hint when the first single hit the radio, but it was still often a mystery when I would be able to go buy the album that the single came from.
Beginning my junior year of high school, I would flip through Rolling Stone in the library, note the dates of upcoming albums I was looking forward to, and then jot them on my wall calendar at home. These days I have a running text file where I list new releases that are on my radar. There are still surprises, but I generally know when something I like is about to be released.
But back in 1986 I was thrilled that Journey, my favorite group at the time, had a new single climbing the charts in advance of their new album, Raised on Radio. A week or so after the album’s release I took ten of my hard-earned allowance dollars to Musicland, slapped them down on the counter, and took home my own cassette copy.
I had been teased by new Journey music a couple times in the years between Frontiers and Raised on Radio. “Ask the Lonely” appeared on the Two of a Kind soundtrack in late 1983 and got some decent airplay. Bigger was the 1985 single “Only the Young,” which appeared on the legendary Vision Quest soundtrack and peaked at #9.
With both of these songs, when I heard them the first time, my pulse quickened thinking a new Journey album was on the horizon. Turned out they were both leftovers from the Frontiers sessions the band farmed out to soundtracks. (More on “Only the Young” in a moment…)
Although I was still very much into my Top 40 listening ways in the spring of ’86, high school and changes in the musical landscape were beginning to adjust my listening habits. That spring I was also listening to New Edition’s All For Love album, notably “School,” their pro-education rap that was scratching an itch I didn’t really know I had. RUN-DMC and the Beastie Boys would make that itch really flare up a few months later.
I wasn’t into the college and late stage New Wave music upper classmen I knew listened to. But those sounds would influence what I would get into a few years down the road.
In the spring and summer of 1986 I was also super into Van Halen, both the new Sammy Hagar stuff and the older David Lee Roth stuff. By the end of that summer I owned every VH album and listened to their harder rock a lot more than softer bands like Journey, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, etc..
These changes were all either just happening or in the future. I know I was super-pumped to have new music from Journey for the first time in over three years during the spring of my freshman year of high school.
“Only the Young” might be my favorite Journey song, definitely one of the few I still like today. I think a lot of that is because despite being a top 10 hit, it wasn’t overplayed like so many of their songs. And it isn’t super sappy.
I had no idea until this week that Steve Perry, Neal Schon, and Jonathan Cain sold the song to the band Scandal after it was pulled from Frontiers. Scandal included their version on Warrior, the biggest album of their career. A year later when Journey went ahead and put their version on the Vision Quest soundtrack, Scandal sued them. Apparently there had been some language in their purchase of the song that prevented Journey from releasing it as a single, and Scandal won a nice little settlement.
I just listened to Scandal’s version for the first time ever. Musically, it’s pretty faithful to the Journey version. The guitar solo goes in a different direction, which makes sense. Patty Smyth does a nice job on vocals, but she’s no Steve Perry. It’s a solid 7 to Journey’s hard 9.