Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
|"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"|
|Single by Journey|
|from the album Frontiers|
|Released||January 5, 1983|
|Length||5:24 (Album Version)|
4:21 (Single Version)
|Songwriter(s)||Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry|
|Producer(s)||Kevin Elson, Mike Stone|
|Journey singles chronology|
|"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" on YouTube|
"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" is a song performed by Journey, recorded for their album Frontiers and released as a single on January 5, 1983. It peaked at #8 for six consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and spent four weeks at #1 on the Top Tracks chart.
To accompany the song on MTV, the band shot its first-ever concept video. It was a difficult experience for a variety of reasons, and the resulting clip has been named as one of the worst videos ever.
The song was used in the Disney film Tron: Legacy (2010), the sequel to the 1982 Academy Award-nominated film Tron (which had featured the selection "Only Solutions," an earlier release from the team) and also was used in the Journey arcade game produced by Midway Games--the same company who manufactured both the Tron arcade game and its sequel, Discs of Tron. This song also appears as the mobile phone ringtone of Carl Allen, the main character in the comedy film Yes Man (2008). In addition, an instrumental remixed version without vocals was used as the introductory music to NASCAR on CBS broadcasts (except for the Daytona 500) in the mid-1980s.
Background and writing
The song was written and composed in 1982 during the Escape tour. It is not certain exactly when, or the first time it was performed live. Some sources will claim the 1982 Day on the Green concert, where singer Steve Perry told the crowd, "We just wrote this song about two weeks ago," as the first performance. But bootleg recordings exist of performances at least a month earlier at Chicago's Rosemont Horizon, where Perry also says the song was two weeks old.
There were some minor differences in the lyrics on this live debut compared to the final version found on Frontiers. In a 2008 interview, guitarist Neal Schon recalled the first time it was played live:
It doesn't matter where we put this song because it has always had a strong effect on the audience, all the way back to the first time we played it—before it was even recorded. It was written on tour and we threw it in the set to see how it would go down. The audience had an amazing reaction to it without even knowing what it was.
"Usually we don't write songs that far in advance of an album," observed Jonathan Cain, the band's keyboardist, as Andy Secher, in his article "Adventures in Frontierland," published in the June 1983 issue of Hit Parader Magazine, quoted him. "But on that occasion, Steve [Perry] and I were just working an idea backstage and it all came together. He was working on a bass and I had a guitar, and we just worked out the melody that night and the lyrics the next afternoon. Sometimes you can get lucky and have a song fall together like that."
Schon said that the song was, like many other songs by the band, "Motown mixed with R&B and blues ... that's pretty much where 'Separate Ways' is coming from. It's got a heavier guitar than an R&B song, but I think that's what makes it sound like Journey."
Cain said the same thing in 1983:
We wanted to write something rhythmic and still have a strong and haunting melody. We needed a main rhythm to run through the synthesizer and Steve Smith designed that kind of drum beat to let everything breathe. It's really a throwback to all of our roots and the Motown sound. Steve [Perry] has always listened to a lot of Motown records, songs with a strong chorus approach. Songs that were real urgent sounding, but still had rhythm and melody."
Weekly singles charts
The music video for "Separate Ways" was the first single for which the band shot a choreographed video: previous videos were performances that were taped and edited, expanded with "Faithfully" to include a montage of the band on tour shot by a crew from NFL Films. Steve Perry had been very opposed to making a choreographed video. "He'd always say, 'We're performers, we're entertainers, but we're not actors,'" recalled Cain. "And we were not a very photogenic band."
In the video, which used the shorter single version, the band performs the song while a young woman in a then-fashionable white jacket and black leather skirt walks along the wharf. At some points, Perry and the other members of the band perform right next to her, and seem to be singing to her, but she remains oblivious. In the ending, she is seen in a bed, wearing headphones. John Diaz, the producer, explains that the idea was that she had dreamed the video after falling asleep while listening to the song. "Our concepts were so insane."
The video is now infamous for the scenes where the band is pretending to play non-existent instruments, although they do also play their real instruments (including Cain playing his Roland Jupiter-8 "up-the-wall"). It features over 50 camera moves with choreography by Columbia Records Art and Creative Services.
It was reported that on the first day of shooting, there was a cold breeze coming off the Mississippi River next to the wharf. This made filming all the more difficult on the band and Perry, who was seen retreating to his camper to keep warm. This state of affairs was complicated by the presence of Perry's then-girlfriend, Sherrie Swafford, on the set. Not only had the band been told that they could not bring wives or girlfriends to the shoot, the other members hated Swafford and her effect on Perry, which created considerable tension. She was reportedly extremely jealous of the model in the video, local girl Margaret Olmstead, and kept demanding she be taken out of it. "There was a big kicking and screaming session," Cain recalled later. "Sherrie was giving Steve a very bad time about that girl." Perry had also just gotten his hair cut short, which Cain found inexplicable since the singer's previous hairstyle had been "rockin'."
"Here's a band at their commercial peak," says Adam Dubin, director of many well-received videos, "and some idiot decided to film them on a wharf and--here's the worst part--instead of giving them instruments, let them mime playing imaginary instruments. The director should be shot. And the manager should be shot for allowing his band to be put in this position."
A decade later, it was heavily criticized by Beavis and Butt-Head, both voiced by Mike Judge, who opined that the video "sucks" and was "horrible," and ridiculed Perry and Schon's fashion sense. This greatly upset Cain, since he felt Journey's videos had helped make MTV. He called the band's manager repeatedly to ask how they could stop the channel from reairing the segment. In 1999 MTV chose it as 13th on its list of the 25 Worst Videos of All Time.
"I'm at a loss to explain that video," said Cain. "I will never live down those air keyboards. No matter what else I've done in my career, sooner or later people find a way to ask me about the 'Separate Ways' video."
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