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Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"
Single by Journey
from the album Frontiers
B-side "Frontiers"
Released January 5, 1983 (1983-01-05)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded June 12, 1982
Genre Hard rock, heavy metal
Length 4:21 (single) / 5:24 (album)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry
Producer(s) Kevin Elson, Mike Stone
Journey singles chronology
"Only Solutions"
"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"
Music videos
"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" on YouTube

"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" is a song by Journey from 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.[1]

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.

This song was used in the 2010 Disney film Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 Academy Award-nominated film Tron, and also was used in the Journey arcade game produced by now-defunct 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 2008 film Yes Man.


  • Background and writing 1
  • Charts 2
    • Weekly charts 2.1
    • Year-end charts 2.2
  • Music video 3
  • Cover versions 4
  • Appearances in other media 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Background and writing

The song was written 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.[2]

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.[2]

"Usually we don't write songs that far in advance of an album", says Jonathan Cain, the band's keyboardist. "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."[3]

Schon says the song is, 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."[2] 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."[4]


Weekly charts

Chart (1983) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report[5] 93
Canadian RPM Top Singles[6] 11
Polish Singles Chart[7] 15
South African Singles Chart[8] 17
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 8
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
U.S. Cashbox Top 100[9] 9

Year-end charts

Chart (1983) Position
Canadian RPM Top Singles[6] 73
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 38
U.S. Cashbox Top 100[10] 60

Music video

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,[11] 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."[12]

In the video, 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. At the end 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 inane."[12]

The video was directed by Tom Buckholtz and featured the band playing at the Louisa Street Wharf in New Orleans.[13][14]

The video is now infamous[12] 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.[11]

It was reported that on the first day of shooting, there was a cold breeze coming off the Mississippi River, which the wharf was located next to. This made filming all the more difficult on the band and Perry, who was seen retreating to his camper to keep warm.[11] 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 disliked Swafford and her effect on Perry, creating considerable tension. She was reportedly extremely jealous of the model in the video, local girl Margaret Olmstead,[14][15] 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'".[12]

"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."[12]

A decade later, it was heavily criticized by Beavis and Butt-head, who opined that the video "sucks" and was "horrible", and ridiculed Perry and Schon's fashion sense.[16] 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.[12] In 1999 MTV chose it as 13th on its list of the 25 Worst Videos of All Time.[11]

In 2011, Dave Bahan of Peoria, Illinois, radio station WIXO-FM named the video the worst of all time. He suggested it did not look like the band had put much effort into the video, and criticized their appearance in clothing that, in perspective, seemed to embody the failings of early 1980s popular fashion. However, he allowed that "they looked normal for 1982-83. They likely didn't think they would be judged for their video efforts almost thirty years later."[17] "I'm at a loss to explain that video," says 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."[12]

Cover versions

Also the American Christian rock band Blessed By a Broken Heart made a cover of this song with their previous vocalist Tony Gambino.

  • In 2014, American rock band Rites of Ash released a cover of the song as a single. The band also created a shot-for-shot remake of the original 1983 music video.
  • American Idol winner David Cook has performed a cover of this song while touring since 2014.

Appearances in other media

  • The song plays in the twenty-first episode of the first season of American teen drama The O.C., entitled The Goodbye Girl, as Ryan, a big Journey fan, insists Seth not change the song as it plays in the car.[19]
  • In episode 705 of the movie-mocking series Mystery Science Theater 3000, Tom Servo sings the lyrics to the song during the end credits of the movie Escape 2000. Servo along with Crow T. Robot also sing the lyrics to the song during the end credits of Space Mutiny (Episode 820).
  • In 2012, the web series Game Grumps in the episode "Gonna Need a Montage" featured a sped up version of the song as part of a montage.[20]

See also


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 335.
  2. ^ a b c Bowcott, Nick (2009-06-09). "The Setlist: Neal Schon of Journey".  
  3. ^ Secher, Andy (June 1983). "Adventures in Frontierland".  
  4. ^ Sutherland, Jon (April 1983). "Journey Looks to New Frontiers". Record Review. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  5. ^  
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending APRIL 2, 1983". 
  10. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1983". 
  11. ^ a b c d "Journey on the Video Set". Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Marks, Craig; Tannenbaum, Rob (2011). I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. New York, NY: Dutton. pp. 91–92.  
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Buff 'N' Stuff". Beavis and Butt-head. Season 3, Episode 16. MTV. October 14, 1993.
  17. ^ Bahan, Matt. "Is Journey’s 'Separate Ways' The Worst Video Ever?". 105.7 FM. 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Contra III: Gonna Need a Montage - PART 2 - Game Grumps.  

External links

  • Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) on YouTube
  • Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
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