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Music Review: Journey – Greatest Hits Volume 2

The only real question here is, “What took them so long?” Since its release in 1988, Journey’s Greatest Hits has sold over 25 million copies, which makes it one of the bestselling albums of all time. Although their newly released Greatest Hits Volume 2 will probably not reach those kinds of numbers, it is a solid collection. The tracks included span the years 1978-1996. Coincidentally, these are the years in which a certain Mr. Steve Perry fronted the band. Say what you will about Perry (Lord knows his fellow Journey-men have), but one thing is certain. The guy knew how to write an AOR hit.

The first thing that struck me when looking over the 17 songs that comprise Greatest Hits Volume 2 is just how many radio staples were left off the initial collection. These include such classic rock favorites as “Feeling That Way,” “Patiently,” “Just The Same Way,” “Anytime,” and “Still They Ride.” To make things a little more interesting this time around, they have also included a true rarity. “Little Girl” hails from an obscure foreign film titled Dream After Dream (1980), whose soundtrack was released by Columbia that year.

After their classic late ’70s-early ’80s run of albums, which included Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Escape, and Frontiers, the band took a break. When they returned in 1986 with Raised On Radio, things had changed a bit. But Journey’s penchant for selling records remained intact, and the LP went double platinum. The album’s Top 20 hit “Suzanne” is included here. Steve Perry pursued his solo career after Raised On Radio, but returned to the fold a decade later for Trial By Fire. This would be his final recording with Journey. The platinum record yielded a hit with “When I Think Of You,” which also appears here.

Back in 1992, Journey were one of the first rock bands to get involved in the nascent CD box set retrospective trend, and were well suited to it. Time 3 was a triple-disc affair which featured not only a great deal of Steve Perry material, but also some choice cuts from their first three albums without him. That fusion-flavored music is basically the difference between the box and the combined Greatest Hits sets. To be honest, there is a reason those first three records never sold in big quantities. So my suggestion would be to just add Greatest Hits Volume 2 to your existing Greatest Hits collection and you should have things pretty well covered.

For all of the “wonders” of the digital download age, one thing that has been permanently removed from the equation is the album artwork. Even your most die-hard Journey haters have to give it up for the cover art they had during their “golden age.” In a brilliant stroke, the Bay Area band comissioned legendary Haight-Ashbury poster artists Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse for their LP covers, and their graphics were amazing. In a nod to this legacy, Sony has issued both collections in gatefold double LP formats, with stunning artwork. You even get a card with a code for a free digital download of the remastered edition, for those who simply must have their music reduced to tinny nothingness listened to on earbuds.

Journey’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 is the perfect companion to the first set, and the vinyl LP editions in particular are recommended.

About Greg Barbrick

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