Wheel in the Sky started out as a poem, written by Diane Valory, the wife of Journey bassist Ross Valory. The poem was re-written by the band’s second lead singer, Robert Fleischman, and guitarist Neal Schon worked out the melody while the band was driving from show to show.
Though Fleischman may have written the lyrics, he had left the band by the time the song was recorded for the Infinity album. Fleischman’s replacement was Steve Perry, who would go on to become Journey’s best-known (though not final) lead singer. Wheel in the Sky would be the first Journey single to be released after Perry joined the band and it was also the first first single to chart, reaching #57 in the United States. It remains one of their most popular songs and it’s also one of the few songs to have been performed by every iteration of Journey.
As was Journey’s style, the video for Wheel In The Sky is a performance clip. As Steve Perry put it when discussing their later video for Separate Ways, the members of Journey were proud to be musicians and not actors.
Though this classic Journey song eventually became a tribute to the band’s hometown of San Francisco, it didn’t start out that way.
As Steve Perry explained in an interview, “I had the song written in Los Angeles almost completely except for the bridge and it was written about Los Angeles. It was ‘when the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on LA.’ I didn’t like the way it sounded at the time. And so I just had it sitting back in the corner. Then life changed my plans once again, and I was now facing joining Journey. I love San Francisco, the bay and the whole thing. ‘The bay’ fit so nice, ‘When the lights go down in the city and the sun shines on the bay.’ It was one of those early morning going across the bridge things when the sun was coming up and the lights were going down. It was perfect.”
Lights was the third single released off of their Infinity album, which was the first album to feature Steve Perry as lead singer. Though Lights would only reach #68 on the charts, it’s popularity increased over time, to the point that it became one of Journey’s signature songs.
Like almost every Journey video, the video for Lights is a simple performance clip, though some very 70s special effects are included as almost an afterthought. This would be Journey’s style until they tried something different with the infamous video for Separate Ways.
The main character in this video has good reason to be paranoid because seriously, real life is just kicking his ass. Maybe he should have blown off that interview and taken those boxing lessons….
Or maybe, in another reality, that’s what he did. Maybe the two realities are becoming one and our unfortunate protagonist is having to both go to an interview and a boxing lesson at the same time. It’s totally possible. Universes collide all the time.
Anyway, this is a good video, a paranoid film for paranoid times. Let’s be sure to give some deserved credit to Max Wilbur, who gets beaten up with panache and who gives a very good underdog performance in this video. You can’t help but hope that things work out for him.
I don’t swim and I have a morbid fear of drowning but I still absolutely love jet skis. I’ve only been on one a handful of times and every time I was the passenger as opposed to the driver but still, it was a blast. Of course, I was scared senseless the whole time but still. It’s kind of like riding a motorcycle, except you’re in the water and you can pretend like you’re in a movie or something. As this video shows, jet skis are very cinematic.
So, this video is kinda brilliant both visually and musically. In fact, this might be the first video that I’ve seen this year that I’ve enjoyed as much as I enjoyed the video for UPSAHL’s Drugs. This video is a riddle and an enigma. It’s like a dream of dark and disturbing things, with just enough wit to keep you watching.