Albums of the ’80s: Raised On Radio

Almost every year since their debut, Journey released an album, and were touring, seemingly non-stop. After the mega-successes of Escape and Frontiers, the band took a break. Steve Perry released his smash hit album, Street Talk in 1984. He learned a thing or two through his Street Talk experience. One of these things was, according to the book in the Time3 box set, that he had “a strong desire for greater control of the recording process.” As Journey began writing and recording for Raised on Radio, creative differences took hold, and the rhythm section – drummer Steve Smith, and bassist (and founding member) Ross Valory were fired. They were replaced by Larrie Londin on drums and Randy Jackson on bass. Yes kids, that Randy Jackson from American Idol. Although, if you watched the show, you already knew that because he mentioned it a half a million times.

The Raised On Radio album was finally released on May 26, 1986. I remember a lot of people complaining about the album. I definitely was not one of those people. As a matter of fact, this is one of my favorite Journey albums. Sure, it has a little bit of a different sound than the beloved Escape and Frontiers albums. But, it is still a great album. And after posting some songs from Raised On Radio on this site and Facebook and Twitter pages, I know that I share the love with a lot of other people.

I feel real nostalgic about this album at this time of year. I remember going on a family vacation to Pennsylvania in August of 1986. We packed up the station wagon (with the fake wood paneling, of course), and drove from Rhode Island to Philadelphia. I listened to my Raised On Radio tape on my Walkman all the way down. While in Philly, we went to Veterans Stadium to see the Phillies play against my beloved New York Mets. The Mets lost the game, but would go on to be world champions this year. The next day, we drove from Philly to Amish country in Lancaster, PA. Again, I popped in my Raised On Radio tape, and enjoyed the drive.

So, let’s take a trip back to 1986, feel nostalgic, and listen to Raised On Radio.

1. Girl Can’t Help It

This was the third single released from the album, but it was the first video from the album that I saw on MTV. Since the band had to break in the new rhythm section, and were getting ready for a world tour, they did not have time to film any conceptual videos. Instead, the videos that were released, were mainly concert videos.

2. Positive Touch

Admittedly, it took me a few listens before I enjoyed this song. It didn’t help that the next song was one of my favorites on the album, so I often skipped this one to get to the next song. It didn’t take too long for me to warm up to this song though. This is one of three songs on the album with Steve Smith playing drums.

3. Suzanne

As I just mentioned, this was one of my favorite songs on the album. I played this one over and over again. I might have played it even more if I didn’t like the next song just as much.

4. Be Good To Yourself

I love this song so much!! I can still listen to it over and over again. Not only does it rock, but it has a great message.

5. Once You Love Somebody

This was not one of my favorite songs. But, I like it more now, and appreciate the bluesy sound. At the time that they were writing and recording this, Steve Perry had just split with his longtime love, and Jonathan Cain was going through a divorce. That just gives the song more weight.

6. Happy To Give

Nice way to wrap up Side 1. I love it when they sing the lyrics:

Shadows fall, after the hurt is gone
Through it all, we love and we lose

7. Raised On Radio

What a great way to start side 2! What a great rocker!! The lyrics of this song basically consist of song titles and lyrics of older songs that the band must have listened to when they were growing up.

8. I’ll Be Alright Without You

This ballad was one of the more popular songs on the album. I loved this song, but I just didn’t like how long the instrumental portion was towards the end of the song. But, at least in the video, they do a little more singing.

9. It Could Have Been You

This was another one of my favorite songs on the album. There’s just something about the way they sing these lyrics that really gets to me:

I…can’t wait all my life, on a street of broken dreams
It could have been you my love (where are you now)
Oh I…still wonder if you remember the night
It could have been you

10. The Eyes of a Woman

This song ties with “Once You Love Somebody” as my least favorite song on the album. But, my least favorite songs on this album are better than some of my favorite songs on other albums. Longtime readers may know that when I got out of the Navy I went to college. The first college I went to had a jukebox in the cafeteria. I think this was the only Journey song on it, and it was always playing. It wasn’t me that played it. But, it just goes to show that even back then, I was not the only fan of Raised On Radio.

11. Why Can’t This Night Go on Forever

Perfect way to end the album. The band would not release another new studio album for another 10 years.

I hope you enjoyed the album. Tell me your memories of this album. Did you like it? Was it a disappointment?

One thought on “Albums of the ’80s: Raised On Radio”

  1. Definitely wasn’t disappointed in Raised On Radio. It might be in my top ten albums of the 80s, actually.

    I listened to “Suzanne” a lot as well.


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