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For the 2005 album by Teddy Thompson, see Separate Ways (2005 album), for the Elvis Presley album, see Separate Ways (Elvis Presley album)
"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"
Single by Journey
from the album Frontiers
B-side "Frontiers"
Released February 5, 1983 (1983-02-05)
Format 7", 12"
Recorded June 12, 1982
Genre Hard rock
Length 4:21 (single) / 5:24 (album)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry
Producer Kevin Elson, Mike Stone
Journey singles chronology
"Only Solutions"
"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"

"Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" is a song by Journey from their album Frontiers and released as a single on February 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]


Background and writing

The song was written in 1982 during the tour for the Escape album. There is some degree of uncertainty regarding the specific date of authorship or the first time it was performed live. While some sources will claim the 1982 Day on the Green concert (June 26, 1982), as the first time the songs was performed (citing singer Steve Perry from that performance... "We just wrote this song about two weeks ago.") Subsequent bootleg recordings have revealed that the band performed this song live at least a month earlier on May 21, 1982 in concert at Chicago's Rosemount Horizon. In that recording, singer Steve Perry indicates that they had "just written this song about two weeks ago." 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]

Co-writer Jonathan Cain described the song's origin: "Usually we don't write songs that far in advance of an album. 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 described the influence for the song's sound: "A big part of Journey’s influence comes from Motown mixed with R&B and blues, and 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] Co-writer Jonathan Cain echoed these thoughts in a 1983 interview: "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]

Music video

The music video for the song was directed by Tom Buckholtz and featured the band playing at the Louisa Street Wharf in New Orleans. It 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 Jonathan Cain playing his Roland Jupiter-8 "up-the-wall") in the video. The video features over 50 camera moves with full 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 of 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 on-site to keep warm.[5]

"Separate Ways" was the first single for which the band shot a video. Previous songs, such as "Any Way You Want It," "Don't Stop Believin'," and others were performances that were taped and edited, and not choreographed music video pieces.[5] The video landed at number 13 on MTV's 1999 listing of the 25 worst videos, with commentators criticizing Perry's over-emotive expressions and gestures as well as his unfashionable pink-on-black tank top.[5]

Recent media

  • The song was featured in an episode of The Simpsons ("All's Fair in Oven War") where Homer Simpson imagines what it would be like to live next to himself. It then switches to a scene in which Homer #1 yells out to Homer #2 to turn his loud rock music down while "Separate Ways" plays in the background.
  • A Perfect Circle's DVD aMOTION showcases Billy Howerdel's video discovery of his fellow band-members dancing manically to the song in an empty hotel room.
  • Brazilian power metal singer André Matos covered this song on his debut solo album Time To Be Free (2007)
  • Song is used at the beginning of Yes Man as Carl's ringtone. It is also played toward the end of the film during the 'motorcycle scene'.
  • Rapper S.A.S also sampled this song in their 2007 song "World's Apart" Featuring Jae Millz.
  • The song also received a memorable reference on Mystery Science Theater 3000, in the Season 7 episode "Escape 2000". Tom Servo sings portions of the song during the closing credits. He also sings the song while a particularly cheesy 80s rock anthem plays during the closing credits of the season 8 episode "Space Mutiny".
  • The song is confirmed to feature in Tron Legacy, a sequel to Tron, another film featuring Journey songs.
  • Warman, a project led by Children Of Bodom keyboardist Janne Wirman, covered the song on their 2009 album Japanese Hospitality, on Spinefarm; it featured Pasi Rantanen on vocals.
  • Canadian band Blessed By A Broken Heart recently covered the song and uploaded it to their MySpace page.
  • Roland Grapow has also covered the song, where it was possibly best known for being featured in an anthropomorphic cartoon "Rockoons 2". The song is available to view on Youtube.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 335.
  2. ^ a b Bowcott, Nick (2009-06-09). "The Setlist: Neal Schon of Journey". Guitar World. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  3. ^ Secher, Andy (June 1983). "Adventures in Frontierland". Hit Parader: p6. 
  4. ^ Sutherland, Jon (April 1983). "Journey Looks to New Frontiers". Record Review. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  5. ^ a b c "Journey on the Video Set". Retrieved 2009-06-12. 

External links

Preceded by
"Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring
Billboard Top Tracks number-one single
Feb 19, 1983 – March 18, 1983
Succeeded by
"Photograph" by Def Leppard


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