Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

Album: Frontiers (1983)
Charted: 8
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain and lead vocalist Steve Perry wrote this song on tour during a period when two of the band members were going through painful divorces due to the stresses (and temptations) of life on the road. According to Journey's Time3 compilation, with guitarist Neal Schon and bass player Ross Valory going through painful - and expensive - divorces, Perry and Cain thought there should be some way to dredge something positive out of such circumstances.

    "There's got to be a more soulful way of looking at this," Perry told his collaborator, Cain. The pair worked out the tune in a hotel room using Cain's little Casio keyboard and the entire band worked up the fresh song the next afternoon at soundcheck, inserting the party-finished song into the program that night.

    "I think he mumbled his way through half the lyrics," said Cain, "but the audience just came unglued." The song was sitting in the band's pocket long before the beginning of sessions for the next album. Released as the first single off Frontiers, it zoomed up the charts to #8 in March 1983.
  • This was used in the TV series The O.C. in Season 1 Episode 21 (2004) when Seth and Ryan are on their way to the airport. It also plays in the first episode of the Netflix series GLOW (2017) in a fantasy scene where the main characters battle it out in the wrestling ring. Other uses of the song include:

    The Simpsons ("All's Fair in Oven War" - 2004)
    Cold Case ("Greed" - 2004)
    Yes Man (2008)
    TRON: Legacy (2010) >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Anthony - Hermosa Beach, CA
  • When MTV launched in 1981, the race was on to come up with unusual concepts for music videos. Journey staked their claim with the first ever "air band" video. That's right, the group played pretend instruments for much of the clip.

    Shot on a wharf in New Orleans, it was directed by Tom Buchholtz, who like many music video directors of the time, came from the world of directing commercials.

    Journey were dragged kicking and screaming into the video era. They knew MTV exposure was crucial for sales, but hated making the videos and left the concepts up to the directors, which is how they ended up on a wharf playing pretend instruments.

    In the book I Want My MTV by Craig Marks, we learn that lead singer Steve Perry cut his hair shortly before the shoot, and also that there was some drama on the set. Perry brought his girlfriend to the set - the same girl he sings about in "Oh Sherrie" - and she did not want Steve to have another girl playing his love interest in the video. "Sherrie was jealous and possessive," said Jonathan Cain. "There was a big kicking and screaming session. Sherrie was giving Steve a very bad time about that girl."

    Years later, Beavis and Butt-Head gave it a good mocking.
  • Netflix and the marketing firm Trailer Park recorded a creepily atmospheric reworking of the song for the trailer for Stranger Things Season 4. "The lyrics are about people going their separate ways and the characters, at the end of the third season, did all go their separate ways," said Trailer Park's Bobby Gumm to Forbes. "And even the ones that are still living in the same town have gone their separate ways a little bit. They're in different cliques and things like that."

    Following its inclusion in the trailer, "Separate Ways" returned to Billboard's Rock Digital Song Sales chart dated April 23, 2022.

Comments: 22

  • Montana Julian from Missoula, MtIt just seems to me that the thematic element of Separate Ways(Worlds Apart) musically speaking is a classical piece that I just can’t put my thumb on. Something maybe that Beethoven or Mozart might have done. Anyone else with a background in the classical classics hear what I am hearing?
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenOne of the most powerful songs ever made. Pain and anger in abundance, yet delivered with love and a last desperate touch of hope.
  • Marc from -, MdFirst-ever interview with the girl in this video, including what she's doing now (plus never-published set pics): http://noblemania.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-girl-in-video-separate-ways-worlds.html.
  • Nick from Ludlow, MaI saw on another board about the gif of the opening air band part and searched for years who (At the time, I didn't know who anyone for Journey looked like, I'm a teen) so I saw the video and found out it was this song, I was shocked. I can't believe a song this epic was done so bad in a music video).
  • Erica from Pensacola, FlThis is one for the mp3, morning workout/run! Love it!
  • Jeff from Boston, MaIf your heart doesn't race when you hear this song you are dead inside.
  • Jeff from Boston, MaI agree the Frontiers album overall was bad, but this is a phenomenal song. If you can't relate to what this song is about, someday you will.
  • Josep from Dubrovnik, CroatiaWhenever this song comes on the radio, my brother punches my arm in rhythm with the guitar riff. Good times!
  • Karen from Manchester, NhI have to agree with most here...horrible video, but easily one of my favorite Journey songs (right up there with "Lovin', Touchin' Squeezin'"). This is one of those, "put the car windows UP, turn the volume UP, and sing along as loud as you can!"
  • Jones from San Antonio, TxIt was a pretty dumb music video, but I love the song!!!
    -Steve Perry ROCKS!!!
  • Chris from Meriden, Ctwhat makes the song great is the keyboard riff
  • Ricky from Bountiful, UtHoly crud, I laughed so hard I cried when I saw the video! But the song is... Epic. My band is working on a cover.
  • Tony from Chicago, IlOne of my favorite Breakup songs!!!!!!
  • Aldrin from Manila, Philippinesnice synthesizer sound accompanied by neil schon's deadly guitar riffs...
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI love the song and video! both mother and I love Journey.It hasn't been the same without Steve Perry.
  • Benny from Chattanooga, TnThis is the song where Journey (my favorite band) officially "jumped the shark" God, Frontiers was so bad........
  • Sanafabich from Santiago, Chileyeah, cheezy video but still great! you gotta love the 80's!
  • Pete from Toronto, Canadathis has got to be one of the cheeziest videos ever made! what was the director thinking

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZbZwAn3qOJU&search=Journey%20Seperate%20Ways
  • Sara Mackenzie from Middle Of Nowhere, Flgood song!!!!!!!!!
  • Michelle from Anaheim, CaA long time ago, i was flipping channels in my parents room and on MTV they were showing the video, and little tidbits came up. the director had the band members playing air instruments-air guitar, air keyboards,etc.
  • William from Toronto, CanadaA good song. The synthesizers really emphasize the theme that the site has posted in my opinion.
  • Mercedies from Soldotna, AkThis is one of my favorite journey songs. It's really emotional and the tune is awesome. You can actually feel what the band members are going through. A moving song really, and it's great live. When it's live you feel like you're there.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the Song

"Private Eyes" - The Story Behind the SongSong Writing

How a goofy detective movie, a disenchanted director and an unlikely songwriter led to one of the biggest hits in pop history.

Who Wrote That Song?

Who Wrote That Song?Music Quiz

Do you know who wrote Patti Smith's biggest hit? How about the Grease theme song? See if you can match the song to the writer.

Dennis DeYoung

Dennis DeYoungSongwriter Interviews

Dennis DeYoung explains why "Mr. Roboto" is the defining Styx song, and what the "gathering of angels" represents in "Come Sail Away."

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

Kristian Bush of Sugarland

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Jello Biafra

Jello BiafraSongwriter Interviews

The former Dead Kennedys frontman on the past, present and future of the band, what music makes us "pliant and stupid," and what he learned from Alice Cooper.