Saturday, April 1, 1978

Journey “Wheel in the Sky” released

Wheel in the Sky


Writer(s): Robert Fleischman, Neal Schon, Diane Valory (see lyrics here)

First Charted: April 1, 1978

Peak: 57 US, 52 CB, 52 HR, 3 CL, 45 CN, 3 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 33.2 video, 66.15 streaming

About the Song:

This is the song that introduced Steve Perry as the future lead singer of Journey. When he came on board for the 1978 Infinity album, Gregg Rolie was still handling some vocal duties, but moving forward Journey would be the Steve Perry show. On that same album, the songs “Feeling That Way/Anytime” provided the perfect showcase of old and new. For “Wheel in the Sky,” however, it is all about Steve Perry.

Interestingly, Perry does not have a co-write on the song as he would with every Journey hit moving forward. The song originated as a poem called “Wheel in My Mind” written by Diane Valory, the wife of Journey’s bassist Ross Valory. WK The lyrics explore a narrator lamenting about being gone from home and hoping to reconnect with a girl once home. The term “wheel in the sky” can be interpreted as a metaphor fo “the various twists and turns of the narrator’s life on the road” WK and “how life goes on no matter our personal struggles.” SF

Guitarist Neal Schon and short-lived lead singer Robert Fleischman shaped it into a song with Fleischman writing new lyrics and Schon writing the melody on acoustic guitar. SF Fleischman had been recruited by Journey with the intent of going “a new direction into an edgier sound and…recording simple hard rock pieces.” WK While he was gone by the time the album was released, he still got songwriting credits, such as on “Wheel in the Sky.”

The song became Journey’s first entry on the Billboard Hot 100. Although its #57 peak didn’t light the music world on fire, it did introduce the band who would, over the next few years, take the world by storm. Cash Box said of the song that it had “tight lick guitar work and effective lead and backing vocals.” WK


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First posted 7/8/2022.

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