Journey, “I’ll Be Alright Without You” from Raised on Radio (1986): One Track Mind

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A No. 14 pop charter, “I’ll Be Alright Without You” is one of the more forgotten hits from the Journey catalog. Strange, because this atmospheric track — released as part of Journey’s Raised on Radio on May 27, 1986 — remains the group’s penultimate Top 20 hit, followed only by their No. 12 comeback song “When You Love a Woman” from a decade later.

“I’ll Be Alright Without You,” written by Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry and Neal Schon, also finds Schon trying out a particularly distinctive sound.

“That guitar that I played on ‘I’ll Be Alright,’ you would not believe what it is,” the Journey guitarist tells us, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “It was one of those really ugly Roland 707 guitars that kind of looked like a weird synthesizer guitar. I believe it was all graphite. It was a really ugly guitar, but when I went to play that song, my first choice was a Strat — because it sounds like Strat on a bass pickup. It [the Roland] sounded like a Strat, but it was kind of like even, from top to bottom, with the body and neck being graphite. It didn’t vibrate, and that gave it a very even tone. So, I felt like it translated no matter where I was playing, up and down the neck on that one song.”

Times have changed, and not just with the departure of Steve Perry from Journey’s ranks. While that guitar choice worked in the moment, Neal Schon says there are other options nowadays.

“If I were to play it again,” Schon tells us, “I would definitely play it on a Strat or some of my new Paul Reeds, the NS-15s, or the bigger semi-hollow bodies. Those sounds good, with really warm, like Strat-y tones — but with a little bit bigger body.”

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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