David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 250: Journey (Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin')

May 11, 2023

As I have plotted out this series, I have known a handful of artists would probably only have one song from their canon for consideration. Sometimes it might have been because of limited output, but in other situations, such as Journey's, it's because one song has always fascinated me the most.

"Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" was destined to be Journey's entry for this series. I was never a huge Journey fan, and my short-term interest in them started with "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin." As such I have listened to it off and on for the last few months trying to determine my angle for writing about it. Ultimately, I wish this post could be tied to how different it sounds to me musically. There's just something about the melding of the drums, bass, guitar and keyboards that sounds like a repeatedly slammed car trunk, which somehow seems apt for the ultimate "F Off" song. Not having enough musical theory background, though, I can't do any better in describing that sound.

After that, I thought it might be about the childhood taunt that consumes the last half of the song: "nyah, nyah, nyah," amplified magnificently when the background vocals join Steve Perry's lead vocals, ending with the instruments dropped and that crisp final chorus of "nyahs." Given Perry's extraordinary voice, that seemed like something I could easily drag out for 700 words or so. However, it appears I might only get about 80 words out of that.

Struggling to find my thesis, I thought I might break (as I have done a few times in the series) a self-imposed rule about sticking with non-video performances, and talk more about various live performances found on YouTube. In many versions of this song performed live, Perry seems to pick out a specific young girl from the audience to point at in the climactic moment of "now it's your turn, girl, to cry." If interested, find the Midnight Special version of this song and see how he seems to be singing directly to one young lass in the front. Really, Steve, watching these clips makes me wonder if I should show any concern for the guy who wants to cry (and die) at the beginning.

As all of these roads led to dead ends, I kept going back to the Journey discography to impel this blog with a detail related to the music industry. Only when I discovered (re-discovered) that the song was released in 1979 did I have my a-ha moment. How the hell did this come out as late as 1979? I would have sworn 1979 was the year that Escape, with its mammoth hits of "Who's Crying Now," "Open Arms," and "Don't Stop Believin'", was released. No, that was 1981.

"Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" existed as a 45 in my collection. I didn't have many 45's, and I would have sworn I bought it in late 1976 or early 1977 as part of a string of 45s beginning with Lobo's "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo," then Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy," then Don McLean's "American Pie," then George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," eventually some Jim Stafford singles, like "Spiders and Snakes" and Doobie Brothers' singles, like "Black Water." My "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" came somewhere in that time period of the Doobies.

The problem is that now I am thinking "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" was the last single I ever bought, a milestone I attributed to Jilted John's "Jilted John," purchased in 1978. The only reason I purchased "Jilted John" was that it only existed as a single when I heard it in Summer of 1978 in London. No, by late 1978 and 1979, I was all about the album. I don't remember ever contemplating purchase of Evolution, the album featuring "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'." I have no memory of even looking at the album in a record store. Who knows what my thinking was? Around the same time, I did buy Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' Damn The Torpedoes to get "Refugee"; Firefall's Elan to own "Strange Way"; and Sniff-n-the-Tears' Fickle Heart to hear "Driver's Seat." In retrospect, a couple of those may have been better choices as single purchases.

Through the course of this series, I have remembered my first 45, first album, first CD, and first downloads, but the corresponding "lasts" of each format have been much harder to recall. Poor Jilted John, jilted again as Journey takes his spot for "famous lasts." On the other hand, since "Jilted John" is "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" New Wave style, I am having some ideas. . . .

Journey. "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'." Evolution, Columbia, 1979. Link here.

Day 249: The New Radicals "You Get What You Give"

Day 251: Jilted John "Jilted John"

See complete list here.