Richard Fontana

Richard Fontana at

It's more complicated than whatever age I may have been.  The main thing was that I was turning away from exposure to commercial music radio at precisely the time period in which Journey was apparently reaching its zenith of airplay.

Looking at the Wikipedia article on Journey, I see that "Who's Crying Now" was one of their hits from 1981. I definitely remember that one though I have no memory of knowing that the song was by Journey. I guess the same is true of "Don't Stop Believing" - also from 1981. I remember that song but I am not sure I knew it was a Journey song before the coverage of The Sopranos finale. I imagine there were other Journey hits from the early 1980s I'd recognize too.

My main memory of Journey's existence was some TV show I remember watching in the early 1980s which profiled Journey. Also on this show there was an interview with Stephen Stills and I remember him saying that Neil Young showed up to Crosby Stills Nash & Young recording sessions stoned and that this caused a strain on the group. So I remember that kind of detail, but Journey all I remember was the name and that they had long hair.

I am pretty sure Journey was not popular with the kids I was going to school with at the time. Which might mean there was already a class thing going on and Journey was seen as a variety of Jersey/Long Island band (cf. my vague association of Journey with New Jersey).

Beginning at the end of summer 1982 I began listening to all sorts of alternatives to commercial music radio (this was in the New York radio market - the stations I discovered were WBGO (jazz), WKCR (better quality jazz and weird classical stuff), WNYC (classical but I was mainly interested in John Schafer's 'New Sounds' show), also the more conventional classical station around 103 FM whose call letters escape me. This opened up multiple new worlds for me although I did not quite leave behind commercial FM music radio, because I remember still listening to WLIR as late as fall 1983, though I think it was mainly something to listen to in the morning while getting ready for school.

The other issue was MTV. Remember that I lived in Brooklyn and (beginning fall 1983) Queens -- which had no access to cable TV at the time or for several years after that, related to the Donald Manes scandal. I had some exposure to MTV at a sort of summer school/camp for elite snobs that I went to in the summer of 1982. It didn't make a huge impression on me.