Monday, November 25, 2019

Musical Monday - Open Arms by Journey

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of March 3, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

Journey was one of the signature bands of the 1980s, churning out hit after hit and dominating the airwaves. This song, however, came to my attention by a slightly unorthodox route: I first heard it on the soundtrack album for the Heavy Metal animated movie. I didn't first encounter it watching the movie - I didn't actually see the movie until a couple of years later, but I did have a copy of the soundtrack, and I listened to it over and over.

Heavy Metal was an odd project. The name of the movie isn't directly drawn from the name of the genre of music, but rather from a cult comic magazine first published in 1977. The movie itself is a series of short vignettes loosely connected by a framing story centered on a magical orb of glowing green evil. Despite being animated, the movie is full of sex, violence, and other adult themes, while also being relentlessly crass and juvenile.

Despite the fact that the name of the movie was derived from the magazine and not the genre of music, the soundtrack did feature some metal artists - Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, and Nazareth all appear on the album. But it features several decidedly non-metal artists as well, such as Stevie Nicks, Don Felder, and Journey. Like the movie it was attached to, the soundtrack album was an ungainly, chaotic, patchwork beast that was stitched together seemingly almost at random.

Still, it featured one of the greatest power ballads of all time in Open Arms, and seems to have been at least partially responsible for launching Journey into the upper stratosphere of superstardom.

Previous Musical Monday: The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit
Subsequent Musical Monday: I Love Rock n' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Centerfold by the J. Geils Band
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: I Love Rock n' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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