“The third and final album of what could be called Journey’s cocoon phase (Escape would give birth to a fully formed butterfly and put the band through the stratosphere), 1980’s Departure would also be the quintet’s last with keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Rolie” (Franck). “He tired of life on the road and decided to resign his position in the band” (JourneyMusic.com).
“Produced by Geoff Workman and Kevin Elson (essentially both engineers turned producers), the album continued to build on the band’s previous two recordings, but offered an added edge, arrangement-wise. This was likely due to the fact that the band had walked into Automatt Studios with 19 new tunes and proceeded to record most of them live, eventually trimming down to 11 songs” (Franck).
“Departure would be the band’s highest charting album to date, giving Journey their first appearance in the top 10 of the Billboard album charts” (JourneyMusic.com). It “got off to an explosive start with the driving riffs and chorused vocals of” (Franck) “the jubilant Anyway You Want It” (Classic Rock Magazine), “another radio smash” (Franck). “Never sounding tighter, the quintet then launched into Walks Like a Lady (another future FM staple…) and a string of outstanding rockers, including future concert opener Where Were You and the stop-go-stop-go energy of Line of Fire” (Franck).
“On the other hand, elegant power ballads like Good Morning and Stay Awhile would foreshadow the band’s future commercial triumphs on Escape. And even though it packs the occasional filler like Someday Soon and Homemade Love (a weak attempt to boogie that falls absolutely flat and, tellingly, was the only Gregg Rolie-sung tune here), Departure is a solid record all around. Soon, Rolie would be replaced by the greater pop-savvy songwriting muscle of former Babys keyboard man Jonathan Caine” (Franck), who Rollie even assisted in finding (JourneyMusic.com), “and Journey would go from huge cult act to monster superstars” (Franck), “setting the template for 80s arena rock” (Classic Rock Magazine).