Original Journey Band Member George Tickner Left the Group But Never Gave Up His Love for Music

At any party, the crowd starts enthusiastically singing along when the intro to “Don’t Stop Believing” starts playing over the loud-speakers. There is almost nobody in the world who doesn’t know the lyrics, “Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world…”

The band behind the music, Journey, was one of the most popular bands of the 1970s and ’80s, and their legend continues on today.

Journey didn’t reach the height of their success until the release of their album ‘Escape’ which included three top-ten hits, including ‘Don’t Stop Believin”. Long before these hits were released into the world, original band member George Tickner left the band to pursue a very admirable profession. Who was Tickner, and what made it worth it to him to leave one of the most famous bands of all time?

Who is George Tickner?

Journey accepts their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Rock group Journey | Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

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Tickner was one of the original members of Journey. He met Journey’s founder, Ross Valory, when they were both part of the San Francisco psychedelic band, Frumious Bandersnatch, and followed Valory when he went on to start Journey.

He played rhythm guitar for the band, and even co-wrote some songs, although none of them were as famous as some of Journey’s later hits. In their self-titled debut album, Tickner is named as a co-writer for three songs: “Of a Lifetime,” “Mystery Mountain,” and an instrumental track called “Topaz.”

On top of playing guitar for Frumious Bandersnatch and Journey, he’s also credited as being part of the line-up at some shows that Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders played in the ’70s.

Tickner seems like he had a lot of talent and he could have stuck around with Journey until they reached mainstream success.

However, he only played for the band for a brief time, and exited after the release of their first album in order to pursue an entirely different profession.

Tickner went on to study medicine

Here’s a story you don’t hear every day: Tickner, the guitarist for one of the most famous rock bands in history, left music for a while to study medicine! That must have been unexpected for his fellow band members, to say the least.

It is reported that Tickner received a full scholarship to study medicine at Stanford Medical School, so all evidence points to the assumption that on top of being a talented musician, he also had advanced book-smarts. 

Given the band’s extreme success a decade or so after the release of their first album, especially with the addition of Steve Perry on vocals, we can’t help but wonder if Tickner ever regrets leaving the band.

Tickner is still involved in music

Although he left Journey, Tickner didn’t leave the music industry behind altogether. He still maintains an active interest in music, and even still works with Ross Valory, who he co-founded Journey with. Together, Tickner and Valory created a recording studio called The Hive, where Tickner has gotten the chance to keep writing and recording music.

The two even still play music together: they formed a band called VTR with the keyboardist of Journey, Stevie Roseman. 

Even though he left Journey, it’s inspiring to see this legendary rock-and-roll musician keeping his love for music alive!