We’ve all played air guitar, air drums, and air keyboards along with a favorite song. And who hasn’t lip-synched into a hairbrush before? But the reason most of us do that is because we can’t actually play any of those instruments. The reason Journey did it in their video for “Separate Ways” remains a mystery.
The song is a Journey classic. Released in 1983 as a single from their Frontiers album, “Separate Ways” reached the #8 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. A song of that caliber deserved something better for MTV.
The music video was shot at the Louisa Street Wharf in New Orleans. In an interview for the book I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, Journey band member Jonathan Cain said, “I’m at a loss to explain that video. I will never live down those air keyboards. No matter what else I’ve done in my career, sooner or later people find a way to ask me about the ‘Separate Ways’ video.”
That video is so notorious that it has been spoofed and recreated multiple times, including by the Heller Family of Maple Valley, Washington in 2020. You can see their viral version HERE.