George Tickner, Founding Journey Guitarist, Dead at 76

Tickner played on the band's self-titled debut album

george tickner obit
George Tickner, via Columbia Records

    George Tickner, a co-founding member of legendary classic rock act Journey, has died at the age of 76, according to a social media post made by the band’s guitarist Neal Schon.

    “Rest peacefully, Dr. George Tickner. You will be missed immensely,” Schon posted on Facebook.

    Schon also posted: “Dear George … ‘Of a Lifetime’ is still one of my favorite songs ever. RIP brother God Speed.”

    Journey formed in 1973 with a lineup featuring Schon, Tickner — brought in by Journey manager Herbie Herbert, who road-managed Tickner’s previous band Frumious Bandersnatch — along with bassist Ross Valory, singer Gregg Rolie, and drummer Prairie Prince (later replaced by Aynsley Dunbar).

    While Journey are best known for their FM classic rock hits, the group actually played progressive rock early in its career, prior to singer Steve Perry joining the band. Journey’s 1975 self-titled debut is held in high regard among prog circles, and it’s the only Journey LP to feature guitarwork from Tickner before he departed to earn a Ph.D. at Stanford University Medical School.

    All in all, Tickner wrote or co-wrote three of the seven songs on the debut, including the aforementioned opener “Of a Lifetime,” and also has writing credits for “You’re on Your Own” and “I’m Gonna Leave You” from the band’s sophomore album Look Into the Future and “Nickel and Dime” from 1977’s Next.


    Following his stint in Journey, Tickner was largely uninvolved in the music industry, though he did co-found a recording studio, The Hive, and participated in a shortlived project called VTR with Valory and Stevie “Keys” Roseman, who played on Journey’s 1981 Top 40 hit “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly in Love).” Tickner would also take part in Journey’s 2005 reunion at the Hollywood Walk of Fame induction ceremony.

    A cause of death has yet to be reported. Our condolences go out to Tickner’s family and the Journey camp at this time.

    Below you can revisit the Tickner-penned song “Of a Lifetime.”

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