Who Is George Tickner, Founding Journey Guitarist, Dead at 76

Prashant Kumar

Who Is George Tickner, Founding Guitarist of Journey, Dies at 76

The passing of George Tickner, a founding member and guitarist of the legendary band Journey, saddens the rock music community. Unfortunately, George Tickner died on July 5, 2023, in Orinda, California, U.S., at 76. He leaves a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire music lovers worldwide.

Co-founding member of Journey, Neal Schon, took to social media to confirm the unfortunate news of George Tickner’s passing. The cause of his death has not been disclosed at this time.

In a heartfelt Facebook post, Schon, aged 69, shared the sad update with Journey fans. He wrote, “Journey Junkies, I have some unfortunate news. George Tickner, Journey’s original rhythm guitarist and songwriting contributor on their first three albums, has passed away. He was 76 years old.” Schon expressed his gratitude to Tickner for his musical contributions and promised to indefinitely pay tribute to him on the page.

Early Life

George Tickner, born on September 8, 1946, in Syracuse, New York, developed a passion for music at an early age. He learned to play the guitar and improved his skills by performing with local bands.

Founding Journey

In 1973, George Tickner collaborated with Neal Schon, Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, and Prairie Prince to establish the band that would eventually become Journey. 

Together, their collective talent and shared vision laid the groundwork for one of history’s most influential rock bands. Journey’s debut album, self-titled “Journey,” was released in 1975, showcasing Tickner’s exceptional guitar skills. Initially, Tickner played a significant role as a bass guitarist before eventually transitioning to focus solely on the guitar.

During the band’s formation, Tickner was joined by Gregg Rolie and The Tubes’ Prairie Prince, and their first performance took place on New Year’s Eve of that year. 

Before his involvement with Journey, Tickner had been a member of the psychedelic rock band Frumious Bandersnatch member, where he shared musical experiences with his friend and future Journey bandmate, Ross Valory.

In the early part of the year, Journey embarked on their “Freedom Tour” across the United States with support from Toto. The band’s current lineup includes Neal Schon as the lead guitarist, Jonathan Cain on keyboards, Arnel Pineda as the lead vocalist, Jason Derlatka on keyboards, Deen Castronovo on drums, and Todd Jensen as the bassist.

Following the release of Journey’s debut album in 1975, Tickner left the band to pursue a medical career. He earned a full scholarship at Stanford Medical School, where he focused on his studies while continuing to write music and perform as a hobby.

In January 2005, Tickner reunited with other band members to receive a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, honouring Journey’s significant contributions to the music industry. 

Journey’s self-titled debut album, released in 1975, holds a special place of esteem within progressive music circles. It remains the only Journey album to feature Tickner’s guitar work, as he departed from the band to pursue a PhD at Stanford University Medical School.

Overall, Tickner’s songwriting talents were showcased on three of the seven tracks on Journey’s debut album, including the opening track “Of a Lifetime.” His contributions extended to songs like “You’re on Your Own” and “I’m Gonna Leave You” from subsequent albums.

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