Friday, August 10, 2018

A Window Above: Open Arms

Song: "Open Arms"
Writers: Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain
Original Release: July 31, 1981
Band: Journey
Album: Escape

It is the power ballad to end all power ballads.  For Journey, the gate to immortality is "Don't Stop Believin'" (see this post) and for good reason.  However, "Open Arms" was actually the band's highest charting single, climbing to #2.  It's a perfect match between singer and song.  The big leaps and soaring melody are perfectly suited to Steve Perry.  If ever there were a tune that cried out for an a cappella cover, this is it.  And yet, none of the ones I could find were quite right.  Boyz II Men and EXO, two of the most successful vocal groups ever have both covered it and despite admirable efforts, Steve Perry still wins.  

Judge for yourself.  First, the original:

I think I'd pick EXO as a close second:

That said, I'll happily listen to these guys harmonize anytime, and they're way better without all of the production garbage behind them:

Naturally, the Eastman kids are pretty good:


  1. I never even realized there was a cover of Open Arms by Boyz to Men. I agree- Journey does it best. :)

    1. It's hard to argue with the astronomical commercial success, of course, but I can't help wondering what B2M might have been if not for all of the over-production. What if they had just been a vocal band, left alone to sing? Would most of the world have any idea what the Philly Sound was if not for them? Could that only have happened with the total package they were? These are unknowables obviously. I know I enjoy them a lot more when it's just them.

  2. I didn't care for the Boyz II Men version, and I generally like them. That last one, though, was pretty darn good.

    1. Eastman, the conservatory at Rochester, is essentially Harvard for musicians. Top quality is to be expected.