Journey co-founder and lead guitarist dies at age 76

The sad news has been announced that George Tickner, the co-founder and original guitarist for the renowned rock band Journey, has passed away at the age of 76. Neal Schon, 69, co-founding member of the band, confirmed the news on social media, and the cause of death is not yet known.

Schon wrote on Facebook, “Journey Junkies, I have some very sad news. George Tickner, Journey’s original rhythm guitarist and songwriting contributor on their first three albums, has passed away. He was 76 years old. Godspeed, George… thank you for the music. We will be paying tribute to you on this page indefinitely. Our condolences to his family and friends, and to all past and present band members. So heartbreaking. I think we need to do a group hug, JJ’s.”

Journey has sold more than 100 million albums, with the hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” receiving over 1 billion streams on Spotify. 25 of their songs have charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Journey’s Greatest Hits” is one of only three albums to remain on the Billboard 200 for 600 weeks, alongside Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “Legend.”

The band was formed in San Francisco in 1973 by Tickner, Schon, and bassist Ross Valory, with Gregg Rolie and Prairie Prince from The Tubes. Tickner was the original bass guitarist before eventually focusing on guitar. Prior to this, he was a member of the psychedelic rock band Frumious Bandersnatch with Valory.

Journey kicked off their US “Freedom Tour” at the beginning of this year, with support from Toto. The current lineup consists of Schon as lead guitarist, Jonathan Cain on keyboard, Arnel Pineda as lead vocalist, Jason Derlatka on keyboard, Deen Castronovo on drums, and Todd Jensen on bass.

Tickner left Journey after the release of their debut album in 1975 to pursue a career in medicine, earning a full scholarship at Stanford Medical School and writing and performing music as a hobby. In January 2005, he joined other members of the band to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.