George Tickner Dies: Journey Co-Founding Guitarist & Songwriter Was 76

George Tickner, the original rhythm guitarist for classic rock band Journey who left in 1975 to pursue a medical degree several years before the group’s breakthrough single “Wheel In The Sky,” has died. He was 76.

His death was announced by Journey co-founder and lead guitarist Neal Schon. A cause of death was not disclosed.

“Journey Junkies, I have some very sad news,” Schon wrote on Facebook. “George Tickner, Journey’s original rhythm guitarist and songwriting contributor on their first three albums, has passed away.”

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Although Tickner officially played on only one on the band’s albums – 1975’s Journey – to pursue a medical degree on full scholarship at Stanford University, he is credited with writing songs on that album as well as the band’s subsequent two, Look Into The Future (1976) and Next (1977).

The band’s big breakthrough came with the arrival in 1977 of singer Steve Perry and the 1978 album Infinity, which included the hits “Wheel In The Sky” and “Lights.”

Journey’s self-titled debut album, released two years after the band’s founding, included the song “Of a Lifetime,” co-written by Tickner and described by Schon in his Facebook tribute as “still one of my favorite songs ever.”

Formed by Santana manager Herbie Herbert, the group that would soon become Journey originally included Schon, Tickner, keyboard player and vocalist Gregg Rolle, bassist Ross Valory and, briefly, drummer Prairie Prince, who rejoined his previous band The Tubes after just a month with Journey; he was replaced with David Bowie drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

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