Journey‘s “Only the Young” has been reimagined in a new cover version featuring Eels frontman E — with a lyric change that took the band’s former singer Steve Perry by surprise. The Miraculous Love Kids of Afghanistan tackled the song — which became a Top 10 hit for Journey and originally appeared in the 1985 movie Vision Quest — enlisting E to handle vocals on the new record.
What’s Different About the New ‘Only the Young’ Lyrics?
The new version of “Only the Young” has a relatively minor lyrical change, with the last line of the chorus modified from “Burning like wildfire” to “Reaching higher and higher.”
E — whose full name is Mark Oliver Everett — sounded enthused about the project on a recent episode of the Naked Lunch podcast, where he also discussed how he learned about the lyrical change while texting Perry, a longtime friend.
READ MORE: How a Leftover Song Changed Journey Forever
How Did Steve Perry React to the New Lyrics?
Perry responded to E and said, “Nice job. Did you change the lyrics, or did they,'” E recalled, noting that there was no punctuation from Perry — not even a question mark — in any of the text messages during their conversation. “They changed the lyrics?” he asked the singer. “Yes,” Perry replied. “It doesn’t matter now,” he added when E inquired about the changes. (UCR has reached out to Miraculous Love Kids’ PR regarding the change.)
Watch the Miraculous Love Kids Perform ‘Only the Young’ With E
Who Are the Miraculous Love Kids of Afghanistan?
Featuring more than 200 children from Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, Pakistan and Kurdistan, the Miraculous Love Kids were formed by organizer Lanny Cordola. The former Giuffria and House of Lords guitarist formed a nonprofit under the same name to teach guitar to war-torn, poverty-stricken children.
Invoking Martin Luther King Jr., Cordola shared in a statement: “We also have a dream – to one day end the suffering of children — and to address this in the most creative and compassionate way possible.”
Cordola sought to arrange the new version of “Only the Young” in a “’70s dreamy, California way,” to highlight the kids’ guitar skills.
‘It’s Very Sad, Painful and Lovely’
Perry was touched and supportive when he was introduced to the Miraculous Love Kids’ music. “It’s very sad, painful and lovely,” he said in a press release of a previous collaboration they had done with Brian Wilson. “So sweet, these girls are.”
E added that a personal message from the kids “melted my cold, icy heart. … Despite being friends with Steve Perry, I was not familiar with the Journey song they wanted to sing with me, but I knew I wanted to sing with them.” You can watch previous Miraculous Love Kids performances with Sammy Hagar, Joe Walsh, Tom Morello and more on Cordola’s YouTube channel.
Listen to E’s Interview on the ‘Naked Lunch’ Podcast
The Best Song From Every Journey Album
Singers may come, and singers most certainly may go, but some great songs remain.