“Any Way You Want It” is a popular song performed by Journey, released on the album Departure as the opening track and as a single in 1980. The song was written by lead singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon. It peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The band often plays it to close their concerts. It appears on all four of the band’s live albums (Captured, Greatest Hits Live, Live in Houston 1981: The Escape Tour, and Revelation on DVD). Since its release, the song has continued to infiltrate public consciousness through its use in numerous movies (notably Caddyshack, Pitch Perfect 2 and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted), television series, and advertisements.
According to Perry, the song was heavily influenced by Irish rock band Thin Lizzy and more particularly by bassist, Phil Lynott. In July 1979, Journey were touring with Thin Lizzy across the United States when Lynott, Perry and Schon decided to share rhyme scheme exercises while they were hanging out in Miami. The “basic” work on “the guitar-vocal-guitar-vocal interchange thing that happened between Phil and his lyrics and the guitarist and his arrangements, inspired the Any Way You Want It sorta give and take thing. It’s guitar-voice, guitar-voice, more guitar-guitar-guitar-voice. It be voice-voice and back and forth and that’s something that Neal and I think just instinctually picked up by hanging out with him” commented Perry. Schon and Perry would then rework on the song in the band bus, with Schon on acoustic guitar and Perry on vocals. Lynott’s contribution later influenced other songs built on the same scheme such as “Stone In Love”.
For the studio version, keyboardist Gregg Rolie originally used a mellotron. Since it was defective, co-producer Geoff Workman decided to fix the sound by doubling it with Rolie’s regular organ in the final mixing, thus creating the unique sounding background support for the song.
The video for the song opens with a man standing in front of a jukebox, his face unseen by the camera. He scrolls his finger up a list of songs and stops at “Any Way You Want It”. He then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a coin which he inserts into the jukebox. He then selects the song and we see a record being flipped over and beginning to spin. This dissolves into a shot of a studio tape spinning which leads to the group performing the song in the studio. The band’s performance comprises most of the video until the song ends. At this point the man at the jukebox is revealed to actually be lead singer Steve Perry who turns and smiles at the camera. Another video exists which is a live performance during the Departure Tour. Both videos were omitted from the band’s Greatest Hits 1978–1997 DVD in favor of another live version of the song from the Escape Tour.
Steve Perry – lead vocals
Neal Schon – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Ross Valory – bass guitar, backing vocals
Gregg Rolie – mellotron, organ, backing vocals
Steve Smith – drums