Sad news: George Tickner, the founding guitarist of the band Journey, who later left the group to pursue a career in medicine, has passed away at the age of 76.

Neal Schon, a band member of Journey, took to social media to express his gratitude to George Tickner, saying, “George…thank you for the music.”

George Tickner in 1981. PHOTO: JOHNSON/MEDIAPUNCH/SHUTTERSTOCK

Neal Schon, the guitarist and vocalist of Journey, shared the sad news on Facebook that George Tickner, the co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the band, has passed away at the age of 76. Schon expressed his condolences to Tickner’s family, friends, and past and present band members. He also mentioned that the band’s Facebook page would be paying tribute to Tickner indefinitely. The post ended with a heartfelt message, calling for support and solidarity among Journey fans.

Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, Neal Schon, George Tickner, Aynsley Dunbar. PHOTO: GEMS/REDFERNS

Neal Schon expressed his admiration for George Tickner’s contributions to Journey, mentioning that the song “Of a Lifetime” remains one of his personal favorites. Schon bid farewell to Tickner, acknowledging his significant impact on the band’s early years and expressing sadness over his passing. Tickner’s decision to leave Journey was to pursue a full scholarship at Stanford University, where he earned his PhD. Schon concluded the post by referring to Journey’s band manager, Herbie Herbert, who is waiting to welcome Tickner. No information regarding the cause of Tickner’s death was provided.

George Tickner, born on September 8, 1946, in Syracuse, New York, embarked on his musical journey with the band Frumious Bandersnatch, which gained recognition in the San Francisco Bay area. They performed at The Fantastic Flight of The Mystic Balloon festival in Lafayette on July 22, 1967, as documented by SK POP.

In 1973, Tickner joined forces with former Santana members Gregg Rolie and Ross Valory, as well as drummer Prairie Prince and guitarist Neal Schon, to form the band Journey.

On New Year’s Eve, Journey played their first public performance at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, attracting a crowd of 10,000 attendees, as reported by Variety.

The progressive rock group would later transition into one of the most successful pop-rock acts of the 1980s.

Tickner made significant contributions as a co-writer and musician on Journey’s self-titled debut album in 1975, which reached No. 138 on the charts. He continued to contribute to the band’s second and third albums, Look Into the Future and Next. Throughout their career, Journey achieved remarkable success, accumulating 25 gold and platinum albums, a greatest hits compilation certified 15 times platinum by the RIAA, and producing timeless hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Any Way You Want It,” as noted by Variety.

In 1977, Tickner made the decision to leave Journey and pursue a career in medicine. He enrolled at Stanford Medical School, ultimately earning a Ph.D. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Tickner and Ross Valory, Journey’s bassist, went on to establish a recording studio called the Hive.

In the liner notes of Journey’s Time3 box set, Gregg Rolie, a former bandmate, expressed admiration for Tickner’s unique musical contributions. Rolie praised Tickner’s innovative chord progressions and distinct playing style, noting his ability to create unconventional voicings by detuning his strings. Rolie also mentioned Tickner’s large hands, which contributed to his distinct guitar approach, as reported by Music Times.

In 2005, Tickner reunited with Journey for the band’s induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, marking a special moment of recognition and celebration.