Ex-Santana guitar whiz Neal Schon teamed up with another Santana alum, keyboardist Greg Rollie, to launch Journey. Ross Valory landed on bass with Brit music vet Aynsley Dunbar replacing original drummer Prairie Prince.
Starting out as a Blues/Rock outfit they recorded three albums with Rollie handling the vocals. But the group, searching for a lead singer, settled on Robert Fleischmann. Meanwhile, Steve Perry's band, Alien Project, had stalled largely due to the bass player's death in an auto accident. Perry pitched Journey claiming he was the powerful lead singer they needed. The group's management agreed. They fired Fleischmann and gave the nod to Perry. So Fleischmann became the Pete Best of this story.
Perry's first Journey album "Infinity" turned out to be Dunbar's last. He departed, landing with Jefferson Starship. "Infinity" contained "Wheel In The Sky" and launched Journey on a two-year tour.
With Perry, Journey developed a mainstream pop/Rock sound. But the arrival of Jonathan Cain (ex-Baby's), who replaced Rollie on keyboards, completed the transition to corporate Rock. "Escape" with the ballad "Who's Crying Now" was a huge hit.
In true corporate Rock fashion, the guitar didn't come into "Who's Crying Now" until the end. All the "adult" radio stations could dump out of it before the guitar while the "Rock" stations could justify playing it because of the guitar. Great marketing.
The group did have its moments with "Anyway You Want It," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Wheel In The Sky." While they scored with several ballads their best, "Still They Ride," stiffed. Go figure.
With only two original members (Schon and Valory), though Cain had been in the band since the glory days, Journey released "Revelations" in '08, their first album with vocalist Arnel Pineda. After burning through a couple post-Perry singers, Schon discovered Pineda fronting a Journey tribute band on YouTube.
"Revelations" sold 105,000 copies its first week to land at #5 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. The single "After All These Years" made an impact on the Adult Contemporary (AC) radio chart where Journey had always been strong.
Five years down the road, Schon was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. He was born at Tinker Air force Base, outside of Oklahoma City. Also in '13, Schon wed Michaela Salahi in a pay-per-view event on TMZ. Seriously?
The next year, the guitarist released a solo album titled, "So U." The set had contributions from bassist Marco Mendoza (Black Star Rider), drummer Deen Castronovo (Journey), Mark Mendoza (Thin Lizzy) and Jack Blades (Damn Yankees).
But despite "Serenity," the album's lead track, going to #3 on the Rock Radio Chart it was Perry who garnered the most attention when he sang with the Eels, an Indie Band, at the Fitzgerald Theater in Minneapolis over the Memorial Weekend. They performed Journey hits "Open Arms" and "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" plus the Eels "It's a Motherfucker."
It turned out E and Perry had a long friendship and it was Perry's idea to make a guest appearance featuring songs he hadn't touched in 18 years. Less than a week later, Perry made an encore at the Eels Washington, D.C. show at the Lincoln Theatre. For that appearance they added a cover of Sam Cooke's "Only Sixteen."
Upon hearing of Perry's return to the stage, Pineda suggested he rejoin Journey.
1976 Look into the Future
1980 Dream, After Dream (film soundtrack)
1986 Raised On Radio
1996 Trial By Fire
2002 Red 13 (EP)
"Escape" is the Journey's mega-selling album. Overall, it may be their best. "Greatest Hits" captures Journey's essence. If you want more, it's there with "Time 3," a box set.