Classic Rock Profiles: History of Journey

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Introduction

Journey is an American rock band who started their career during the 70s but achieved astronomical success during the 80s music scene. The group has undergone several lineup changes. During their heyday, Journey released smashes such as “Who’s Crying Now,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and “Open Arms.” Lead vocalist Steve Perry left the group in the mid-90s and launched a solo career, prompting Journey to break up. Afterwards, they staged a brief reunion from 1995 to 1997. In 1998, they paraded with new lead singer Steve Augeri who was with the band until 2006 when Augeri was reportedly suffering a “chronic throat infection.” Another replacement, Jeremy Huniscker (whom Journey discovered through his YouTube videos) rehearsed with Journey but things somehow didn’t work out between Huniscker and the band. In 2007, Journey discovered Filipino singer Arnel Pineda through YouTube videos of him covering their songs. They hired him right away, and the refreshed lineup released 2008’s Revelation which resulted into a hit, peaking at #5 on the Billboard album charts.

Journey’s “journey” to success and stardom

The formation of Journey occurred in 1973. Guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist Gregg Rolie (both of Santana), bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner (both of Fruimous Bandersnatch) together with The Tubes drummer Prairie Prince, rounded out in a new group called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section. They played as a backup band for many San Francisco-based artists.

Later on, the band adopted a jazz fusion style and re-named themselves Journey; they also hired a new drummer in Aynsley Dunbar. In 1975 they released their eponymous debut album, carrying the progressive rock/jazz fusion style in their early days.

Journey then released two more albums Look into the Future (1976) and Next (1977), both carrying similar styles as their debut album did. Both of these albums, like their first, got little attention and sales. Journey and their label (Columbia Records) felt they needed to change their musical style as well as a strong and solid lead singer. Fortunately, in time they found one in Steve Perry.

Perry’s presence was immediately felt in Journey’s first album with him, Infinity (1978). They scored their first three charting singles for the first time, albeit minor: “Wheel In The Sky,” “Anytime,” and “Lights.” Their sound was more decidedly main stream. Their remarkable change of style, as well as the inclusion of Perry, helped improve Journey’s chart performance.

Things were getting better for the group with the release of their next LPs Evolution (1979) and Departure (1980), both of which were strong platinum sellers. Singles such as “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” “Any Way You Want It,” and “Walks Like A Lady” were Top 40 hits. In early 1981, Journey released their first live album Captured which became the group’s first Top Ten album, peaking at #9. By then Dunbar and Rolie had been replaced by Steve Smith and Jonathan Cain, respectively.

But Journey’s breakthrough success arrived later that year when they released their seventh studio album Escape. The album spawned three Top Ten hits: “Who’s Crying Now” (at #4 pop, #4 rock), “Don’t Stop Believin'” (at #9 pop, #8 rock), “Open Arms” (#2 pop, #7 adult contemporary). “Open Arms” may be the most recognizable Journey song — a power ballad bolstered by Perry’s soaring vocals; it was also the band’s highest-charting single to date.

The success of these singles propelled Escape to top the Billboard 200 chart, and sell over nine million copies in the US alone. Journey became one of the most well-loved (as well as most roundly hated) American pop/rock bands, and their reputation still hasn’t changed a bit.

Journey followed Escape‘s success with their eighth studio album Frontiers in 1983. Frontiers was almost as successful as Escape, yielding one top ten pop hit “Separate Ways” (#8 pop, #1 rock) and three Top 40 hits “After The Fall” (#23 pop, #30 rock), “Faithfully” (#12 pop, #24 adult contemporary), and “Send Her My Love” (#23 pop, #27 adult contemporary). By then, Journey established themselves as arena rock stars.

Around that time as well, Perry launched a solo career, releasing his double-platinum album Street Talk in 1984. The group, now minus Valory and Smith, returned to the studio to record their next album Raised On Radio. Released in 1986, Raised On Radio went to #4 on the Billboard 200, yielding another Top Ten pop hit “Be Good To Yourself.”

Despite riding on the height of their success, Journey went on hiatus in 1987. Perry went into a seclusion while Schon and Cain formed their own short-lived group Bad English with singer John Waite. They scored a hit single with “When I See You Smile.” Perry re-surfaced in 1994 to continue his solo career. Two years later, Journey staged a reunion, releasing their tenth studio album Trial By Firewhich sold over a million copies.

Perry as well as Smith left Journey, but the band still soldiered on. They hired singer Steve Augeri as Perry’s replacement and new drummer Deen Castronovo. With new lead singer Augeri, Journey recorded two albums Arrival (2001) and Generations (2005). Augeri quit the band due to a throat infection which left him unable to sing. Jeff Scott Soto was hired to replace Augeri, but he didn’t last long.

Journey started their search again for a new lead vocalist. They found Jeremey Huniscker on YouTube, singing with his band covering Journey songs. He was auditioned by the band, then he rehearsed and wrote a few songs with them, but things apparently didn’t go right between him and Journey.

In 2007 Journey found Filipino singer Arnel Pineda after seeing him on YouTube. Like Huniscker, Pineda was singing with his own band covering Journey songs. Late that year he was hired as the band’s new vocalist. In 2008 Journey released their first album with Pineda, Revelation, which debuted at #5 and eventually went platinum. In 2011 they released their latest studio album Eclipse, which peaked at #13 on the Billboard 200, and entered the Top 40 album charts in many other countries.

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