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Journey Biography


Home > Music > J > Journey > Biography


Birth Place: San Francisco, California
Years Active: 1973–1987, 1995–present
Genres: Rock, Hard Rock, Progressive Rock


Journey is an American rock band formed in 1973 in San Francisco, California, with former members of Santana. The band has gone through several phases, but its strongest commercial success came in the late 1970s to the early 1980s. The original members of Journey came together in San Francisco in 1973 under the auspices of former Santana manager Herbie Herbert. Originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and intended to serve as a backup group for established Bay Area artists, the band included recent Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals. Bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner, both of Frumious Bandersnatch, and drummer Prairie Prince of The Tubes rounded out the group. The band quickly abandoned the original "backup group" concept and developed a distinctive jazz fusion style. After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, roadie John Villaneuva suggested the name "Journey."

The band's first public appearance came at the Winterland Ballroom on New Year’s Eve, 1973. Prairie Prince rejoined The Tubes shortly thereafter, and the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had recently worked with John Lennon and Frank Zappa. On February 5, 1974, the new line-up made their debut at the Great American Music Hall and secured a recording contract with Columbia Records.

Journey released their eponymous first album in 1975, and rhythm guitarist Tickner left the band before they cut their second album, 1976’s “Look into the Future.” The following year's “Next” contained shorter tracks with more vocals, and featured Schon as lead singer on two of the songs.

Journey's album sales did not improve and Columbia Records requested that they change their musical style and add a frontman, with whom keyboardist Gregg Rolie could share lead vocal duties. The band hired Robert Fleischman and transitioned to a more popular style, akin to that of Foreigner and Boston. Journey went on tour with Fleischman in 1977 and together the new incarnation of the band wrote the hit "Wheel in the Sky," but fans were lukewarm to the change and management differences resulted in Fleischman leaving within the year.

In late 1977, Journey hired Steve Perry as their new lead singer. Perry added a clean, tenor sound and the band became a true pop act. Their fourth album, 1978’s “Infinity,” reached #21 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and gave the band their first RIAA-certified platinum album plus hit singles "Lights" and "Wheel in the Sky."

In late 1978, manager Herbie Herbert fired drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who joined Bay Area rivals Jefferson Starship shortly thereafter. He was replaced by Berklee-trained jazz drummer Steve Smith. Perry, Schon, Rolie, Smith, and Valory recorded 1979's “Evolution,” which gave the band their first Billboard Hot 100 Top 20 single, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" which peaked at #16 and 1980's “Departure,” which reached #8 on the Billboard 200 and included the Top 25 hit "Any Way You Want It."

Keyboardist Gregg Rolie left a successful band for the second time in his career. Rolie recommended pianist Jonathan Cain of The Babys as the permanent replacement. With Cain's replacement of Rolie's Hammond B-3 organ with his own synthesizers, the band was poised for a new decade in which they would achieve their greatest musical success.

Journey released their eighth and biggest-selling studio album, “Escape,” in 1981. The album, which has thus far gone 9x platinum, went to #1 on the Billboard 200 that year, and included three Top 10 hits, "Who's Cryin' Now," "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Open Arms." The last is Journey's highest-charting single to date, staying at #2 for six consecutive weeks and ranking at #13 on Billboard's 1982 year-end Hot 100.

Journey's next album, 1983's “Frontiers,” continued their commercial success, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200, selling nearly six million copies. The album generated four Top 40 hits, "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" which reached #8, "Faithfully" which reached #12, "Send Her My Love" and "After the Fall" both of which reached #23.

In 1985 the band released two songs previously intended for “Frontiers” "Only the Young," on the soundtrack to the movie “Vision Quest” and "Ask the Lonely," on the soundtrack to the movie “Two of a Kind.” "Only the Young" reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. When Journey finally returned to record their 1986 album Raised on Radio, bass player Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith were fired from the band for musical and professional differences. Studio musicians handled the two vacant slots, including future American Idol judge Randy Jackson and established session player Larrie Londin.

The album went multiplatinum, selling over two million copies. It also produced four Top 20 singles, "Be Good to Yourself” which reached #9, "I'll Be Alright Without You" which reached #14, "Girl Can't Help It" and "Suzanne," both of which reached #17. Perry was unable or unwilling to remain actively involved in the band and they went on an extended, indefinite hiatus in 1987.

Between 1987 and 1995, Columbia Records released three Journey compilations, including the 1988 greatest hits album, which remains the band's best-selling record. According to the RIAA it has sold 15 million copies in the United States to date. It continues to sell 500,000 to 1,000,000 copies per year, and as of 2008 was the 6th best selling greatest hits package in the United States.

In 1995, Perry agreed to a reunion on the condition that they seek new management. Herbie Herbert was fired, and Eagles Manager Irving Azoff was retained. That year, the “Escape” and “Frontiers” lineup featuring Perry, Schon, Cain, Valory, and Smith reunited to record “Trial by Fire.” Released in 1996, the album included the hit single "When You Love a Woman," which reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, ranked at #36 on Billboard's 1996 year-end Hot 100,and was nominated in 1997 for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album also produced three Top 40 mainstream rock tracks, "Message of Love" reaching #18, "Can't Tame the Lion" reaching #33 and "If He Should Break Your Heart" reaching #38.

Plans for a subsequent tour ended when Perry injured his hip while hiking in Hawaii in the summer of 1997, and could not perform without hip replacement surgery — which he for some time refused to undergo. In 1998, Schon and Cain decided to seek a new lead singer, at which point drummer Steve Smith left the band as well.

In 1998, Journey replaced Steve Perry with Steve Augeri, formerly of Tyketto and Tall Stories. The band also hired drummer Deen Castronovo, Schon's and Cain's Bad English bandmate, and drummer for Hardline, to replace Steve Smith.

The band released their next studio album, “Arrival,” in 2001. "All the Way" became a minor adult contemporary hit from the album. In 2002, the band released a four-track EP titled "Red 13," with an album cover design chosen through a fan contest. In 2005 the band was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Steve Perry surprised many attendees by showing up for the event. Also in 2005, Journey embarked on their 30th anniversary tour, and released their twelfth full-length studio album, “Generations,” in which each band member performed lead vocals on at least one song.

In July 2006, Steve Augeri was dropped from the band while they toured with Def Leppard, with the official statement citing a chronic throat infection. Augeri had been suffering from vocal attrition problems since 2003 and Journey had been accused of using pre-recorded lead vocals. The band hired singer Jeff Scott Soto from Talisman to fill in, and Soto officially replaced Augeri as Journey's lead singer in December 2006. In June 2007, the band announced that Soto was no longer the lead singer, and said that they were looking to move in a new direction.

In December 2007, Journey hired Filipino singer Arnel Pineda of the cover band The Zoo after Neal Schon saw him on YouTube singing covers of Journey songs. Their next album, “Revelation,” debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200, and stayed in the Top 20 for six weeks. Journey also found success on billboard's adult contemporary chart where the single "After All These Years" spent over 23 weeks, peaking at #9. In December 2008, “Revelation” was certified platinum by RIAA.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Journey has sold over 47 million albums in the United States, making them the 28th best selling band. Their worldwide sales have reached over 80 million albums.




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