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Steve Perry Biography

Home > Music > P > Perry, Steve > Biography

Birth Name: Stephen Ray Perry
Born: 1949/01/22
Birth Place: Hanford, California
Years Active: 1977–present
Genres: Rock

Stephen Ray Perry was born on January 22, 1949 in Hanford, California and is a singer and songwriter most well-known as the lead singer of the rock band Journey. Perry is most often associated with one of Journey's most famous international hit songs, “Don't Stop Believing.” Perry also had a successful solo career from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Perry developed a natural love for music and singing at an early age. His father, Ray Perry was a vocalist and owner of the radio station KNGS, so Perry was no stranger to music. Perry cites Sam Cooke's song “Cupid” as the biggest inspiration, at the age of twelve, on his decision to become a singer, which his mother nurtured and encouraged. During high school, Perry was in the marching band and played with numerous bands outside of school. By the time he graduated high school, Perry re-located to Sacramento, California and started a band with the then 16 year-old, Scott Mathews.

The band called themselves “Ice” and played locally but had fizzled out by 1972. Perry's next band, “Alien Project” almost ended Perry's musical career altogether when the bass guitarist, Richard Michaels, was killed in an automobile accident. Perry took Michael’s death very hard and returned home, vowing to no longer sing; however, at the urging of his mother, Perry answered an ad looking for a lead singer of the struggling San Francisco-based band, Journey. After the audition, Perry was offered the job as the new front man for Journey. Over the next decade, Perry brought, fame, success, and a new sound to Journey – breathing life into a dying band.

Journey's debut with Perry, “Infinity” arrived in 1978 and was instantly more successful than their previous albums, peaking at #21 on the U.S Charts. Perry's sound added more of a pop/rock undertone to the band and made Journey more accessible to mainstream audiences. The band hit the height of their success in 1981 with the release of their eight studio album, “Escape,” which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Album Charts. The band followed up in 1983 with “Frontiers,” which peaked at #2 on Billboard's Album Charts. Around this time tensions began to rise within the band as critics began to criticize Journey's new sound with Perry sounding more like a pop band than a rock band.

Perry released a solo album, “Street Talk,” in 1984 as the band took a beak; the album was a commercial success and a big hit with growing Perry's fans. 1994 saw Perry release his second solo offering, “For the Love of Strange Medicine.” By 1998, due to an impending surgery and pressure from his band mates to move forward quickly with his surgery, Perry parted ways with Journey. After his surgery, Perry went on to collaborate with, and write for, other artists, in addition to pursuing a solo career. Perry also embraced his love for farming and raising cattle which he began to focus on in 2000. In 2010, Perry released “Oh Sherrie: The Best of Steve Perry” and is currently working on new material.