Thursday, November 3, 2011
Journey is an American rock band formed in 1973 in San Francisco, California. Journey's roots lie in San Francisco, where in 1971 Santana manager Walter "Herbie" Herbert decided to put together a band of musicians originally called The Golden Gate Rhythm Section. Dissatisfied with the musical direction that Carlos Santana wanted to follow, keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Rolie and guitarist Neal Schon left Santana in 1972. Prairie Prince of The Tubes, bassist Ross Valory of Frumious Bandersnatch, and rhythm guitarist George Tickner rounded out the group. The band's first public appearance came at Winterland on New Year’s Eve, 1973.
In early 1973, Prairie Prince left to rejoin The Tubes, so Herbert brought in Aynsley Dunbar, a drummer who had played with John Lennon, Frank Zappa, John Mayall, Jeff Beck, Bonzo Dog Band, Mothers of Invention, Lou Reed, and David Bowie. On February 5, 1974, the new line-up made their debut at the Great American Music Hall and secured a contract with Columbia Records.
Journey’s self-titled debut album was issued in April, 1975. It was followed by Look Into the Future (January 1976) and Next (February 1977), their first LP to break inside the Top 100. Personnel changes took place during this period, but the core of Schon, Rolie, and bassist Ross Valory remained stable.
With album “Next” Journey tried with shorter tracks to increase accessibility, with guitarist Neal Schon singing lead on several tracks, but still didn't bring commercial success. With the mediocre sales of the album Next, the band was pressured by the studio to change direction and find a lead singer who could also, unlike the keyboard-bound Gregg Rolie, serve as a frontman. As a result, Journey enlisted Robert Fleischman. He was "discovered" by a CBS executive at the showcase, and within two weeks was flown out to San Francisco for an audition with Journey. Fleischman went out on the road with Journey that spring, but his tenure in the band was short-lived. Journey's manager, Herbie Herbert seemed unwilling to let the band's new direction play out immediately, and Fleischman often found himself relegated to shaking a tambourine while the band played its classic numbers to its diehard core of jazz-fusion fans. Fleischman also apparently clashed with other band members when he failed to finish new songs promptly.
Herbie Herbert had heard of singer Steve Perry.After hearing the singer's demo tape he knew he needed to make a change. After an interesting interlude in which Perry was covertly introduced to the band Fleischman was fired. Perry made his public debut with Journey at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco on October 28, 1977.
With the entrance of Steve Perry’s distinctive lead vocals, Journey took a giant step on their fourth album. INFINITY (released in 1978, produced by Roy Thomas Baker), featured their first three mid-chart singles, “Wheel In the Sky,” “Anytime,” and “Lights” b/w “Somethin’ To Hide,” along with the concert favorite, “Patiently.” The LP spent nearly two and a half years on the Billboard chart and went on to RIAA triple-platinum over the next decade.
In September 1978, drummer Aynsley Dunbar was fired. His replacement was jazz drummer Steve Smith.
The next album, EVOLUTION (1979) contained “Just the Same Way” and Journey’s first major Top 20 hit single, “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.” Again, this LP spent almost two years on the chart but took only five years to reach the RIAA’s three million sales mark.
1980`s Departure continued the band's upward climb, reaching No. 8 on the album charts. "Any Way You Want It" was a Top 25 single and received solid FM radio airplay. The band then flew to Japan to record the soundtrack Dream After Dream to the film of the same name at the invitation of the movie's director.
Journey was poised for large-scale success, and in early 1981 released a live album, Captured, recorded during a series of shows on the 1980 Departure tour. The first five songs on the album were taken from an August 8th show at the Forum in Montreal, Quebec. Two others were from one of the October dates in Tokyo and the rest came from a series of shows at Detroit's Cobo Hall. The tune, in tandem with the band’s popularity in their sixth year out, earned them their first Top 10 album, which has also gone on to triple-platinum over the years. This new expanded edition adds two bonus tracks: “Natural Thing” (B-side of “Don’t Stop Believin’”), and “Little Girl” .
Exhausted from extensive touring, Rolie departed, leaving a successful band for the second time in his career. He recommended Jonathan Cain of The Babys as his replacement. The band knew it was getting an incredible keyboardist, but they had no idea just how powerful Cain's songwriting skills were.
Their seventh studio album, the all-time best-selling ESCAPE (August 1981), was co-produced by former engineer Mike Stone (known for his studio work with Queen, Kiss, America and others) and Elson. The LP was released the first week of August 1981, coinciding with MTV’s historic sign-on of 12:01 a.m., August 1st. It was pumped up by the summer take-off single, the Top 5 “Who’s Crying Now,” which earned the band a prestigious spot opening for the Rolling Stones at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia on September 12th – the same date that ESCAPE hit #1, the band’s first and only appearance at the top of the Billboard pop charts. The hits "Who's Crying Now", "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Open Arms" all reached the Top 10 as singles. The band's polished sound, fronted by Perry's distinctive and soon-to-be widely imitated voice, became a popular radio presence.
Such success did not help Journey with rock critics. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide gave each of their albums only one star, with Dave Marsh writing that "Journey was a dead end for San Francisco area rock ... utter triviality ... banality ... reek[s] of exploitative cynicism." Marsh later would anoint Escape as one of the worst number-one albums of all time. Fairly or not, critics often lumped Journey together with other one-word-named "corporate rock" bands such as Boston, Foreigner, Asia, Survivor and so forth. Six years later in 1988, the lion’s share of singles on GREATEST HITS (three) belonged to ESCAPE; and a dozen years or so after that in 2001, The Essential Journey featured seven of the ten songs from ESCAPE.
In 1982, the band contributed the track "Only Solutions" to the Disney feature film Tron. Coincidentally, later that year the group became the first rock band to inspire a video game: both the Journey arcade game by Bally/Midway, and Journey Escape by Data Age for the Atari 2600.
Journey's next album, 1983's Frontiers, continued their commercial success. It reached No. 2 on the album charts and scored four hit singles, with "Faithfully" and "Separate Ways" reaching the highest at Nos. 12 and 8, respectively. Cain's presence continued to be felt on this album, both in his songwriting (he was the sole writer of "Faithfully") and in his increased use of synthesizers.
A short time later, the band received a request from a dying 16-year-old boy named Kenny Sykaluk, who was battling cystic fibrosis. Kenny wanted to meet the band. The band honored the request and not only visited Kenny at his bedside, but gave him a walkman with their newest single, "Only The Young". Kenny died less than a day later. In Journey's episode of Behind the Music, Jonathan Cain remembered the encounter in tears, while Neal Schon noted that it "changed my outlook on life."
Singer Steve Perry took more control over the studio direction of the band. Much to the dismay of manager Herbie Herbert, bass player Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith were fired from the band for musical and professional differences, and Journey released their 1986 album Raised on Radio as a trio--Perry, Schon, and Cain. Production was stop-and-go, due to the poor health of Perry's mother, Mary Perry. Overall, the album sold 2 million copies. A truncated tour followed, which featured Jackson on bass and Mike Baird on drums. Afterward, Perry, exhausted from the constant touring, grieving the death of his mother and the collapse of his six-year relationship with Sherrie "Oh Sherrie" Swafford, walked away from Journey in 1987, ending the band's ride at the top.
On 1988 14 years into Journey’s career – Columbia compiled their GREATEST HITS. A catalog phenomenon, it initially reached #10 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, where it stayed for 21 months. When the collection reached the requisite two-year plateau, it shifted over to the Catalog Albums chart, where it resided for over a decade, eventually passing 10-times platinum (RIAA diamond) certification. This new expanded edition adds one bonus track, “When You Love A Woman”.
In 1993, Kevin Chalfant (of The Storm) performed with members of Journey on a few shows, and Schon, Cain, Valory, Smith and Rolie briefly considered a reunion as Journey with Chalfant as lead singer, but that lineup did not come to fruition. That year, singer Steve Perry proposed rejoining the band on the condition that they seek new management. Herbie Herbert was fired and Irving Azoff retained, and in 1995 Perry once again became a member of Journey.They produced the reunion album Trial by Fire in 1996, including the hit single, "When You Love a Woman," which was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Journey continues its reign at the very top of the short list of second generation San Francisco rock bands whose music has truly stood the test of time. With over 43 million records sold in the U.S. alone, Journey’s rich archive of CDs and DVDs is one of the cornerstones of the Columbia Records and Columbia/Legacy catalog.
Following the success of Trial by Fire, the members of Journey prepared for a much-anticipated tour. The media hype and the overall excitement surrounding the band was intense but it all came to a grinding halt when Perry injured his hip while hiking in Hawaii. Perry likely needed hip replacement surgery. He couldn't perform on stage without the surgery, but was unwilling to come to a decision. In 1998, the band pressed Perry to make a decision. When Perry refused, Cain and Schon decided to continue the band without him. Drummer Steve Smith decided to leave the band at that time, returning to his own band, Vital Information.
The drumming position was filled by Deen Castronovo. The lead vocalist position was filled by Steve Augeri. Augeri was working at The Gap in New York City as a store manager. He received a phone call from Schon, who had heard a tape of Augeri's vocals. Schon invited him to audition for the band and, despite having not sung much in recent months, he impressed Journey members enough to land the gig. Some fans refused to accept Journey without Steve Perry. Others went so far as to become serious Steve Augeri fanatics, blaming Perry for the band's decline in popularity. But most fans reluctantly accepted the change and accepted Steve Augeri.
Journey's new incarnation promptly went to work recording a track for the soundtrack to the movie Armageddon called "Remember Me". In 2001, they released their next studio album, Arrival. "All the Way" became a minor adult contemporary hit from the album.
In 2003, the band released a four-track CD titled "Red 13," with an album cover design chosen through a fan contest. In 2005, the band embarked on their 30th anniversary tour, giving away free promotional copies of their latest studio album, Generations, to numbered ticket holders at most concerts, and eventually released the album commercially that October. The shows, which were three hours long, were divided into two sets: the first set included material from the early years (some of it being played live for the first tim The 2004 edition of the Rolling Stone Album Guide presented a critical view of the band, calling Journey the perfect karaoke act and giving none of their studio albums more than two-and-a-half stars (out of five). e in decades), while the second was based on material from Escape and onward.
Journey gained new attention in the 2000s due to Randy Jackson, who since his Journey involvement had become a successful recording-industry figure and then an American Idol judge. Film clips of Jackson with the band on tour were shown, and various contestants on Idol attempted to measure up vocally by singing Journey numbers. The best remembered of these attempts were Clay Aiken's take on "Open Arms" in a key semifinal round of the show and Elliott Yamin's praiseworthy performance of the same song in the 2006 semifinal round.
In 2003, Journey was inducted into the San Francisco Music Hall of Fame, with Gregg Rolie, Jonathan Cain, Steve Smith, Ross Valory, Neal Schon, Aynsley Dunbar, Deen Castronovo, and Steve Augeri appearing. Two years later, on January 21, 2005, Journey received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Steve Perry made a surprise appearance at the ceremony. Relations with the rest of the group improved, but Perry said there was no chance of rejoining his former band in the foreseeable future. In all, ten current or former Journey bandmates appeared that day: besides Perry, there were Augeri, Cain, Castronovo, Dunbar, Fleischman, Schon, Smith, George Tickner, and Valory.
Judy Torres released a cover of Journey's "Faithfully" as a single CD in late 2005. And on June 10, 2006 Sirius Satellite Radio named Journey's "Faithfully" the top prom song of the '80s. The anthem "Don't Stop Believin'" became a public rallying cry for the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox after they fell behind 3 to 0 against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series and again for the 2005 World Series champion Chicago White Sox. In December, 2005, "Don't Stop Believin'" rose to #13 on the "Hot Digital Songs" chart, and was nominated for two categories on VH1's Big in '05 awards show. In July, 2007, the song was featured in the final scene of the enormously popular series finale of the HBO show, The Sopranos. Petra Haden released a cover of the song on a compilation album called Guilt By Assocation in September, 2007, and that November, Blender Magazine named it one of the Greatest Songs Ever.
In July, 2006, Steve Augeri began experiencing problems with his voice and was forced to step down. He announced he was temporarily leaving the tour due to a throat infection which required that he rest his vocal cords. The band hired Jeff Scott Soto to fill in for him. On December 19, 2006, the band issued a statement on their official website naming Soto their new permanent lead singer. Then, in an about-face, on June 12, 2007, Journey announced that Soto is no longer the lead singer, and said that they were looking to move in a new direction. As of November, 2007, a new lead singer had yet to be named. Longtime friend of the band and former Storm frontman, Kevin Chalfant, had been considered a strong candidate for the position. The band briefly gave serious consideration to 36-year-old Jeremey Hunsicker of Roanoke, Virginia, the frontman for the Journey tribute band Frontiers, but Hunsicker soon turned down the position. Other conjectures included Hugo Valenti, the frontman for the New York-based Journey tribute band Evolution. In September, a picture surfaced of the band with little-known Filipino singer Arnel Pineda. Steve Perry himself could not be ruled out for the position. Although Perry had stated numerous times that he would not return, he had been quoted repeatedly saying "never say never" in regards to returning to the band. This possibility seemed highly unlikely after June 21, 2007, when Steve posted a message on Fanasylum.com squashing these rumors, saying that he had "no such plans whatsoever to do that."