For this Saturday, I thought some Journey might be good. Enjoy!
The release of Eclipse marks the latest chapter in a rock ‘n’ roll saga that started more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. Guitarist Neal Schon left home at 15 years old to join Santana. In early 1973, Walter “Herbie” Herbert-a guitar tech and later manager for Santana and Journey-floated the idea about forming a new band around Schon, whom he called “the quintessential guitar expressionist of the time.” Joining with two members of the popular local act Frumious Bandersnatch-former Steve Miller Band bassist Ross Valory and guitarist George Tickner-as well as drummer Prairie Prince, the all-instrumental act began performing as the Golden Gate Rhythm Section.
The quartet earned a local following, one that was strong enough for San Francisco FM station KSAN to hold a contest to see if a better name could be given to the GGRS. The contest yielded the moniker Journey. Santana keyboardist Gregg Rolie joined the band in the summer of 1973, and this first edition of Journey developed a largely instrumental progressive rock sound. When Prince left to pursue a career with The Tubes in early 1974, Journey recruited British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had performed with Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa and John Mayall. Later that year, Tickner left the band to attend medical school, leaving all guitar duties in the hands of Schon.
Columbia Records signed the group in November 1974, and each of the band’s first three albums-Journey (1975), Look Into the Future (1976) and Next (1977)-charted higher than the previous release. The band embarked on a grueling touring schedule, staying on the road nine months per year performing music that Schon has referred to as “a rock ‘n’ roll version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra.” But sales were not as strong as the label had hoped, and the band was asked to hire a full-time lead singer.
The first vocalist brought in was Robert Fleischman, who joined the band for a summer tour in 1977 and contributed songs including “Wheel In the Sky” and “Winds of March.” But Fleischman left the band and was soon replaced by a young Steve Perry, who was brought into the band on the recommendation of Herbert. After hearing Perry’s demo with his previous band, Alien Project, Journey made Perry their new lead singer.
Journey’s fourth album Infinity was their first with Perry, and was produced by Roy Thomas Baker (Rolling Stones, Queen, The Cars). It immediately went Platinum after its April 1978 release, remaining on the charts for more than two years, and has sold more than 3 million copies to date.
After Dunbar joined Jefferson Starship in 1978, Journey brought their former drum roadie Steve Smith into the fold, adding his expert jazz-fusion chops to their signature sound for 1979′s Evolution, which would become their second million-selling album. In October of that year, Journey scored their first Top 30 single with “Lovin, Touchin’, Squeezin’.” Keeping up a prolific output in the studio and on the road, the band waited less than a year to release Departure, which became their first Top 10 album and boasted the lead single “Any Way You Want It,” which reached # 8 on the Billboard album chart. A subsequent live double album, Captured, became their fourth consecutive Platinum disc.
During this time, Rolie departed and was replaced by Jonathan Cain of The Babys. His songwriting talents joined those of Schon and Perry resulting in Journey scoring the biggest hits of their career. 1981′s Escape was the band’s first #1 album and spent more than a year in the Top 40, eventually becoming certified eight times Platinum. That album produced three Top 10 hits that have become the best-known songs in Journey’s repertoire: “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Who’s Crying Now” and “Open Arms.” The latter track, which marked the first songwriting collaboration between Cain and Perry, quickly became the band’s signature song and would years later be covered by many artists.
By the early 1980s, Journey had become bonafide superstars, known as much for their music and MTV videos as their visually spectacular concerts that revolutionized the use of big screens and computerized lighting systems. In 1983, Frontiers reached #2 on the Billboard album chart, held back from the top spot only by Michael Jackson’sThriller. Between 1983 and 1986 the band landed seven Top 20 hits, including “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Girl Can’t Help It” and “Only the Young,” their song for the film Vision Quest.
Journey disbanded in 1989, as certain members pursued other projects, though the group reunited briefly in 1993 (minus Perry) for a Bay Area concert honoring former manager Herbert, which raised funds for the Oakland-based Thunder Road teenage drug and alcohol treatment facility. Three years later, Journey reunited again for 1996′s Trial By Fire, which found Perry, Schon, and Cain, collaborating on a dozen songs written in just two weeks. Debuting at #3, the album boasted the hit single “When You Love a Woman,” which garnered the band their first Grammy nomination. Perry developed health problems that led to the cancellation of the group’s scheduled tour, and he eventually left Journey permanently.
Schon, Valory and Cain decided the band would forge ahead, recruiting new members Steve Augeri on vocals and former Bad English member Deen Castronovo on drums. Their first recording together was “Remember Me” for the Armageddon movie soundtrack, followed by 2001′s full-length Arrival-Journey’s 11th studio album. A 30th Anniversary tour followed the release of Generations in 2005, featuring three-hour-plus shows that included material from throughout the band’s career. Later the same year, the group also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2006, Augeri’s eight years with the band came to an end. Journey was still looking for their signature sound when, late one night, Schon came across a YouTube clip featuring then-unknown Arnel Pineda performing with a cover band called the Zoo at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Philippines. Pineda’s tone, power and ability to sing a wide variety of material, including a couple of Journey classics, impressed Schon. After watching all the available videos he could find with Pineda, Neal made an excited midnight phone call to share the news with his bandmate Cain. Soon thereafter, Schon personally contacted Pineda, who initially thought it was a prank and didn’t believe that he was talking to a founding member of one of the biggest bands in rock history. But six weeks later, after spontaneously singing a Journey song for Philippines immigrations officers to prove the reason for his trip, Pineda arrived in San Francisco to meet with Journey. Within a few songs, he had secured the job.
Enjoy your Saturday night folks! The link post will come tomorrow!