Publicity photo of American Rock Band Journey. Source: Travis Shinn, Wikimedia Commons

How the band Journey formed from collected talent

What are they famous for?

Journey is famous for being an American rock band that has spawned a number of successful singles. The band has achieved diamond, platinum and gold status with a number of their albums and had eighteen top 40 singles over the course of their career, including two number one hits. The band was originally made up of a number of ex-members of the bands Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch when it was originally formed. The band music has evolved a number of times since 1973 and their sound has changed over the years. The band has sold more than 48 million albums and is one of the best-selling bands in history. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

The band is referenced regularly in pop culture and their music has been featured on many occasions on films, television series, video games and Broadway. The song ‘Don Stop Believin’ in particular was featured in the last episode of The Sopranos and was also featured in Glee and Family Guy. The song was also used as the anthem for the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and for the San Francisco Giants World Series in 2010. The song was also performed during the musical ‘Rock of Ages’.

The band first began as a progressive rock band and later evolved their sound to include more pop sounds mixed in with their original rock sound.

The band has been highly commercially successful but has also regularly faced criticism, often around being overly commercial.

Career Beginnings

The band originally formed under the direction of Santana manger Herbie Herbert. The band was originally formed with the intention of being a back-up band for Bay Area musicians but the band quickly moved on from being a ‘backup’ band. The original members of the band included Neal Schon, Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, George Tickner and Prairie Prince. The name ‘Journey’ was suggested by roadie John Villaneuva. The band performed for the first time at the Winterland Ballroom in 1973. Prairie Prince left the band and was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar, the new band line-up performed at the Great American Music Hall. The band released their debut album in 1975 and their second album in 1976, neither album was commercially successful.

The band hired Robert Fleischman and began to change musical direction at the request of their label. They wrote the song ‘Wheel in the Sky’ with the help of Fleischman but he remained with the band for less than a year. In 1977 the band hired the lead singer Steve Perry and the band released the album ‘Infinity’ which went platinum. The album proceeded to go on a tour in 1980 and recorded the live album ‘Captured’.

Career Breakthrough

The band recorded their album ‘Escape’ which was released in 1981 and quickly became successful. The album went to number one and was certified nine times platinum. The album included the hits ‘Who’s Cryin’ Now’, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ and ‘Open Arms’. The bands next album ‘Frontiers’ was also commercially successful and reach number two on the charts. It generated a number of Top 40 hits include ‘Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)’,’ Faithfully’, ‘Send her My Love’ and ‘After the Fall’. The band went on a stadium tour and recorded a documentary film whilst on the road. After the stadium tour the band decided to go on hiatus whilst members of the band pursued other projects.

During this time the band released the songs ‘Two of a Kind’ ad ‘Only the Young’ the latter of which reached number nine on the Billboard charts. The band recorded the album ‘Raised on Radio’ in 1986, the album went multi-platinum and included a number of top 20 singles including ‘Be Good to Yourself’, ‘I’ll Be Alright Without You’ and ‘Girl Can’t Help It’. The band began touring but Perry was unwilling to participate and the remainder of the tour was cancelled and they went on indefinite hiatus. During their hiatus Schon and Cain began collaborating with other artists such as Jimmy Barnes, Michael Bolton, John Waite and Ricky Phillips as part of the group called Bad English. Steve Smith joined the jazz band Vital Information and Steps Ahead, he also joined up with Ross Valory and Gregg Rolie to create the band ‘The Storm’ alongside the singer Kevin Chalfant and guitarist Josh Ramos. The band played a number of songs together in 1991 during a tribute concert.

Schon and Castronovo met up to form the glam metal band Hardline in 1991 after Bad English broke up.

Continuing Career

Journey continuing career
JOURNEY, Live in Minneapolis, US on September 16, 2008. From left to right: Ross Valory, Jonathan Cain, Arnel Pineda, Neal Schon, Deen Castronovo. Source: Matt Becker, Wikimedia Commons.

The band released three compilation albums between 1987 and 1995 which included a Greatest Hits album (the best-selling record for the band to this day – selling between 500,000 to 1,000,000 copies each year). The greatest hits album spent 300 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts.

The band reformed in 1995 with band manager Irvin Azoff who had previously managed the Eagles now on board. They released their album ‘Trial By Fire’ in 1996 which included the single ‘When You Love A Woman’ which became a hit and peaked at number twelve on the US charts. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award, the album also included the hit songs ‘Message of Love’, ‘Can’t  Tame the Lion’ and ‘If He Should Break Your Heart’.

Any plans for a tour where ended after Perry discovered he had a degenerative bone condition and that he required a hip replacement surgery. He later announced that he would be leaving the band for good and the band began their search for a new lead singer.

In 1998 the band began auditioning for the lead singer candidates for the lead singer position and eventually chose Steve Augeri. In 2002 they released the CD ‘Red 13’ with cover art designed by fans. The band embarked on a 30th anniversary tour in 2005 and came out with a new album ‘Generations’ which featured each member of the band performing lead vocals on one song each. The band released the album ‘Arrival’ in 2000 in Japan and 2001 in the US. The band was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005.

Steve Augeri was fired from the band in 2006 because he was suffering from vocal attrition. Jeff Soto stepped in to fill in for a number of months but in 2007 he left the band.

The band once again started a search for a lead singer in 2007 and hired Arnel Pineda. Their album ‘Revelation’ debuted at the number five spot on the charts and remained in the top 20 for six weeks. The bands 2008 tour was one of the top grossing tours for the year. The bands next album ‘Eclipse’ was released in 2011 and debuted at number thirteen; they also released a greatest hits album in the same year.

The band lost their drummer Deen Castronovo after he was arrested for assault by police after injuring a woman. He was subsequently fired from the band and he was replaced by Omar Hakim for the bands tour in 2015. In 2016 the band welcomed Steve Smith who has been with the band during their Escape, Frontier and Trial By Fire albums.

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