Journey Biography

From the late '70s to the mid-'80s, few rock acts permeated the music scene as did Journey. Whether by choice or through involuntary osmosis, you know their music--an extensive catalog of chart-topping power ballads and party-pop that helped define a decade.

Formed in 1973 in San Francisco, Journey began as a meandering jazz-rock outfit featuring two former members of Santana, guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Gregg Rolie. The group floundered through three largely ignored albums, prompting a change of direction signaled by the introduction of vocalist Steve Perry. In 1978, the new-look Journey debuted with Infinity, which went platinum on the strength of two hit singles that served as a blueprint for their two-pronged attack. "Wheel In The Sky" was a thumping anthem that showcased Perry's soaring tenor and Schon's driving riffs, while the San Francisco ode "Lights" was the first in a long series of sentimental senior prom ballads that helped make cigarette lighters a necessity at Journey's concerts.


Journey cranked out hit after hit over the next several years, playing packed arenas around the world. Their commercial peak came with 1981's Escape, which featured "Don't Stop Believin'," "Open Arms," and "Stone In Love" and sold a whopping 9 million copies. Perry took time off to record a successful solo album, Street Talk, in 1983, but when he returned, the band was overcome by power struggles and infighting. Things began to disintegrate, and by the time they recorded Raised On Radio in 1986, all that remained of Journey were Perry, Schon, and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, formerly of the Babys, who replaced Rolie in 1980. Journey disbanded until 1996, when they mounted a comeback with Trial By Fire, which stuck to virtually the same sound of a decade earlier and, mercifully, featured no techno remixes of their '80s hits. In recent years, Journey has sustained itself mostly as a highly lucrative classic-rock oldies road show, and while Perry is no longer in the fold, soundalike vocalist Steve Augeri, fulfilling what seems to have been a lifelong ambition, keeps Journey's hard-pop aesthetic alive and well.

While Escape was Journey's biggest seller, the albums leading up to it, with their lingering traces of the Santana connection, better stand the test of time, particularly Infinity and Evolution. Their 1988 Greatest Hits package has sold over 10 million copies and should be placed in a time capsule with a Pac-Man machine and Ronald Reagan so that future generations will better understand that strange time in our history.

Journey Biography