Tuesday, July 9, 2013
TAKE TWO: JOURNEY
Journey first began as a back-up band before eventually evolving in to one of the most globally successful American rock bands in music history. Recent interest in the band has grown ever since the brilliant use of their song, "Don't Stop Believin'" during the final moments of the last episode of the television series, "The Sopranos".
The band was formed in San Francisco in 1973 and first called The Golden Gate Rhythm Section with their original goal was to support local musicians. Former members of Santana and The Tubes made up the group including keyboardist and vocalist, Greg Rollie and guitarist Neal Schon (who is the only original member still performing with the band). After a roadie came up with the name, "Journey", they moved to a jazz-fusion sound and signed with Columbia Records in 1974. Their first three albums didn't garner much attention and soon the label wanted Journey to change their musical direction to focus more on a pop/rock sound and to find another lead vocalist. They decided to try this approach and hired Robert Fleischman to perform vocal duties. He only lasted a year before Steve Perry was brought in as the new lead singer in 1977.
Infinity" was released in 1978 and became a definite step in the right direction. The singles, "Lights" and "Wheel In The Sky" both hit the charts and the album would be their first million seller. More hit albums followed with Journey's biggest commercial success was "Escape" in 1981. Four singles reached the top twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 with the highest charting was "Open Arms" peaking at number two. "Escape" reached number one on the album chart and went on to sell over nine million copies in the U.S. alone.
After the tour to support their "Frontiers" album, bassist, Ross Valory and drummer, Steve Smith were fired from Journey in 1986. Session players filled in during the recording of their follow-up, "Raised On Radio" (including future "American Idol" panelist, Randy Jackson) and went on the world tour with the band. The album was another multi-platinum seller and Journey was in the middle of their tour when Steve Perry had to take extended time off due to a family illness. The band came back together (including Valory and Smith) to record "Trial By Fire" in 1996 but Perry soon developed his own health issues and decided he needed to leave Journey for good by 1998.
Journey have brought in several singers to fill in for Perry over the years with Amel Pineda currently in the role of lead vocalist. Their last release to date was "Eclipse" in 2011 and the band is still a very popular touring act.
Listen to two of my favorite songs by Journey:
"Wheel In The Sky" - Journey (1978)
"Anyway You Want It" - Journey (1980)
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