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Saturday, July 6, 2024

Journey through time. A look at the bands history

 The Evolution of Journey: A Saga of Success, Strife, and Rebirth

 Origins and Early Years

Journey's roots trace back to 1973, forming from the ashes of Santana's rhythm section and Frumious Bandersnatch, a late '60s Bay Area rock band. The original lineup included Neal Schon (guitar) and Gregg Rolie (keyboard and vocals) from Santana, along with George Tickner (rhythm guitar), Ross Valory (bass), and Prairie Prince (drums). Initially, the band's music leaned heavily into progressive rock, a reflection of its members' backgrounds in jazz and rock fusion. However, Prairie Prince soon left the band to rejoin The Tubes, leading to the recruitment of Aynsley Dunbar as their drummer.

Their first three albums—*Journey* (1975), *Look into the Future* (1976), and *Next* (1977)—did not achieve significant commercial success. These albums showcased their experimental side but lacked the defining sound that would later catapult them into stardom. The band, recognizing the need for a more accessible sound and a strong frontman, made a pivotal change in their lineup.

The Arrival of Steve Perry

In 1977, Journey added Steve Perry as their lead vocalist, marking a significant shift towards a more melodic, rock-oriented style. Perry's powerful and emotive voice became a cornerstone of Journey's sound. The band's subsequent albums, *Infinity* (1978), *Evolution* (1979), and *Departure* (1980), saw a substantial increase in popularity, featuring hits like "Lights," "Wheel in the Sky," and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'."

With Perry on board, Journey's commercial success skyrocketed. The release of *Escape* in 1981 cemented their status as rock icons. The album included chart-topping hits such as "Don't Stop Believin'," "Open Arms," and "Who's Crying Now," songs that remain staples in classic rock. The lineup during this golden era also included Jonathan Cain, who replaced Rolie in 1980 and contributed significantly to the band's songwriting and signature keyboard sound.

Lineup Changes and Internal Strife

Despite their success, Journey experienced significant internal conflicts, particularly between Perry and Schon. These tensions led to Aynsley Dunbar's departure in 1978, replaced by Steve Smith. Journey continued to evolve, releasing *Frontiers* in 1983, which included hits like "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" and "Faithfully." However, behind the scenes, the strain between Perry's desire for more ballads and Schon's inclination towards a harder rock sound grew.

After a successful tour, Perry's dissatisfaction culminated in his decision to leave the band temporarily in 1987. This hiatus allowed Journey members to explore solo projects. Schon formed Bad English with Cain, while Perry released his second solo album, *For the Love of Strange Medicine*, in 1994.

Journey regrouped in the mid-'90s, with Perry returning for the album *Trial by Fire* (1996). Despite its success, a planned tour was canceled due to Perry's hip injury, which required surgery. Perry's reluctance to undergo surgery immediately led to more tension, and in 1998, he was effectively ousted from the band.

Post-Perry Era and Continued Evolution

Journey faced the daunting task of replacing Perry. They initially recruited Steve Augeri, who provided vocals from 1998 to 2006, and then Jeff Scott Soto for a brief period. In 2007, the band found a new frontman in Arnel Pineda, a Filipino singer whose powerful voice and stage presence revitalized Journey. His debut with the band on the album *Revelation* (2008) was well-received, marking a successful new chapter for Journey.

Throughout these years, Journey's lineup saw other changes as well. Drummer Deen Castronovo replaced Steve Smith in 1998 but left in 2015 due to legal issues, with Smith eventually returning to the band in 2016. Bassist Ross Valory and keyboardist Jonathan Cain remained key members, contributing to the band's enduring legacy.

Solo Ventures and Steve Perry's Comeback

Steve Perry's departure from Journey allowed him to pursue solo projects, notably releasing the successful album *Street Talk* (1984), featuring hits like "Oh Sherrie" and "Foolish Heart." His unique voice continued to resonate with fans, even outside of Journey. After years away from the spotlight, Perry made a highly anticipated comeback with his solo album *Traces* in 2018, a deeply personal record 

reflecting his life experiences and struggles.

Journey legacy and Current Status

Journey's legacy is defined by their ability to adapt and evolve while maintaining their core sound. Their anthems continue to inspire generations of fans. Despite internal conflicts and lineup changes, the band has managed to sustain their popularity and relevance in the rock world.

As of today, Journey remains active, touring and recording new music. The band's resilience and willingness to embrace change, combined with a catalog of timeless hits, ensure their place in rock history. The journey of Journey is a testament to the enduring power of music to overcome personal and professional challenges, bringing people together across decades and continents.

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