Steve Perry (Journey)

JourneyAmerican singer and songwriter Stephen Ray “Steve” Perry was born on this day January 22, in 1949. He is best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Journey from 1977–1987 and 1995–1998. Perry also had a successful solo career throughout the late 1980s and early ’90s. Perry’s voice has garnered acclaim from musical peers and music publications. Queen’s Brian May described Perry as “a truly luminous singer, in my opinion — a voice in a million”; producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson opined that “Other than Robert Plant, there’s no singer in rock that even came close to Steve Perry”. Perry was ranked #76th in “The 100 Greatest Singers of All-Time” by Rolling Stone, who lauded his “technical skills, pure tone and passionate sincerity.”


Perry grew up interested in music, as his father, Ray Perry, was a vocalist. When Perry was twelve years old, he heard Sam Cooke’s song “Cupid” on his mother’s car radio and This inspired Perry to become a singer. During Perry’s teen years he spent his time drumming in the marching band as well as in extracurricular bands. He attended College of the Sequoias, for a short time after graduation, where he took first tenor in the choir there. Perry’s mother encouraged his musical growth during this time. Perry fronted the band Alien Project in his mid-twenties, but nearly gave up music when the bassist of that band, Richard Michaels, was killed in an automobile accident. Perry decided not to continue his singing career, but at the urging of his mother, Perry answered a call from Walter “Herbie” Herbert, manager of the struggling San Francisco-based band, Journey.

Herbert had been given a demo of an Alien Project song, “If You Need Me, Call Me,” and was told that the young singer would be a great replacement for Journey’s current frontman, Robert Fleischman. Perry brought a completely new pop sound to the band’s music, despite grumblings from his new bandmates and fans of Journey’s former progressive rock sound. He made his public debut on October 28, 1977 in San Francisco, and received a mixed reception, but as Journey began to garner more radio airplay and media buzz over Infinity, Perry’s arrival was accepted. He went on to provide lead vocals on nine of Journey’s albums: Infinity (1978), Evolution (1979), Departure (1980), Dream, After Dream (1980, a Japanese movie soundtrack), Captured (1980, a live album), Escape (1981, which went to #1 on the Billboard charts), Frontiers (1983), Raised on Radio (1986), and Trial By Fire (1996). The single “Open Arms,” from Escape, was their biggest hit single, residing for six weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Perry was the unmistakable voice of Journey throughout his time with the band. and in 2010 he was awarded the title of “greatest rock singer” in WROQ’s 2010 March Bracket Brawl for the greatest rock singer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s