Journey PhotoFORMED: 1973, San Francisco, CA

During its 14-year existence (1973-1987), Journey altered its musical approach and its personnel extensively while becoming a top touring and recording band. The only constant factor was guitarist Neal Schon (b. Feb. 27, 1954), a music prodigy who had been a member of Santana in 1971-1972. The original unit, which was named in a contest on KSAN-FM in San Francisco, featured Schon, bassist Ross Valory, drummer Prairie Prince (replaced by Aynsley Dunbar), and guitarist George Tickner (who left after the first album). Another former Santana member, keyboard player and singer Gregg Rolie, joined shortly afterwards. This lineup recorded Journey (1974), the first of three moderate-selling jazz-rock albums given over largely to instrumentals.

By 1977, however, the group decided it needed a strong vocalist/frontman and hired Steve Perry (b. Jan. 22, 1953). The results were immediately felt on the fourth album, Infinity (1978), which had sold a million copies by the end of the year. (By this time, Dunbar had been replaced by Steve Smith.) Evolution (1979) was similarly successful, as was Departure (after which Rolie was replaced by Jonathan Cain). After a live album, Captured (1981), Journey released Escape, which broke them through to the top ranks of pop groups by scoring three Top Ten hit singles, all ballads featuring Perry's smooth tenor: "Who's Crying Now," "Don't Stop Believin'," and "Open Arms." The album topped the charts and had sold seven million copies by 1989.

Frontiers (1983), featuring the hit "Separate Ways," was another big success, after which Perry released a successful solo album, Street Talk (1984). When the group got back together to make a new album, Valory and Smith were no longer in the lineup, and Raised on Radio (1986) was made by Schon, Perry, and Cain, who added other musicians for a tour.

Following the Raised on Radio tour, Journey disbanded. Perry went into a prolonged period of seclusion as Cain formed Bad English with vocalist John Waite. Bad English had several hit singles, including the number one "When I See You Smile," before breaking up. Perry returned to recording in 1994, releasing For the Love of Strange Medicine. Although the album was a minor hit, it was a commercial disappointment, In 1996, Perry, Schon, Cain, Valory, and Smith staged a Journey reunion, releasing the million-selling Trial by Fire, which featured the gold-selling Top 20 single "When You Love a Woman," and going on tour. Perry and Smith opted out of the reunion after the tour, but Journey continued, hiring a new lead singer, Steve Augeri (formerly of Tall Stories), and a new drummer, Bad English's Deen Castronovo, who made their debuts on "Remember Me," a track on the 1998 Armageddon soundtrack. The band next re-convened in 2001. Arrival, Journey's 11th new studio album, was released in April, followed by a national tour. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide