Sales have resulted in two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, and one diamond album (including seven consecutive multi-platinum albums between 1978 and 1987). They have had eighteen Top 40 singles in the US, six of which reached the Top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and two of which reached No. 1 on other Billboard charts, and a No. 6 hit on the UK Singles Chart in "Don't Stop Believin'". Originally a progressive rock band, Journey was described by Allmusic as having cemented a reputation as "one of America's most beloved (and sometimes hated) commercial rock/pop bands" by 1978, when they redefined their sound by embracing traditional pop arrangements on their fourth album, Infinity. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Journey has sold 47 million albums in the US, making them the 28th best selling band. Their worldwide sales have reached over 80 million albums.[ A 2005 USA Today opinion poll named Journey the fifth best American rock band in history. Their songs have become arena rock staples and are still played on rock radio stations across the world.
Formation, 1973–76The original members of Journey came together in San Francisco in 1973 under the auspices of former Santana manager Herbie Herbert. Originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and intended to serve as a backup group for established Bay Area artists, the band included recent Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals. Bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner, both of Frumious Bandersnatch, rounded out the group. Prairie Prince of The Tubes served as drummer. The band quickly abandoned the original "backup group" concept and developed a distinctive jazz fusion style. After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, roadie John Villaneuva suggested the name "Journey." The band's first public appearance came at the Winterland Ballroom on New Year’s Eve, 1973. Prairie Prince rejoined The Tubes shortly thereafter, and the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had recently worked with John Lennon and Frank Zappa. On February 5, 1974, the new line-up made their debut at the Great American Music Hall and secured a recording contract with Columbia Records.
Journey released their eponymous first album in 1975, and rhythm guitarist Tickner left the band before they cut their second album, Look into the Future (1976). Neither album achieved significant sales, so Schon, Valory, and Dunbar took singing lessons in an attempt to add vocal harmonies to Rolie's lead. The following year's Next contained shorter tracks with more vocals, and featured Neal Schon as lead singer on two of the songs.
New musical direction, 1977-80Journey's album sales did not improve and Columbia Records requested that they change their musical style and add a frontman, with whom keyboardist Gregg Rolie could share lead vocal duties. The band hired Robert Fleischman and transitioned to a more popular style, akin to that of Foreigner and Boston. Journey went on tour with Fleischman in 1977 and together the new incarnation of the band wrote the hit "Wheel in the Sky", but fans were lukewarm to the change and management differences resulted in Fleischman leaving within the year.
In late 1977, Journey hired Steve Perry as their new lead singer. Perry added a clean, tenor sound and the band became a true pop act. Their fourth album, Infinity (1978), reached No. 21 on the album charts and gave the band their first RIAA-certified platinum album plus hit singles "Lights" (#68 U.S.) and "Wheel in the Sky" (#57 U.S.).
In late 1978, manager Herbie Herbert fired drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who joined Bay Area rivals Jefferson Starship shortly thereafter. He was replaced by Berklee-trained jazz drummer Steve Smith. Perry, Schon, Rolie, Smith, and Valory recorded 1979's Evolution, which gave the band their first Billboard Hot 100 Top 20 single, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" (#16); and 1980's Departure, which reached No. 8 on the album charts and included the top-25 hit "Any Way You Want It".
Journey's new-found success brought the band an almost entirely new fan base. During the 1980 Departure world tour, the band recorded a live album, Captured. They also recorded the soundtrack to the film Dream, After Dream while in Japan.
Keyboardist Gregg Rolie now left a successful band for the second time in his career. Keyboardist Stevie "Keys" Roseman was brought in to record the lone studio track for Captured, "The Party's Over (Hopelessly in Love)," but Rolie recommended pianist Jonathan Cain of The Babys as the permanent replacement. With Cain's replacement of Rolie's Hammond B-3 organ with his own synthesizers, the band was poised for a new decade in which they would achieve their greatest musical success.
Height of popularity, 1981–83Journey released their eighth and biggest-selling studio album, Escape, in 1981. The album, which has thus far sold nine times platinum, went to number one on the album charts that year, and included three top-ten hits: "Who's Cryin' Now", "Don't Stop Believin'", and "Open Arms". The last is Journey's highest-charting single to date, staying at No.2 for six consecutive weeks and ranking at No.34 on Billboard's 1982 year-end Hot 100. MTV videotaped one of their two sold-out shows in Houston on November 6, 1981 in front of over 20,000 fans.
Capitalizing on their success, the band recorded radio commercials for Budweiser and sold rights to their likenesses and music for use in two video games: the Journey arcade game by Bally/Midway and Journey Escape by Data Age for the Atari 2600.
This success was met with piqued criticism. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide gave each of the band's albums only one star, with Dave Marsh writing that "Journey was a dead end for San Francisco area rock." Marsh later would anoint Escape as one of the worst number-one albums of all time.
Journey's next album, 1983's Frontiers, continued their commercial success, reaching No. 2 on the album charts, selling nearly six million copies. The album generated four Top 40 hits, "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)", which reached No. 8, "Faithfully", which reached No. 12, "Send Her My Love", and "After the Fall", both of which reached No. 23. By this time Journey had become one of the top touring and recording bands in the world. During the subsequent stadium tour, the band contracted with NFL Films to record a video documentary of their life on the road, Frontiers and Beyond. Scenes from the documentary were shot at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with more than 80,000 fans in attendance.
Break-up, 1984–94After the Frontiers stadium tour, Journey decided to take some time off. Lead singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon both pursued solo projects between 1982 and 1985. The band released two songs previously intended for Frontiers – "Ask the Lonely", on the soundtrack to the movie Two of a Kind in 1983; and "Only the Young", on the soundtrack to the movie Vision Quest in 1985. "Only the Young" reached No.9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. When Journey finally returned to record their 1986 album Raised on Radio, bass player Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith were fired from the band for musical and professional differences. Studio musicians handled the two vacant slots, including future American Idol judge Randy Jackson and established session player Larrie Londin. The album went multiplatinum, selling over two million copies. It also produced four top 20 singles, "Be Good to Yourself" (#9), "I'll Be Alright Without You" (#14), "Girl Can't Help It", and "Suzanne," both of which reached No. 17. The tour featured Jackson on bass and Mike Baird on drums, and was videotaped by MTV and made into a documentary, which included interviews with the current band members and concert footage of the Mountain Aire Festival show in Angels Camp, California. But with Perry unable or unwilling to remain actively involved, the band canceled the rest of the tour and went on an extended, indefinite hiatus in 1987.
Schon and Cain would spend the rest of 1987 collaborating with artists such as Jimmy Barnes and Michael Bolton before teaming up with Cain's ex-Babys bandmates John Waite and Ricky Phillips to form the supergroup Bad English with drummer Deen Castronovo in 1988. Steve Smith devoted his time to his jazz bands, Vital Information and Steps Ahead, and teamed up with Ross Valory and original Journey keyboardist Gregg Rolie to create The Storm with singer Kevin Chalfant and guitarist Josh Ramos. After the collapse of Bad English in 1991, Schon and Castronovo would form the glam metal band Hardline with brothers Johnny and Joey Gioeli, before joining Paul Rodgers' backing band in 1994. Cain would spend the next few years focusing on his solo career.
Between 1987 and 1995, Columbia Records released three Journey compilations, including the 1988 greatest hits album, which remains the band's best-selling record. It continues to sell 500,000 to 1,000,000 copies per year, and as of December 2008 was the 6th best selling greatest hits package in the United States.
Reunion, 1995–97In 1991 Perry, Schon, and Cain briefly reunited to perform "Faithfully" and "Lights" at the tribute concert for promoter Bill Graham. In October 1993, Kevin Chalfant (of The Storm) performed with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain at a roast for manager Herbie Herbert. After that, Schon, Cain, Valory, Smith and Rolie briefly considered reuniting the band with Chalfant as lead singer. But in 1995, Steve Perry agreed to a reunion on the condition that they seek new management. Herbie Herbert was fired, and Eagles Manager Irving Azoff was retained.
In 1995 the Escape and Frontiers lineup (Perry, Schon, Cain, Valory, and Smith) reunited to record Trial by Fire. Released in 1996, the album included the hit single "When You Love a Woman", which reached No.12 on the Billboard charts, ranked at No.36 on Billboard's 1996 year-end Hot 100, and was nominated in 1997 for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album also produced three top 40 mainstream rock tracks, "Message of Love" reaching No. 18, "Can't Tame the Lion" reaching No. 33, and "If He Should Break Your Heart" reaching No. 38.
Plans for a subsequent tour ended when Perry injured his hip while hiking in Hawaii in the summer of 1997, and could not perform without hip replacement surgery – which he for some time refused to undergo. In 1998, Schon and Cain decided to seek a new lead singer, at which point drummer Steve Smith left the band as well.
Lead singer replaced, 1998–present
In July 2006, Steve Augeri was dropped from the band while they toured with Def Leppard, the band citing a "chronic throat infection." Augeri had been suffering from vocal attrition problems since 2003 and Journey had been accused of using pre-recorded lead vocals. For nearly a year Jeff Scott Soto from Talisman filled in, with the band for several months referring to Soto as Journey's official lead singer. But in June 2007 the band announced that Soto was no longer the lead singer. That spring HBO aired the finale of the series The Sopranos, concluding with Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" emanating from a diner jukebox. Without a lead singer, the band found itself unable to tour to capitalize on the heightened nostalgia for 1980s music demonstrated by the show.
In the summer of 2007, Journey began searching for a new lead singer. After Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon found videos of Jeremey Hunsicker performing with his Journey tribute band Frontiers on YouTube, they made a last minute decision to fly across the country to Charlotte, North Carolina to watch Hunsicker perform. After the show, Schon and Cain approached Hunsicker and invited him to fly out to California and audition for the position as lead vocalist for Journey. Hunsicker rehearsed with the band and they wrote songs together for the band's upcoming album Revelation. Ultimately things did not work out between Journey and Hunsicker. Although he did not become the new singer for the band Hunsicker did receive credit for helping to write the song "Never Walk Away" which was the leading track on the album Revelation.
In December 2007, Journey hired Filipino singer Arnel Pineda of the cover band The Zoo after Neal Schon saw him on YouTube singing covers of Journey songs. Their next album, Revelation, debuted at No.5 on the Billboard charts, selling more than 196,000 units in its first two weeks and staying in the top 20 for 6 weeks. Journey also found success on billboard's adult contemporary chart where the single "After All These Years" spent over 23 weeks, peaking at number 9. Receipts from the 2008 tour made Journey one of the top grossing concert tours of the year, bringing in over $35,000,000. On December 18, 2008, Revelation was certified platinum by RIAA. The band's second album with Pineda, Eclipse, was released on May 24, 2011, and debuted at No.13 on the Billboard 200 chart. In November, 2011, Journey released their second greatest hits compilation titled Journey: Greatest Hits: Volume 2 which features songs picked by former frontman Steve Perry.
Although Pineda was not the first foreign national to become a member of Journey (former drummer Aynsley Dunbar is British), nor even the first non-white (former bass player Randy Jackson is black), the transition resulted in what Marin Independent Journal writer Paul Liberatore called "an undercurrent of racism among some Journey fans." Keyboardist Jonathan Cain responded to such sentiments: "We've become a world band. We're international now. We're not about one color."
In 2012 the TriBeCa Film Festival premiered a Documentary titled Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey, directed by Ramona A. Diaz. The documentary tells the story of how Journey found lead singer, Arnel Pineda, and follows the band on the road for a year.