Sounds: Journey's early years were a bumpy ride to fame

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Sounds: Journey's early years were a bumpy ride to fame

Postby tater1977 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:19 am

Sounds: Journey's early years were a bumpy ride to fame

By Mario Constantino, staff writer

http://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com/ ... 21f55.html

On April 7, Journey will be enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Many will cheer; many will jeer. Some might even sneer.

But one thing is certain. Had the original incarnation of the band continued, Journey would not be a Hall of Fame candidate.

Because Journey was actually two bands. There was the Steve Perry Journey that millions of fans still adore and millions of critics still abhor. And there was the pre-Steve Perry Journey — a completely different animal.

The pre-Steve Perry Journey lasted only three years, and although the members — Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Ross Valory and Aynsley Dunbar — were perfectly happy doing what they were doing, their label, Columbia Records, and their manager, Herbie Herbert, were less so. The label wanted songs the radio would play, and the manager wanted greater success that would come from songs the radio would play.

Then came Steve Perry, and with him came radio hits, success ... and Hall of Fame honors.

But let's not dismiss early Journey. This was a pretty cool band of experienced musicians with progressive rock and jazz fusion leanings. It wasn't their fault they were just a few years too late, with disco and punk about to presage the death of progressive jam bands.

Rolie and a still-teenage Schon were in Santana. Valory and guitarist George Tickner, who left after the first album, were members of San Francisco psychedelic band Frumious Bandersnatch. The British Dunbar was already a journeyman drummer who was playing with Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Not exactly the ingredients for 3-minute, radio-friendly pop-rock songs.

Although no one could compete with the booming pipes of Perry, Rolie was no slouch on vocals. That's him singing Santana's two classics "Evil Ways" (No. 9, 1970) and "Black Magic Woman" (No. 4, 1970). And his voice was well-suited to early Journey songs like "Of a Lifetime," "On a Saturday Nite," "You're on Your Own," "Look Into the Future" and "Spaceman." Before he was eased out of singing duties by Perry and eventually departed, Rolie managed one last run up the charts with "Just the Same Way" (No. 58, 1979).


While the first three albums sold poorly — each performed worse than the one before it — the transformation of Journey didn't happen overnight, even though the first flush of singles, like "Lights," "Wheel in the Sky" and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'," were genuine ear candy. Not until 1981's "Escape" album, when Jonathan Cain replaced Rolie on keyboards, did the band become a stadium draw. Having three Top 10 hits and Steve Perry helped.

To emphasize that point, Journey released four singles between 1975 and 1977; none charted. With Perry, the group released 24 singles from 1978 to 1987, and all of them charted, 12 reaching the Billboard Top 20.

And so it's a wonderful coincidence, and a reminder of Journey's far-from-superstar beginnings, that the month the band is being inducted into the Hall of Fame also happens to be the month its first album was released, 42 years ago on April 1, 1975.

“We’ve never been the critics’ choice,” Cain said in an interview last year. “They bashed us in the ’80s — and every album we put out, they just pretty much laughed at."

Who's laughing now?
Perry's good natured bonhomie & the world’s most charmin smile,knocked fans off their feet. Sportin a black tux,gigs came alive as he swished around the stage thrillin audiences w/ charisma that instantly burnt the oxygen right out of the venue.TR.com
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Re: Sounds: Journey's early years were a bumpy ride to fame

Postby scarab » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:03 pm

Wow, an actually good article written about Journey. Thanks Tater!
And only a couple weeks away from the awards and nothing from Perry.
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