You can’t think of the classic rock band
Journey without humming that karaoke staple
“Don’t Stop Believin’”…
Hold on to that feeling.”
…or other hits like “Separate Ways” and
the slow dance song favorite “Open Arms.”
And thanks to “Don’t Stop Believin’” being
used on Glee…
“Just a small town girl… living in a lonely
…and in the final episode of The Sopranos…
Don’t stop.. belevin’!”
And how can we not mention the genius that
is Rock Sugar?
“She took a midnight train going anywhere.”
…an entire generation rediscovered the arena
rock hit makers.
But the voice behind those songs, Steve Perry,
has been MIA for some time, both from the
band that made him famous and from public
Fans miss the artist who was so huge during
in the ‘80s, he got to sing a verse in “We
Are the World.”
“Oh the choice we’re making… we’re saving
our own lives.”
So whatever happened to the singer who helped
Journey hit the high notes?
Let’s find out:
Leaving at the top
Journey’s music was inescapable throughout
the ‘70s and ‘80s.
So let’s dance!”
“I was alone…
I never knew…”
They toured constantly, released an album
a year between 1975 and 1981, and even had
their own arcade game where fans could play
as members of the band retrieving instruments
in outer space.
Steve Perry told GQ that he thought the game
was “dumb” at the time, and it’s hard to disagree
But its existence is still evidence of the
band’s mega-popularity during their heyday.
After several years of stadium tours, Journey
took a much needed break.
Founding member Neal Schon recorded two solo
albums with Miami Vice theme song composer
Jan Hammer as Schon and Hammer, which inspired
Perry to go solo for 1984’s Street Talk,
a smash record that included the hits “Foolish
Heart” and “Oh Sherrie,” which Perry wrote
for his then girlfriend, Sherrie Swafford,
who also appears in the video.
“Oh Sherrie, our love, holds on.”
But what started as a quick breather from
Journey eventually became a long-term hiatus
Perry first left Journey in 1987, after the
last date of the supporting tour for the album
Raised On Radio, an album whose recording
sessions were strained by Perry’s intermittent
attendance, due to his mother’s failing
health and eventual death.
After years of touring and recording albums,
Perry was mentally done with the band.
“I told them I just don’t think I want to
do it anymore.
I think I just want to stop.”
The band moved on to other projects for the
next few years.
Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain formed
the band Bad English with singer John Waite,
which scored the number one Billboard hit
“When I See You Smile.”
“When I see you smile.”
Perry recorded a solo album called Against
the Wall in 1988, but due to record label
shake-ups it was never released.
After eight years away from the spotlight,
Perry released the solo record For The Love
Of Strange Medicine in 1994, where he sported
some sweet ‘90s grunge rocker locks in the
video for the single “You Better Wait.”
“Somewhere there’s love”
Perry was back, but his return would be short-lived.
The reunion tour ended before it began
Perry’s Strange Medicine album attracted
enough buzz that plans were made for a Journey
The band got together in 1996 and recorded
the album Trial By Fire, which produced the
#1 Adult Contemporary hit “When You Love a
“Though she’s standing by your side.”
Joy that lasts forever!
But before Journey could hit the road for
a tour, Perry experienced pain in his hip
while hiking in Hawaii.
And I, uh..
And I, uh..
Didn’t think I was going to make it off the
Perry was diagnosed with a degenerative bone
disease and became unable to perform.
Without Perry, there was no tour, and with
no tour, the album quickly faded from the
Perry would put off getting hip surgery until
1998, but by then the rest of the band were
frustrated from waiting around for their lead
singer, and had moved on.
Perry even received a phone call from the
rest of the band, advising him to “go out
do whatever you want, but do not call it Journey.”
That was the last straw for Perry, who told
music journalist Mitch Lafon, “I don’t respond
well to ultimatums.”
It was time for Journey and Perry to go their
separate ways for good.
Behind The Music got ugly
In 2001, members of the band were interviewed
for VH1’s Behind The Music, not long after
releasing the modestly successful album Arrival,
with a new lead singer Steve Augeri.
The show focused on the band’s internal feuds,
and reopened some old wounds.
What particularly increased the tension was
Perry describing himself as an outsider in
“I never really felt like I was part of the
I really always that I was the out.. outside
From the perspective of the other members
of Journey, Perry was a driving force of the
band, so the outsider comments both hurt — and
made zero sense.
“I have no idea why he would feel that way…”
“It’s just nuts.
Never felt part of the band”
“He was making you know, a lot of the decisions…”
The band who gave us the song “Lovin’, Touchin’,
Squeezin’,” were now “Arguin’, Squabblin’
Perry’s permanent replacement
During the early 2000s, Journey’s new vocalist,
Steve Augeri, was struggling to provide the
vocal chops to take Perry’s place.
“It was frightening going out on stage and
it was scary being compared to one of the
greatest rock and roll vocalists in rock and
The band was even being accused of employing
pre-recorded vocals in live performances to
compensate, which might be the least rock-and-roll
thing this side of a pan flute.
The remaining members of Journey needed a
singer who could match Perry’s iconic vocals.
Miraculously, the guys in Journey found their
new singer while searching for covers of their
songs on YouTube.
The band heard Filipino singer Arnel Pineda
sing their hit “Faithfully” and were blown
away by his vocal resemblance to Steve Perry.
“Whoa whoa whoa, whoa whoa whoa.”
Living in poverty and paying his dues — and
bills — by performing with classic rock
cover bands in Manila, Pineda sounded almost
exactly like Perry, and so the band immediately
tracked him down and hired him.
“Just a city boy.
Born and raised in South Detroit.”
Pineda, who was the subject of a 2012 documentary
about his amazing, um, journey, has been humble
about the gig, saying he never expected to
catch the attention of one of his favorite
And while he hasn’t actually met Steve Perry,
he insists that if he ever does, he’d be in
line for an autograph like any fan.
Perry told Glamour that he thinks Pineda is
doing “great,” and squashed reunion rumors
in 2014 by telling Fan Asylum, “He’s their
lead singer and I wish him all the best.”
Which is probably how you’d react if your
bandmates replaced you with a soundalike.
“So now I come to you with open arms.”
In 2013, Steve Perry opened up on his blog
about a tremendous loss he had suffered.
While watching footage from the Lifetime TV
special Five about breast cancer survivors
made by friend and filmmaker Patty Jenkins,
Perry was taken by Kellie Nash, a psychologist
and cancer patient who made a cameo appearance
in the special.
Perry asked Jenkins to introduce him to Nash,
and after a few email exchanges, the two met
and instantly fell for each other.
They dated for a year-and-a-half, but Nash’s
cancer spread, ultimately claiming her life.
Perry himself experienced a cancer scare in
2013, undergoing surgery to remove melanoma
Both experiences have left him a more pensive
and reflective man, which doesn’t always jive
with the wild rockstar lifestyle.
The past few years have seen Perry poking
his head out from his self-imposed exile.
He’s appeared at a few major league baseball
“Up and down the boulevard.”
and even performed some Journey songs with
indie band Eels in 2014 at their concerts
in St. Paul, Minnesota and Los Angeles.
Perry is a fan of the group, and performed
slowed-down versions of “Open Arrms,” “Faithfully”
and more classic tunes.
“So now I’ve gone to you with open arms.”
While Perry’s vocals had certainly aged,
the Internet exploded after his return to
The surprise performance was well received,
but there’s no sign of a full-blown Steve
So what gives?
Perry has expressed concern that, after so
long out of practice, his voice may not even
be capable of pulling off the soaring high
notes of the classic Journey tracks.
“Here I am, with open arms.”
When a reporter from Glamour asked him in
2013 how is voice is doing these days, Steve
said “It’s out of shape.”
Meanwhile, Perry has been increasingly hinting
at the release of a new album, and the last
time he released a solo album it led to a
But while the other members of Journey have
said they’d welcome Perry back, Neal Schon
told Billboard that Perry will only speak
to him through an attorney.
Don’t stop believin’, Journey fans.
But also, don’t hold your breath.
Hold on to that feeling.”
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