Another one of the recent PBS pledge drive shows was Journey In Concert: Houston 1981.
The title says it all. I had two main takeaways from the program. First, Journey was a terrific live band. Second, I am pissed at Steve Perry for disappearing from the public stage.
In 1981, Journey was at the top of their popularity. They had just released Don't Stop Believing which has become a Rock anthem and a required song for every Rock cover band. It's often sung by female singers because few males can sing like Steve. They had the #1 album, Escape. It was a riveting performance. One version of their Best of albums contains several cuts from the Houston live concert. I have that album.
The band was formed in 1973 but didn't become popular until they hired lead singer Steve Perry in late 1977. By 1987, the band had pretty much gone their separate ways. There was a brief reunion in 1995 but that didn't last long.
Perry did a few solo ventures while still with Journey and after '87. Unfortunately, there has been no substantial output since the mid 1990's. He occasionally shows up at a Giants baseball game or at a performance by a band he likes. Still, no new music although he has promised a new album for several years.
The Perry/Schon version of the band is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Journey has sold almost 50 million albums and 90 million records. Most of those during the Perry era. They have been through several personnel changes, mostly at lead singer.
So why am I pissed at Steve Perry? Well, because he has or at least had one of the greatest voices ever in the Rock genre. He has power, range, a unique tone, soaring high notes that are not a falsetto. He is also an accomplished songwriter, having co-written such hits as "Oh Sherrie" for his solo career that reached #3. "Who's Crying Now" (#4), "Open Arms" (#2), "Separate Ways" (#8), "Don't Stop Believing" (#9), and others while with Journey.
Founding member Neil Schon, lead guitarist, and songwriter, recently said publically that he thinks he will reconnect with Perry. There is some tension within the current Journey lineup, so maybe a Perry/Schon reunion is in the cards. They were the two drivers during Journey's most productive and popular years. Schon recently said “It’s mutual we will reconnect. I know without talking to him.”
With or without Schon, I want Steve Perry back on the music scene. Until then, I still have my recordings of all the Journey hits.