Steve Perry the frontman with Journey is 70 this week.
He earned his place in Journey in a clandestine way. Perry had been singing with a band called Alien Project and actually gave it all up when the band’s bass player, Richard Michaels was killed in the a car accident. It was Steve’s mother who urged him to continue in music.
Alien Project’s producer, Scott Matthews, secretly sent Walter Herbert, Journey’s manager a cassette of a track called If you need Me, Call Me and suggested the lead singer would be better than the one already fronting Journey. Herbert agreed and called Steve and invited him to join the band. So as not to hurt the feeling of the current lead singer, Robert Fleischman, Perry went out on the road with the band but disguised as a roadie. Steve got a chance to sing and as the tour was ending, Herbert informed everyone of the new line up.
By far, their most successful song in the UK was Don’t Stop Believing, but only after the cast of Glee covered it and brought it to a new audience. Journey’s version was from 1982 and because of the download era, people just began downloading the Journey version, which eventually sent it to number six in 2010, some 56 places higher than it peaked first time round.
Steve had a distinctive voice and is ranked at number 76 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. He even had his own solo line on USA for Africa’s We Are the World.
For a bit of self-indulgence, this is my favourite Journey song from the 1981 album Escape, let’s enjoy Still They Ride.
Hayley Williams from Paramore recently turned 30. She was born in Meridian, Mississippi and moved to Franklin, Tennessee after her parents divorced in 2002. Whilst attending her new school she met brothers Josh and Zac Farro and post school they formed Paramore. She is credited as co-writer on all their hits.
Stating that she had no plans for a solo career, Paramore continued to record, but in 2010, she was invited by the rapper B.o.B to sing on his song Airplanes. She explained in an interview on MTV how she got the job, “I was given the track a while ago while we were on tour. The guys and I all loved it. They told me I was crazy if I passed it up. I liked the part too much anyway, so of course I was down. Whether our fans know or not, I’m not sure, but Jeremy Davis (Paramore’s bass player) and I have always been really into hip-hop. It means a lot that I got to collaborate with a hip-hop artist who is from Atlanta. Not far from home. We Southern gals love us some Southern gentlemen.” The song went to number one in the UK and number two in the US.
This week, Scott Walker celebrates his 76th birthday.
He was born in Hamilton, Ohio and had a love of singing and acting. He was a child actor and, in the 50s, sang rock ‘n’ roll. In 1962, he provided handclaps on the The Routers’ number 32 hit Let’s Go (Pony).
He, John Maus and Gary Leeds formed the Walker Brothers in 1964 taking the name Walker from John Maus who had been using the name John Walker for a couple of years to perform in clubs because he was technically under age. Their debut single, Pretty Girls Everywhere, had John on lead vocals but failed to make an impression. The next single, Love Her saw Scott take over as lead and he remained so throughout their career because, even at the age of 17 he had a distinctive baritone sound.
Leeds had previously worked as a drummer for P.J Proby and had toured the UK with him, and persuaded the band to go to the UK which they agreed to and ended up having far more success here than over there. Scott decided to say and by 1970 had become a British citizen.
He went solo in 1967 and had three UK hit with Jackie, Joanna and Lights of Cincinnati and in 1975, there was a brief Walker Brothers reunion which saw them back in the chart with a cover of Tom Rush’s No Regrets.
He resumed a solo are in 1984 and periodically releases albums of a more ambient nature.
This week sees the 20th anniversary of my End of/Start of Year quiz. Last year’s winner were a team called Arthur ‘Two Sheds’ Jackson and they’ve requested I show the comedy clip that inspired their team name. I wish them luck with the quiz, but there is some stiff competition this time, especially from last year’s runner’s up. Good luck lads.