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.