Sales have resulted in one diamond, ten platinum (including seven consecutive multi-platinum albums between 1978 and 1987), and three gold albums. They have had eighteen Top 40 singles in the U.S. (the second most without a Billboard Hot 100 number one single behind Electric Light Orchestra with 20), six of which reached the Top 10 of the US chart and two of which reached No. 1 on other Billboard charts, and a No. 6 hit on the UK Singles Chart in "Don't Stop Believin'". In 2005, "Don't Stop Believin'" reached No. 3 on iTunes downloads. Originally a progressive rock band, Journey was described by AllMusic as having cemented a reputation as "one of America's most beloved (and sometimes hated) commercial rock/pop bands" by 1978, when they redefined their sound by embracing pop arrangements on their fourth album, Infinity.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Journey has sold 48 million albums in the U.S., making them the 25th best-selling band. Their worldwide sales have reached over 75 million records, making them one of the world's best-selling bands of all time. A 2005 USA Today opinion poll named Journey the fifth-best U.S. rock band in history. Their songs have become arena rock staples and are still played on rock radio stations across the world. Journey ranks No. 96 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the class of 2017. Inductees included lead singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardists Jonathan Cain and Gregg Rolie, bassist Ross Valory, and drummers Aynsley Dunbar and Steve Smith.
The original members of Journey first came together in San Francisco in 1973 under the auspices of former Santana manager Herbie Herbert. Originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and intended to serve as a backup group for established Bay Area artists, the band included Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals. Bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner, both of Frumious Bandersnatch, rounded out the group. Prairie Prince of The Tubes served as drummer. The band quickly abandoned the "backup group" concept and developed a distinctive jazz fusion style. After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, roadie John Villanueva suggested the name "Journey". The band's first public appearance came at the Winterland Ballroom on New Year’s Eve, 1973. Prairie Prince rejoined The Tubes shortly thereafter, and the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had recently worked with Frank Zappa. On February 5, 1974, the new line-up made their debut at the Great American Music Hall and secured a recording contract with Columbia Records.
Journey released their eponymous debut album in 1975, and rhythm guitarist Tickner left the band before they cut their second album, Look into the Future (1976). Neither album achieved significant sales, so Schon, Valory, and Dunbar took singing lessons in an attempt to add vocal harmonies to Rolie's lead. The following year's Next contained shorter tracks with more vocals, and featured Neal Schon as lead singer on two of the songs.
Journey's album sales did not improve and Columbia Records requested that they change their musical style and add a frontman, with whom keyboardist Gregg Rolie could share lead vocal duties. The band hired Robert Fleischman and made the transition to a more popular style, akin to that of Foreigner and Boston. Journey went on tour with Fleischman in 1977 and together the new incarnation of the band wrote the hit "Wheel in the Sky"; however, management differences resulted in Fleischman's leaving within the year.
In late 1977, Journey hired Steve Perry as their new lead singer. Herbie Herbert, the band's manager, also hired Roy Thomas Baker as a producer to add a layered sound approach as Baker had done with his previous band, Queen. With their new lead singer and new producer, Journey released their fourth album, Infinity (1978). That album was their first RIAA-certified platinum album, and with their hit song "Wheel in the Sky" (#57 U.S.), Journey set on a new path with a more mainstream sound to make their highest chart success to date.
In late 1978, manager Herbie Herbert fired Dunbar, who joined Bay Area rivals Jefferson Starship shortly thereafter. He was replaced by the Berklee College of Music-trained drummer, Steve Smith, who came from a jazz background. Perry, Schon, Rolie, Smith and Valory recorded Evolution (1979), which gave the band their first Billboard Hot 100 Top 20 single, "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" (#16); and Departure (1980), which reached No. 8 on the album charts.
Journey's new-found success brought the band an almost entirely new fan base. During the 1980 Departure world tour, the band recorded a live album, Captured. Keyboardist Gregg Rolie then left the band, the second time in his career he left a successful act. Keyboardist Stevie "Keys" Roseman was brought in to record the lone studio track for Captured, "The Party's Over (Hopelessly in Love)," but Rolie recommended pianist Jonathan Cain of The Babys as the permanent replacement. With Cain's replacement of Rolie's Hammond B-3 organ with his own synthesizers, the band was poised for a new decade in which they would achieve their greatest musical success.1
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