riginally called The Golden Gate Bridge, Journey was founded by Neal Schon (guitar/vocals), George Tickner (guitar/vocals) and Prairie Prince (keyboards) but just before their deal with Columbia' and their recording of their eponymous 1975 debut Ross Valory (ex-Steve Miller Band; bass/vocals) was recruited along with Gregg Rolie (ex-Santana; vocals/keyboards) and finally Aynsley Dunbar (ex-Frank Zappa/ex-John Mayall/ex-Jeff Beck; drums) would replace the Tubes bound Prince.
Journey was never declared as a particularly heavy band per se. but like Foreigner and Trooper, their brand of crunchy music took favor amongst Hard Rock and Metal fans over the years.
Look Into The Future (1976) and Next (1977) showcased a sort of jazzy art Rock sound, but with the release of Infinity (1978) and the addition of Robert Fleischman for vocals (who was quickly replaced with Steve Perry) they became a sleek AOR act ready for American FM radio. The album featured smooth and sleek hooky riffs and gave Perry free reign over his vocals, showcasing the act as a much more Pop-friendly beast. The Roy Thomas Baker (of Queen) produced album made 21 in the U.S. The feat would be repeated with 1979's Evolution, making it to 20 in the U.S. and an even 100 in the U.K. Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin', spun off from the album gave them 16 U.S. on its own. But Dunbar had plans of his own and left to join Starship so Steve Smith stepped in to replace him.
Departure (1980) saw them enter the U.S. top 10 for the first time (8 to be exact) helped greatly by the track gone single Any Way You Want It making 23 on its own as the very first track on the album; it's feature in the hit classic Hollywood golf comedy movie Caddyshack gave it massive exposure and real estate value. Their first live set Captured (1981) followed on it's heels and made a 9 on the same chart.
Escape (1981) was next up and featured Johnathan Cain (ex-Babys) replacing Rolie. The album would prove to be their greatest ever by making a solid 1 in the U.S. (22 U.K.) The album yielded no less than three hit spin off singles including Who's Crying Now, Open Arms and Don't Stop Believin'. Despite getting a universal slapping by the music elitist critics, Journey's music straddled the line between Pop and Metal and even managed to finally break the almost impossible British top 10 with the follow-up album Frontiers (1983), settling in at 6 U.K. and 2 U.S.
A month later Schon's project would release its second, Here To Stay, with Ian Hammer on keyboards while Perry launched a reasonably successful solo career with Street Talk the next year. But by 1986 the vacation was over and Journey were back with Cain, Perry and Schon recruiting Larrie Londin (drums) and Randy Jackson (ex-Zebra; bass) but they would stay together only long enough for the release of Based On Radio (1986), an album that made a respectable 4 U.S./22 U.K.
Based On Radio marked the end of the original Journey, and the members set off on their own Pop and hard Pop fashioned projects. Cain (along with Valory) joined Michael Bolton, while Schon went off with John Waite in Bad English before forming his own Hardline to release Double Eclipse in 1992 with the membership of himself and Johnny Schon (vocals), Joey Gioelli (guitar), Todd Jensen (ex-David Lee Roth; bass) and Dean Castronovo (ex-Bad English; drums). Shortly later, Rolie's project was on-going as well featuring himself along with Ross Valory (bass), Steve Smith (drums), Kevin Chalfant (ex-707; vocals) and Josh Ramos (ex-Le Mans; guitar) to release their self-titled effort in 1991.
By the middle of the 1990s reunions were popping up like mushrooms after a rain and Journey were no exception, so Schon, Perry, Cain and Smith brought it back together for an encore in 1996 to release Trial By Fire an album that incredibly made 3 on the U.S. charts probably due to nostalgic fans. The reunion might have worked if the membership lasted for after the album Dean Castronovo replaced Smith on drums, but that wasn't all. The final blow was the departure of Perry and his virtual sound alike Steve Augeri replacing him on the follow-up 2001 release of Arrival that saw their first album since their founding to not chart significantly. The album attempted to recapture their classic times of the early 1980s (ala Departure) but it seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. The last album's title sort of summed it all up, however, for they had finally arrived and the journey was over.