Steve Perry, 2019
|Birth name||Stephen Ray Perry|
|Born||January 22, 1949|
Hanford, California, U.S.
|Instruments||Vocals, Drums, Keyboards, Bass, Guitar|
|Associated acts||Journey, Alien Project|
Stephen Ray Perry (born January 22, 1949) is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Journey during their most commercially successful periods from 1977 to 1987, and again from 1995 to 1998. Perry also had a successful solo career between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, made sporadic appearances in the 2000s, and returned to music full-time in 2018.
Perry's singing voice has garnered acclaim from prominent musical peers and publications; he has been dubbed "The Voice", a moniker originally coined by Jon Bon Jovi. Ranked No. 76 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Singers of All Time", Perry was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Journey on April 7, 2017.
Stephen Ray Perry was born in Hanford, California, to Portuguese parents. He is an only child. Perry grew up interested in music, as his father, Raymond Perry (Pereira), was a vocalist and co-owner of radio station KNGS. Perry's parents ended their relationship when he was eight years of age, and he and his mother then moved to his grandparents' farm.
On Perry's 12th birthday, his mother, Mary Quaresma, presented her son with a gold eighth note pendant; Perry wears the pendant for good luck. At age 12, Perry heard Sam Cooke's song "Cupid" on his mother's car radio, and it inspired him to become a singer.
Perry's family moved to Lemoore, California, during Perry's teen years. He attended high school there, drumming in the marching band as well as in extracurricular bands. After graduation he attended College of the Sequoias, in Visalia, California, where he sang first tenor in the choir. Perry's mother continued to encourage his musical growth during that time.
In his early 20s, Perry moved to Sacramento to start a band with 16-year-old future music producer Scott Mathews, who co-wrote, played drums and guitar and sang. That band, Ice, wrote original material and were poised to "make it" in the music business. During the day in 1972 they recorded at the Record Plant studios in Los Angeles while Stevie Wonder recorded his Talking Book album by night. Upon returning to Sacramento, Ice disbanded as the band had no management, Mathews was still in high school, and the recordings went virtually unheard. In 1975, Perry moved to Thousand Oaks, California, where he formed a progressive rock band called Pieces with Tim Bogert (who had previously worked with Jeff Beck), Denver Cross, and Eddie Tuduri. After a year and a half, the group was unable to secure a record deal and disbanded.
Perry then ended up in Banta, California, outside of Tracy, California, where he fronted the band Alien Project in his mid-20s. He nearly gave up music when the bassist of that band, Richard Michaels, was killed in an automobile accident. Perry returned to Lemoore and decided not to continue his singing career, but at the urging of his mother, he answered a call from Walter "Herbie" Herbert, manager of struggling San Francisco-based band Journey.
Original Journey organizer/manager Walter "Herbie" Herbert had been given a demo of an Alien Project song, "If You Need Me, Call Me", and was told by producer Scott Mathews that the young singer would be a great replacement for then-current frontman Robert Fleischman. Fleischman had never signed with Herbert's company (preferring his previous manager) and had not fully coalesced with the band's then progressive rock style. Perry was brought on tour and—to avoid alarming Fleischman—was referred to as a roadie's Portuguese cousin. During a sound check in Long Beach, Perry surreptitiously performed a song with Journey while Fleischman was away from the stage; soon thereafter, Herbert informed the band members that Perry was the new lead singer.
Perry brought a radically new, more pop-influenced style sense to the band's music, despite some grumblings from his new bandmates and fans of Journey's former progressive rock sound. He made his public debut on October 28, 1977 in San Francisco to a mixed reception. Perry eventually won over new fans on his first album with the group, Infinity, which included a song he wrote called "Lights." The band's style had changed dramatically, but as Journey began to garner radio airplay and media buzz over Infinity, Perry's arrival was fully accepted.
Perry provided lead vocals on nine of Journey's albums: Infinity (1978), Evolution (1979), Departure (1980), Dream, After Dream (1980, a Japanese movie soundtrack), Captured (1980, a live album), Escape (1981, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart), Frontiers (1983), Raised on Radio (1986), and Trial By Fire (1996). The single "Open Arms" from Escape was their biggest hit single, charting at No. 2 for six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.
During his Journey tenure, Perry also sang backing vocals on several Sammy Hagar songs, including the 1980 tracks "The Iceman" (a nickname Hagar had for Scott Mathews) and "Run For Your Life", and duetting with Kenny Loggins on the 1982 No. 17 hit single "Don't Fight It".
In 1984, following the release of Frontiers and the tour supporting this effort, Perry released his first solo album, Street Talk (the album's title was derived from the original name of Perry's earlier band Alien Project). The record sold more than 2 million units, scoring the hit singles No. 3 "Oh Sherrie", written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, and No. 18 "Foolish Heart". The music video for "Oh Sherrie" saw heavy rotation on MTV. "She's Mine" and "Strung Out" were also released as singles from this project, which featured former Alien Project drummer Craig Krampf on a few tracks, guitarist Michael Landau, and future American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass, among others.
In 1985, Perry was one of 21 singers in the USA for Africa all-star benefit song "We Are the World". He also recorded a song, "If Only For the Moment, Girl" for the We Are the World album. This song was added to the reissue of his album Street Talk. Also during this period Perry worked with the Irish folk-rock group Clannad on their 1987 album Sirius.
While Perry was reuniting with Journey, his mother became ill. The recording of Raised on Radio, which Perry was producing, was stop-and-go as he frequently returned to the San Joaquin Valley to visit his mother, who died during the production of the album. It took a major toll on Journey to have intermittent recording sessions and a vocalist who was not with the band much of the time. Eventually, Perry became exhausted from the ordeal. Journey then disbanded in 1987 after the Raised on Radio tour.
In 1988, Perry began to work on another solo album, Against the Wall, which he ultimately left unfinished (though several of the songs that were recorded for Against the Wall would appear on Perry's 1998 solo compilation, Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased). A year later, on April 30, 1989, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, in Mountain View, California, Perry joined Bon Jovi to perform Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home to Me" and the Four Tops' "Reach Out". He would also reunite with Journey at the Bill Graham tribute concert, "Laughter, Love and Music" on November 3, 1991, at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, performing "Faithfully" and "Lights". Other than those three events, however, Perry mostly disappeared from the public eye for seven years, taking a break from the music industry.
Journey's classic 1981–85 lineup reunited in 1996 to record Trial by Fire. The album was a huge success, entering the Billboard charts at No. 3 and going platinum before year's end, but its triumph was short-lived. Before the Trial By Fire tour could begin, Perry suffered a hip injury while hiking in Hawaii and was unable to perform. Perry was diagnosed with a degenerative bone condition and a hip replacement was required, and as he was reluctant to rush into the surgery, Perry wanted to postpone the tour. The remaining members waited until 1998, nearly 17 months after Perry's injury, before making a decision on Journey's future. Growing impatient and realizing the window of opportunity was closing to follow up the success of the platinum-selling Trial By Fire LP with a world tour, Journey members Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon met with Perry. They presented him with an ultimatum: If he did not undergo hip replacement surgery so the tour could proceed upon his recovery, the band would hire a replacement singer. Still hesitant to undergo surgery, and now upset at his bandmates, Perry announced that he was permanently leaving Journey. His lead vocal duties were later taken over by Steve Augeri of Tall Stories. Nearly two years after the initial release of Trial by Fire, Journey began its long-postponed tour.
Perry released the Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased compilation album later in 1998; the unreleased tracks included an original Alien Project demo as well as selections from the abandoned Against the Wall CD. Also in 1998, Perry recorded two songs for the Warner Bros. film Quest for Camelot, which can be found on the motion picture's soundtrack. During an episode of VH1's Behind the Music in 2001, Perry stated that he "never really felt like [he] was part of the band". Former manager Herbie Herbert reacted as follows: "That's like the Pope saying he never really felt Catholic."
Perry appeared on two tracks by Kauai, Hawaii artist Tommy Tokioka's album "Happy To Be Living", singing backup vocals on songs "I Wish You Were Mine" and "An Angel Above Me" in 2000. He collaborated with musician Jeff Golub on a song entitled "Can't Let You Go" for Golub's Soul Sessions album, which was released in 2003. Perry provided vocals on the mostly instrumental jazz track.
Perry appeared with other Journey members at a ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 21, 2005 after previously stating it was unlikely that he would ever stand with the band again. He indicated that, though it was a good experience, it was unlikely that he would rejoin the band. However, he has also said, "[n]ever say never, unless you mean never, nevertheless" when the issue of returning to Journey has been mentioned.
Perry co-produced "A Brand New Start," a track on a solo album for former Ambrosia lead vocalist David Pack, in 2005. Perry also provided co-vocals and background vocals for the track, among the many songs he and Pack co-wrote shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. That album, released in September 2005, includes covers of two of Pack's biggest hits with Ambrosia, "Biggest Part of Me" and "You're the Only Woman."
In late 2006, Perry's two solo projects, Street Talk and For the Love of Strange Medicine (both featuring previously unreleased material), and his Greatest Hits CD were remastered and re-released. Sony Legacy released Playlist: The Very Best of Steve Perry on January 13, 2009.
On April 7, 2017, Perry appeared alongside his Journey ex-bandmates for the first time since 2005 at the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Perry gave an acceptance speech, but chose not to perform with the band in deference to current Journey lead singer Arnel Pineda.
Perry released a 10-track studio album, Traces, on October 5, 2018. A US Deluxe Edition was released at Target and has 5 bonus tracks. Perry has described the album as a “cathartic” and “emotional expression” about the loss of a loved one. The record entitled, Traces, is Perry's third studio work and his first since For the Love of Strange Medicine (1994).
In April 2019, Perry released a deluxe version of the Traces album along with his first official music video in 25 years.
Perry released a three-song holiday EP on October 31, 2019.
Vocal style and acclaim
Perry is renowned for his countertenor vocal range, which spans from F#2 to A5.[better source needed] Perry's voice has been described as a "high 'tenor altino' [with] a tone somewhere between Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin." He has been dubbed "The Voice", a moniker originally coined by former chart peer Jon Bon Jovi. Queen guitarist Brian May said: "Perry is a truly luminous singer, in my opinion—a voice in a million." Record executive, producer, and former American Idol judge and Journey session musician Randy Jackson has described Perry's voice as "the golden voice," adding that aside from Robert Plant, "there's no singer in rock that even came close to Steve Perry. The power, the range, the tone—he created his own style. He mixed a little Motown, a little Everly Brothers, a little Zeppelin." Journey guitarist Neal Schon likened Perry's ability to that of Aretha Franklin, and agreed with Fozzy vocalist Chris Jericho's assertion that Perry "might be the greatest male singer of all time".
Greg Prato of AllMusic wrote: "If only one singer could be selected as the most identifiable with '80s arena rock, it would have to be Journey's Steve Perry." Prato's colleague John Franck praised Perry's as a soaring "whale of a voice". He was voted among the ten greatest rock singers of all time in a 2009 Classic Rock reader poll. Rolling Stone ranked Perry No. 76 in "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time," reflecting the magazine's editorial opinion. They lauded his "technical skills," as well as his "pure tone and passionate sincerity." Geoff Nicholls of Rhythm referred to Perry as "arguably the best singer of his generation".
Sam Cooke, to whom Perry has been compared, was Perry's primary influence. He has also cited the vocal approach of The Beach Boys, Jackie Wilson, Frankie Valli, Lou Christie, Marvin Gaye, Joe Tex, and Jack Bruce of Cream, along with female singers such as Diana Ross, Dee Dee Sharp and Aretha Franklin. Musically, Perry drew influence from Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. He also spoke of his fondness for Motown recordings, and English bands of the late 1960s.
Perry was a principal songwriter for most of Journey's songs throughout his tenure with the band, as well as his solo efforts. These efforts led to a nomination to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame 2020.
Perry underwent successful hip replacement surgery in 1998.
During the 2005 baseball season, the Chicago White Sox adopted Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" as their unofficial team anthem. As a result, Perry (an avid San Francisco Giants fan) was asked to attend the World Series and even traveled with the White Sox to Houston where Perry joined the players on the field and in the locker room as they celebrated their championship.
In a lengthy blog post in June 2013, Perry wrote that he had fallen in love with psychologist and breast cancer survivor Kellie Nash, who had died from cancer in December 2012. Perry was by Nash's side as she battled cancer.
In a September 2018 interview, Perry said, "Things happened to me as a child that I still can't talk about – nothing to do with my parents, but things did happen. It happened to a lot of kids, as I find out... [There] was nowhere to talk it out, so I got to sing it out instead."
As of October 2018, Perry has never been married.
|Title||Release||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|Street Talk||1984||12||79||59||RIAA: 2× Platinum|
|For the Love of Strange Medicine||1994||15||-||64||RIAA: Gold|
- Perry's Coming (1995)
- Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased (1998)
- Playlist: The Very Best of Steve Perry (2009)
- Oh Sherrie: The Best of Steve Perry (2010)
- Silver Bells (2019)
|Title||Release||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Don't Fight It"
(with Kenny Loggins)
|1982||17||4||—||—||—||High Adventure |
|"Oh Sherrie"||1984||3||1||39||5||89||Street Talk|
|"If Only for the Moment, Girl"||1985||—||—||—||—||—||We Are the World |
(studio album by USA for Africa)
|"You Better Wait"||1994||29||6||17||—||—||For the Love of Strange Medicine|
|"Young Hearts Forever"||—||—||—||—||—|
|"I Stand Alone"||1998||—||—||—||—||—||Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased|
|"When You're in Love (For the First Time)"||—||—||—||—||—|
|"No More Cryin'"||—||—||—||—||—|
|"We're Still Here"||—||—||14||—||—|
|"Sun Shines Gray"||2019||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Silver Bells" (cover)||—||—||11||—||—||Silver Bells EP|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
- Infinity (1978)
- Evolution (1979)
- Departure (1980)
- Escape (1981)
- Frontiers (1983)
- Raised on Radio (1986)
- Trial by Fire (1996)
- "Steve Perry: Biography" Archived August 21, 2018, at the Wayback Machine. AllMusic. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- Baltin, Steve (October 3, 2018). "Steve Perry On His Return To Music: 'It's A Different Steve Now'". Forbes. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
- "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". rollingstone.com. rollingstone. Archived from the original on August 9, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
- "Steve Perry reunites with Journey at Rock Hall induction". usatoday.com. usatoday. Archived from the original on September 15, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
- Kaufman, Robin (July 5, 2006). "Portuguese Radio Station Stands the Test of Time". Valley Voice Archives. Tulare Voice Newspaper. Archived from the original on June 20, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Mossman, Kate (September 26, 2018). "Steve Perry of Journey: "Things happened to me as a child. There was nowhere to talk it out, so I sang it out instead"". NewStatesman.com. Archived from the original on November 17, 2018. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
- Greatest Singers of All Time Archived September 20, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Rolling Stone
- "Steve Perry 1980 Interview", Youtube.com
- "I Was Friends With Steve Before He Made It Big" Archived August 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, StevePerryOnline.net
- "Steve Perry Answers Your Questions", Teen Talk magazine, May 1985 Archived May 21, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, steveperryfanclub.homestead.com
- Prato, Greg. "Steve Perry - Artist Biography by Greg Prato". allmusic. allmusic.com. Archived from the original on August 21, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- "The Portuguese Cousin". fortheloveofsteveperry. fortheloveofsteveperry.com. Archived from the original on February 15, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Oliver, Derek (August 24, 2018). "Start believin': The story of Journey's Infinity album". Classic Rock Magazine.
- "Journey - Chart History - Hot 100". billboard. billboard.com. Archived from the original on August 24, 2018. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
- "Steve Perry: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". heavy. heavy.com. Archived from the original on August 24, 2018. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
- "Steve Perry - Chart History - Hot 100". billboard. billboard.com. Archived from the original on August 24, 2018. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
- "Steve Perry – Greatest Hits". discogs.com. discogs. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- Lafon, Mitch. "Steve Perry: Mother, Father By Mitch Lafon". melodicrock.com. melodicrock.com. Archived from the original on May 17, 2007. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
- Carty, Matt. Castles Burning: The Herbie Herbert Interview Archived November 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, 2001.
- ZICKOS, COCO. "Midweek Kauai - Music In My Soul". www.midweekkauai.com. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
- Cline, Suzy. "Jeff Golub Website - SOUL SESSIONS PR". www.jeffgolub.com. Archived from the original on November 10, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
- "Steve Perry - Biography" Archived May 19, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, steveperryfanclub.homestead.com
- Wise, Mike (August 17, 2003). "Perry says "Never say never," 8/13/03". The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
- Steve Perry Movement Archived August 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine message boards/forum
- Roth, Kaj (December 7, 2008). "Steve Perry – New Best Of Album Out On Jan. 13" Archived December 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Melodic.net.
- Grow, Kory (May 29, 2014). "Steve Perry 'Showed Up Unannounced to Rehearsals,' Eels Vocalist Says". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Elavsky, Cindy (June 1, 2014). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- Stutz, Colin (June 1, 2014). "Steve Perry Joins Eels Onstage Again". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 3, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
- Appelo, Tim (June 12, 2014). "Journey's Steve Perry Joins Eels Onstage at Orpheum: 'The 20-Year Hermit Thing Is Overrated'". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 15, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
- "Inductees: Journey". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 22, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
- "Steve Perry Reunites With Journey, But Doesn't Sing At Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction". blabbermouth.net. April 7, 2017. Archived from the original on August 20, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
- "STEVE PERRY New Album 'Traces' Out October 5". Melodicrock.com. August 15, 2018. Archived from the original on August 17, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- "Former JOURNEY Singer STEVE PERRY To Release 'Traces' Solo Album In October". Blabbermouth.net. August 14, 2018. Archived from the original on September 21, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- "Former JOURNEY Singer STEVE PERRY Releases Music Video For New Solo Single, 'No Erasin". Blabbermouth.net. Archived from the original on August 19, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- Reed, Ryan. "Former Journey Singer Steve Perry Preps 'Cathartic' New Solo LP". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
- Blabbermouth (December 17, 2018). "Former JOURNEY Singer STEVE PERRY Releases Cover Of 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Archived from the original on December 18, 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
- antiMusic (April 13, 2019). "Steve Perry Goes Behind The Scenes Of First Video In 25 Years". antimusic.com. Archived from the original on April 30, 2019. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
- "Ex-JOURNEY Singer STEVE PERRY Releases New Christmas Single, 'Silver Bells'". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. November 1, 2019. Archived from the original on November 1, 2019. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
- "The vocal ranges of the world's greatest singers". concerthotels. concerthotels.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2017. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- Nicholls, Geoff (September 12, 2016). "Journey's Steve Smith on his amazing trip from jazz to rock". Rhythm. MusicRadar. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- Ramirez, Carlos (January 22, 2013). "Steve Perry: 5 Fun Facts About the Former Journey Singer". Noisecreep. Archived from the original on August 19, 2018. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- Radloff, Jessica (September 20, 2013). "That Time I Talked to Steve Perry". Glamour. Archived from the original on June 20, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- Queen Guitarist Weighs In On Journey Singer Changes, RoadrunnerRecords.com
- "Raised on Radio - Journey | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
- "Neal Schon's Journey". Talk Is Jericho. September 12, 2018. 70 minutes in. Westwood One.
- Journey: Infinity. AllMusic. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
- "50 Greatest Singers in Rock". #9. Classic Rock. May 2009.
- Sachs, Tony (July 1, 2008). "Steve Perry, Sam Cooke, Arnel Pineda, and My Journey To Obsession". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on May 31, 2010. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- Speake, Chuck (March–April 1980). "Steve Perry". Voice Magazine (1). Archived from the original on July 3, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
- Blabbermouth (November 8, 2019). "JOURNEY's NEAL SCHON, JONATHAN CAIN And STEVE PERRY Among Nominees For SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- Greene, Andy (October 5, 2018). "Steve Perry Still Believes".
- "Steve Perry's 'Oh Sherrie': Where Is She Now? (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Elavsky, Cindy (June 30, 2013). "Celebrity Extra". Downriver Sunday Times. King Features. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
- "Ex-Journey Singer Steve Perry Reveals Relationship, Cancer Scare in Touching Blog Post". yahoo.com.
- "Steve Perry - Chart History - Billboard 200". billboard. billboard.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 232. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Steve Perry". officialcharts. officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Gold & Platinum". riaa. riaa.com. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Gold & Platinum". riaa. riaa.com. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Steve Perry - Chart History - Hot 100". billboard. billboard.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Steve Perry - Chart History - Mainstream Rock Songs". billboard. billboard.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Steve Perry Chart History: Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Steve Perry (musician).|