Portuguese American singer and songwriter Steve Perry was the lead vocalist of the band Journey from 1977-1987 and 1995-1998. While with the band, he recorded the successful albums “Infinity” (1978), “Evolution” (1979), “Departure” (1980), “Escape” (1981), “Frontiers” (1983) and “Raised on Radio” (1986). In 1995, after Journey took a long break, Perry was reunited with the band members to work on the platinum album “Trial by Fire” (1996) before being released from the band in 1998 following a hip injury. Perry also enjoyed a successful career as a solo artist during the late 1980s and early 1990s. His debut album, “Street Talk” (1984), rose to No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and went double platinum in the U.S. His sophomore effort, “For the Love of Strange Medicine” (1994), made it to the Top 20 on the Billboard 200 and went gold in the U.S. His popular singles include “Oh Sherrie,” which peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, “She's Mine,” “Foolish Heart” and “You Better Wait.”
On January 21, 2005, Journey was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording. Perry currently resides in Del Mar, California.
Childhood and Family:
An only child, Stephen Ray Perry was born on January 22, 1949, in Hanford, California, to Portuguese parents Ray Pereira (later changed his last name to Perry), a vocalist, and Mary. He was inspired to become a singer at the age of 10 after hearing Sam Cook's song “Cupid” on his mother's car radio. His family moved to Lemoore, California, when he was a teenager and Steve played drums in his school's marching band. After graduating, he briefly attended the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, where he sang tenor in the choir. He then moved to Los Angeles at age 18 to pursue a singing career. In L.A., Steve worked as an engineer at Crystal Studios and also did voiceover work for radio and television advertisements. In addition, he sang and/or played drums in various local bands during the 1960s and 1970s, including the Nocturns, Dollar Bills, Sullies, Ice, Pieces, and Alien Project. With Alien Project, he nearly scored a recording contract before the band's bassist was killed in a car accident, which led to the band breaking up. After the incident, Steve quit music and returned to Lemoore, where he worked on a farm. Thanks to his mother's support, he decided to give music another try and finally found success with the band Journey.
Steve Perry began his career with the San Francisco based rock band Journey in late 1977 when he was recruited to replace Robert Fleischman as the new vocalist. His debut performance with the band was on October 28, 1977, in San Francisco, for which he received mixed reviews.
Perry's first album with Journey, “Infinity,” was released on January 20, 1978, with Columbia Records. The album peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 and certified triple platinum by RIAA. It produced three charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with the songs “Wheel in the Sky” (#57), “Feeling That Way/Anytime” (#83) and “Lights” (#68), which Perry wrote with guitarist Neal Schon.
The studio album “Evolution” hit the music stores on April 5, 1979. It rose to No. 20 on the Billboard 200 and gave Journey their second triple platinum status. “Evolution” featured the group's first Top 20 hit single “Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'” (1979), which was inspired by the classic Sam Cooke tune “Nothing Can Change This Love.” The song peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group's sixth studio album and the third with Perry, “Departure,” was launched on March 23, 1980. It went to No. 8 on the Billboard 200, triple platinum in the U.S., and spawned the singles “Any Way You Want It” and “Walks Like a Lady,” which rose to No. 23 and No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively. Also in 1980, Journey released the soundtrack album “Dream, After Dream” of the Japanese film of the same name.
In February 1981, Journey released their first live album, “Captured,” which the group recorded during their Departure tour in 1980. The album rose to No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and the Canadian Albums chart and went double platinum in the U.S. They released their next album, “Escape,” on July 31, 1981. The album scored No. 1 for one week on the Billboard 200 and has been certified 9x platinum by RIAA. “Escape” generated three Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with the Perry co-written songs “Who's Crying Now” (#4) “Don't Stop Believin'” (#9) and “Open Arms” (#2).
In 1982, Perry sang a duet with Kenny Loggins on the song “Don't Fight It,” which was included in Loggins' solo album “High Adventure” (1982). The song went to No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. He returned with Journey for the follow up studio album “Frontiers.” Released on February 22, 1983, the album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum six times in the U.S. It also achieved platinum status in Canada and Japan. “Frontiers” produced the singles “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” (#8), “Faithfully” (#12), “After the Fall” (#23) and “Send Her My Love” (#23). Perry co-wrote (with Jonathan Cain) the hit songs “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” and “Send Her My Love.”
After the release of “Frontiers” and the tour supporting this effort, Perry launched his first solo album, “Street Talk,” in April 1984 through Columbia (distributed via Next Plateau Entertainment). The album, which he produced, rose to No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and No. 59 on the U.K. Albums chart. It was certified double platinum by RIAA thanks to the hit single “Oh Sherrie,” which topped the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Canadian RPM 50 Singles and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also produced the hit singles “I Believe” (#43 US Main.), “She's Mine” (#21 US Hot & #15 Main), “Strung Out” (#40 US Hot & #17 Main.) and “Foolish Heart” (#18 US Hot & #2 US AC), which Perry wrote with Randy Goodrum. In 1985, Perry was a featured vocalist on the famed USA for Africa benefit song “We Are the World” and also recorded a song, “If Only For the Moment, Girl,” for the “We Are the World” album.
Perry was reunited with Journey for the album “Raised on Radio,” which left his second album, “Against the Wall,” unfinished. Released on May 27, 1986, “Raised on Radio,” which was produced by Perry, rose to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and certified double platinum by RIAA. It produced several singles, including “Be Good to Yourself” (#9 US Hot; #2 US Main.), “Suzanne” (#17 US Hot; #11 US Main.), “Girl Can't Help It” (#17 US Hot; # 9 US Main.) and “Ill Be Alright Without You” (#14 US Hot; #26 US Main.).
After Journey went on an extended, indefinite hiatus in 1987, Perry took a break from music and withdrew from the public eye for a number of years. In 1994, he resumed his solo career by releasing the album “For the Love of Strange Medicine,” which he produced with James Barton and Tim Miner. It rose to No. 15 on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold in the U.S. The singles “You Better Wait” and “Missing You” went to No. 29 and No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively.
In 1995, Perry was reunited with Journey band members Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Steve Smith and Ross Valory to record the album “Trial by Fire,” which was eventually released on October 22, 1996. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum in the U.S., and contained the hit single “When You Love a Woman,” which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award in the category Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.
In 1997, Perry injured his hip while hiking in Hawaii and the injury prevented Journey from embarking on a subsequent tour. The following year, Perry was fired from Journey and replaced by Steve Augeri of Tyketto and Tall Stories. The same year, he underwent successful hip replacement surgery and released his solo compilation album, “Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased.” He also recorded two songs for the Warner Bros. film “Quest for Camelot.”
In 2005, Perry produced a track called “The Secret of Moving On” for former Ambrosia lead vocalist David Pack's solo album. He also contributed backup vocals on several songs that he wrote with Pack after the September 11 attacks, including “A Brand New Start.”
On January 13, 2009, Sony Legacy released “Playlist: The Very Best of Steve Perry,” a compilation of some of Perry's best songs.