“Anyway You Want It,” “Faithfully,” “Separate Ways,” “Wheel in the Sky,” the list of Journey standards goes on and on.If you’ve ever wondered whatever happened to the man who gave us these timeless classics, you aren’t alone in that either.“Wheel in the Sky,” the tune ironically penned by Fleischman during his brief tenure with the band, would be their first single to chart on the Hot 100. Journey’s career took off like a rocket over the following albums.1979’s album Evolution let them break into the Billboard Hot 100 top 20, while a song on 1980’s Departure, “Any Way You Want It,” busted into the top twenty-five of the Hot 200.You’re just some guy on karaoke night who sang a passable version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” to a kind and slightly drunk audience at the local dive. At thousands of bars in America on any given night, one of Journey’s classic hits is wailing out from worn speakers and people are singing along as best as their intoxication level allows.On morning commutes, at dead end jobs, in food courts, at basketball games, and in the shower, people are singing along too.Today, Escape ranks as one of the greatest selling studio albums of all-time, having been certified platinum nine times over, with more than twelve million copies sold.Their next album, Frontiers, was nearly as successful, spawning the hits “Faithfully,” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).”Success was a double-edged sword for the band, however.
While “Lights” was only a minor hit at the time, another song from the album was about to put Journey on the map. Billboard 200 charts and fared nearly as well in Canada.None of these albums were hits, however, and it was clear that Rolie’s vocals were not up to par.The other band members took vocal lessons, but were unable to exceed even Rolie’s abilities. After switching their musical style to a more American sound, which was inspired by bands like Foreigner and Journey, manager Herbert turned his attention to the vocalist problem. Fleischman and the band began to work on writing a new album, but they wouldn’t finish it.In a now famous anecdote, Herbert had Perry shadow the band on tour, pretending to be their roadie’s cousin while Fleischman continued to sing.After Perry felt comfortable with the material, he was given a chance to show off during sound check, and Herbert was floored.The band’s manager, Herbie Herbert, decided that they were too good to serve as a simple backing band. Their roadie, John Villaneuva, is often credited with creating the name Journey, although this fact is sometimes disputed. Their initial style was inspired by the progressive hard rock sound that was popular in England at the time.For their first three albums, beginning with self-titled Journey, which was released in 1975, keyboardist Gregg Rolie took up the lion’s share of vocal duties.Perry co-wrote the soft rock ballad “Lights” with Neal Schon.The song was the perfect exhibition for Perry’s powerful, dulcet vocals.He was asked to perform guest vocals on dozens of albums for other musicians. During his time off from Journey, Perry recorded and released a solo album, entitled Street Talk, which sold over 2 million copies.“Oh, Sherrie” and “Foolish Heart” each landed high on singles charts. Two more band members were fired from Journey as the band attempted to reunite due to newfound musical differences.