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Steve Perry (musician)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (November 2010)|
Perry in 1986
|Birth name||Stephen Ray Perry (Pereira in Portuguese)|
|Born||January 22, 1949 (1949-01-22) |
Hanford, California, US
|Genres||Hard rock, pop rock, pop|
|Years active||1977–1998, 2011—|
Next Plateau Entertainment (distribution only)
|Associated acts||Journey, Alien Project, USA for Africa, The Sullies|
Perry was named the 76th greatest singer of all-time by Rolling Stone on its list of "The 100 Greatest Singers of All-Time". Allmusic said of Perry: "If only one singer could be selected as the most identifiable with '80s arena rock, it would have to be Journey's Steve Perry."
Perry resides in Del Mar, California.
Early yearsBorn in Hanford, California, Perry is of Portuguese descent. Perry grew up interested in music, as his father, Ray Pereira (who later changed his last name to Perry), was a vocalist. On his twelfth birthday (January 22, 1961), Mary presented her son with a gold eighth note necklace, which he still wears for good luck. When Steve was ten years old, he heard Sam Cooke's song "Cupid" on his mother's car radio. This inspired Perry to become a singer.
The family moved to Lemoore, California during Steve's teen years. He attended high school there, drumming in the marching band as well as in extracurricular bands. He attended College of the Sequoias, in Visalia, California for a short time after graduation, where he took first tenor in the choir there. Perry's mother encouraged his musical growth during this time.
Steve moved to Banta, California outside of Tracy, California, where he fronted the band Alien Project in his mid-twenties. 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, Perry answered a call from Walter "Herbie" Herbert, manager of the struggling San Francisco-based band, Journey.
|This biographical section of an article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (November 2009)|
Perry brought a completely new pop sound to the band's music, despite 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, and received a mixed reception. Perry determinedly proved the critics right, and won over new audiences on his first album with the group, Infinity, which included a song of his own composition 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 accepted.
He 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 went to #1 on the Billboard charts), Frontiers (1983), Raised on Radio (1986), and Trial By Fire (1996). The single "Open Arms," from Escape, was their biggest hit single, residing for six weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Perry had become the unmistakable voice of Journey throughout his time with the band.
During his tenure with Journey, Perry sang backing vocals on several Sammy Hagar songs, including the 1980 track "Run For Your Life," and duetting with Kenny Loggins on the 1982 #17 hit single "Don't Fight It." Perry also worked with other musicians such as Sheena Easton, Clannad and Jon Bon Jovi during the height of his career.
In 1984, following the release of Frontiers and the tour supporting this effort, Perry released his first solo album, entitled Street Talk, named after the original name of Perry's earlier band Alien Project. The record sold more than 2 million units, scoring the hit singles #3 "Oh Sherrie," written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, and #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, amongst 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. It was during this period also that Perry worked with the Irish folk-rock group Clannad on their 1987 album Sirius.
Perry debated continuing a solo career or returning to Journey after the success of Street Talk. He left his second solo album Against the Wall unfinished and instead sang on Journey's Raised on Radio album. Perry would revisit his solo project after the Raised On Radio tour but it never saw completion. Several of the songs that were recorded for Against the Wall, however, did appear much later on Perry's 1998 solo compilation, Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased.
While Steve was re-uniting 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 Raised on Radio. 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, as Steve later said, he was "toasted." Journey disbanded in 1987 after the Raised on Radio tour. Perry then disappeared from the public eye for seven years afterward, taking a break from the music industry.
Leaving JourneyIn 1994, Perry released For the Love of Strange Medicine, his second solo effort. The album enjoyed some success, partly due to the Strange Medicine world tour.
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 #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 would be required. Reluctant to rush into surgery, Perry wished to postpone the tour. Due to the long wait between the album's release and the tour's postponed kick-off date, as well as the absence of Journey's iconic frontman, Journey fans were losing hope for the band's future.
Meanwhile, long-time Journey drummer Steve Smith resigned, reportedly because Journey without Steve Perry was like Jack without his box. (Smith had rejoined, along with original Journey member Ross Valory, to complete what Perry has referred to as the band's wedding band line-up.)
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 and presented an ultimatum that he either undergo hip replacement surgery so the tour could proceed upon his recovery or a replacement singer would be hired. Perry, still hesitant to undergo surgery and now apparently upset at his bandmates' intractability and their perceived meddling in personal health decisions, decided to part ways with Journey. Perry's vocal duties were later taken over by Steve Augeri of Tall Stories, and nearly two years after the album's initial release, Journey began its long-postponed tour.
While being interviewed during Journey's Revelation tour of 2008, Schon and Cain praised Perry's mighty presence in Journey, adding that Perry had "raised the bar" for Journey. Bassist Valory suggested Journey lead singers who sound like him do so in honor of Perry's legacy with Journey.
Post-JourneyPerry underwent successful hip replacement surgery in 1998 to correct the problem he had been diagnosed with two years earlier. He 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.
Journey was the subject of an episode of VH1's Behind the Music in 2001, where Perry made the controversial statement that he "never really felt like he was part of the band", to which former manager Herbie Herbert reacted saying "that's like the Pope saying he never really felt Catholic."
Steve Perry appeared at Journey's star 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. Perry indicated that, though it was a good experience, his rejoining Journey is not likely. However, he has also stated "[n]ever say never, unless you mean never, never the less" when the issue of returning to Journey has been brought up.
In 2005, Perry produced "The Secret of Moving On", a track on a solo album for former Ambrosia lead vocalist David Pack. Perry also provided background vocals for "A Brand New Start," among the many songs he and Pack co-wrote shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The 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."
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 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, a compilation of some of his best songs.
Perry rekindled a childhood love for cattle and dairy farming, including an interest in a small bovine insemination business in California's Central Valley.
Perry attended Game 5 of the 2010 World Series in San Francisco. In the middle of the eighth inning of Game 2 of the 2010 World Series, more than 43,000 San Francisco Giants fans at AT&T Park began singing along to the song "Lights" by Journey. Perry, a Giants fan, was shown jumping around on the scoreboard and pumping up the crowd. The Giants went on to win 9–0 over the Texas Rangers.
In an interview with, 'Classic Rock Presents AOR' released in December 2010 it was revealed that Perry has written over 50 songs and is contemplating his first solo project since 1994. "A little over a year and a half ago, I felt I could maybe come back to it, I have been writing. I have about 50 songs, in a little over a year. I never thought I would do it again, but I decided to open up that room and see what I could find. It's been interesting. Some of it sounds familiar, some of it sounds contemporary, some of it you can't put a label on - and I've never been big on labels anyway." Perry is reluctant however to put a timescale on his return. "I'll be honest, I don't really know how to do that but I can definitely smell a solo project on the horizon. I will be recording some music."
Singing voiceSam Cooke has been widely recognized as a major influence on Steve Perry's vocal style.
He ranked number 76 in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Queen guitarist Brian May said in a 2007 interview "Perry is a truly luminous singer, in my opinion — a voice in a million. And if anybody knows a great voice, it's me", in reference to former bandmate Freddie Mercury.
In a recent interview, former bassist, Sony record executive, and American Idol judge Randy Jackson opined that "Other than Robert Plant, there's no singer in rock that even came close to Steve Perry". Jackson goes on to say "The power, the range, the tone — he created his own style. He mixed a little Motown, a little Everly Brothers, a little Zeppelin." Jackson also puts the rumors to rest about Perry's voice saying "I just saw him not long ago, and he still has the golden voice." Steve was awarded the title of "greatest rock singer" in WROQ's 2010 March Bracket Brawl for the greatest rock singer.
|1984||Street Talk||12||59||2× Platinum|
|1994||For the Love of Strange Medicine||15||64||Gold|
|1995||Perry's Coming [Japan-only release]||—||—|
|1998||Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased||—||—|
|2009||Playlist: The Very Best of Steve Perry||—||—|
|Year||Title||Peak chart position||Album|
|1982||"Don't Fight It"|
(with Kenny Loggins)
|1984||"Oh Sherrie"||3||1||33||89||Street Talk|
|1994||"You Better Wait"||29||6||17||—||For the Love of Strange Medicine|
|"Young Hearts Forever"||—||—||—||—|
|1998||"I Stand Alone"||—||—||—||—||Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased|
|"When You're In Love (For The First Time)"||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
- ^ Steve Perry Biography at Yahoo! Music
- ^ a b c Greatest Singers of All Time, Rolling Stone
- ^ Steve Perry. Allmusic. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
- ^ Radio interview, KNBR, 8 October 2010.
- ^ Steve Perry Answers Your Questions, Teen Talk Magazine, May 1985.
- ^ a b c d MelodicRock.com Interviews: Steve Perry −2005
- ^ Carty, Matt. Castles Burning: The Herbie Herbert Interview, 2001.
- ^ Steve Perry's Biography Would he come back?
- ^ NYT Archive: Perry says "Never say never," 8/13/03
- ^ Steve Perry Movement message boards/forum
- ^ Roth, Kaj. Steve Perry - New Best Of Album Out On Jan. 13, melodic.net, 7 December 2008.
- ^ "Hometown Boy 'Journeys' Back to the Farm". http://www.thelemooreadvance.com/articles/2009/09/21/news/doc4aa04bfdb46cf718118482.txt. [dead link]
- ^ Steve Perry at Giants Game, StevePerryOnline.net
- ^ "I've Got 50 New Songs!". StevePerryOnline.net. http://steveperryonline.net/index.php/2010/11/28/steve-perry-has-written-50-new-songs/.
- ^ "Steve Perry, Sam Cooke, Arnel Pineda, and My Journey To Obsession". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-sachs/steve-perry-sam-cooke-arn_b_110186.html.
- ^ Queen Guitarist Weighs In On Journey Singer Changes, RoadrunnerRecords.com
- ^ Steve Perry News, StevePerryOnline.net
- ^ March Bracket Brawl 2010, WROQ
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Steve Perry (musician)|
- Journey Rocker Kept Sopranos Boss Waiting (archived link)
|Journey lead vocalist|
|Date of birth||January 22, 1949|
|Place of birth||Hanford, California, US|
|Date of death|
|Place of death|