JOURNEY is one of the most popular American rock bands of all time, creating some of the best-known songs in modern music. They have continued to tour and record into the 21st century, and have never stopped creating vital music. Since the group's formation in 1973, the band has earned 19 Top 40 singles and 25 Gold and Platinum albums. The band's Greatest Hits album is certified 15 times Platinum, bringing Journey into the elite club of Diamond-certified album holders. Journey is re-energized for 2011 as they prepare to unleash their latest album of brand new material, Eclipse, featuring the line-up of Neal Schon (guitars, backing vocals), Jonathan Cain (keyboards, backing vocals), Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals), Deen Castronovo (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals).
The release of Eclipse marks the latest chapter in a rock 'n' roll saga that started more than 35 years ago in the San Francisco Bay Area. Guitarist Neal Schon left home at 15 years old to join Santana. In early 1973, Walter "Herbie" Herbert-a guitar tech and later manager for Santana and Journey-floated the idea about forming a new band around Schon, whom he called "the quintessential guitar expressionist of the time." Joining with two members of the popular local act Frumious Bandersnatch-former Steve Miller Band bassist Ross Valory and guitarist George Tickner-as well as drummer Prairie Prince, the all-instrumental act began performing as the Golden Gate Rhythm Section.
The quartet earned a local following, one that was strong enough for San Francisco FM station KSAN to hold a contest to see if a better name could be given to the GGRS. The contest yielded the moniker Journey. Santana keyboardist Gregg Rolie joined the band in the summer of 1973, and this first edition of Journey developed a largely instrumental progressive rock sound. When Prince left to pursue a career with The Tubes in early 1974, Journey recruited British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had performed with Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa and John Mayall. Later that year, Tickner left the band to attend medical school, leaving all guitar duties in the hands of Schon.
Columbia Records signed the group in November 1974, and each of the band's first three albums-Journey (1975), Look Into the Future (1976) and Next (1977)-charted higher than the previous release. The band embarked on a grueling touring schedule, staying on the road nine months per year performing music that Schon has referred to as "a rock 'n' roll version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra." But sales were not as strong as the label had hoped, and the band was asked to hire a full-time lead singer.
The first vocalist brought in was Robert Fleischman, who joined the band for a summer tour in 1977 and contributed songs including "Wheel In the Sky" and "Winds of March." But Fleischman left the band and was soon replaced by a young Steve Perry, who was brought into the band on the recommendation of Herbert. After hearing Perry's demo with his previous band, Alien Project, Journey made Perry their new lead singer.
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