While they are best known for their ubiquitous, radio-friendly light rock hits of the late '70s and '80s, San Francisco's Journey grew from very different roots. The band formed in 1973, originally under the moniker the Golden Gate Rhythm Section. The group was built around guitarist Neal Schon and keyboard player Gregg Rolie, who had played together in Santana's backing band, and bassist Ross Vallory, who is still with the group. Journey, which also featured short-lived guitarist George Tickner and drummer Aynsley Dunbar, readied their first LP in 1975. The self-titled effort is a jazzy, progressive album that showed off the prodigious talent of the group. With Rolie handling lead vocals, the album flopped, as did their next two albums.
With Columbia getting increasingly nervous about their modest sales, the group made a left turn on their 1978 LP, Infinity. Knowing they needed a stronger vocalist, Rolie reluctantly relinquished his post to Robert Fleischman, who, after less than a year, lost his job to a precocious powerhouse from central California named Steve Perry. Perry made his debut on Infinity, which shot to No. 21 on the Billboard Charts. The album features classics like "Lights" and "Wheel In The Sky," which was co-written by Fleischman.
From there, the hits kept coming. Tracks like "Don't Stop Believin'," "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," and "Any Way You Want It" kept Journey perched on top of the charts through the late '70s and mid-'80s. Rolie stuck it out until 1981, when he was replaced by Jonathan Cain, who wrote, among other things, the legendary melody for 1981's "Open Arms," which his previous band the Babys dismissed. "Open Arms" went on to be one of the most popular power ballads of all time, hitting No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The group's run finally ended after 1986's Raised on Radio, and the group split in 1987. They reformed in 1995 to release 1996's Trial By Fire, which was a successful comeback. However, the honeymoon was short-lived when, in 1997, Perry injured his hip in a bizarre hiking accident. The group replaced him with Steve Augeri, who was later replaced by Arnel Pineda. Journey continues to tour and record new music today.