by Carol Anne Szel-Who has taken the journey over the years with Journey? Or bands like that. The bands who seem to meander through the years as original members dwindle down until there is like one 50-year-old keyboard player left from the band’s inception who carries on the name?
Journey is a band, perhaps because Steve Perry has had such a vivid impact on its fan base since he was the face of the group as it skyrocketed during the 80s heyday of MTV and its make-or-break power of that time.
That being said, I have to give journey some slack because their humble beginnings were as kind of a multi-singer band. Starting with Gregg Rolie on vocals from ’73 through ’77 with Robert Fleishman and then ultimately Steve Perry both signing up in 1977, Journey was a band seeking a sound in those early years.
Perry is the one, however, that was the frontman that sort of reeled in the success and the spotlight that is Journey. We’re talking 1981’s Escape which went NINE times platinum spawning hits like Who’s Cryin’ Now, Don’t Stop Believin’ and Open Arms. Two years later Journey released the album Frontiers which posted four hits including what is arguably the greatest heart-breaking rock ballad of all time, Faithfully.
Which brings me back to the topic of a band changing players over time. Specifically in this case, the face of the band, the frontman. Since 2007 to present day, Journey has employed the amazing talent of Arnel Pineda, who I think is a vocal prowess not to be reckoned with in singing the band’s catalog of tunes. The question is, as with other bands like Gary Cherone’s brief stint as lead singer of Van Halen for one album in the early 90s, (but that’s a whole other ball of wax!) when is enough change enough until a band becomes little more than a cover band? But maybe it’s just me.
I recently came across the original video for Journey’s song Faithfully. As we all watched it time and time again on MTV back in the early days of video’s huge power play on the scheme of music. It IS the song for me. The tune played with the current singer sounds amazing, but it’s just not what the song represented to its fans 27 years ago. It’s not that the face of the players have changed, the times have changed and Neal Schone has some more wrinkles on his face, or whatever it may be. It is that ofttimes a band, like Journey who was made on a song like Faithfully, should leave well enough alone.
Maybe it’s just me. What do you think? Should bands switch singers, with such an iconic song like Faithfully for example, on the line? Is it fair to fans? Or do they become a cover band?
Original music video by Journey with Steve Perry performing Faithfully. (C)1983 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Arnel Pineda w/ Journey – Faithfully on Ellen Degeneres Show