Their greatest song? "Don't Stop Believin'" could well be it. Great hook, great playing, great singing.
But before they became the "Steve Perry Band" they put out 3 records of VERY tasty proggy-fusion. I have a real sentimental soft spot for those albums, especially the 1st. To this day I still play "Kohoutek" in the car every couple of weeks (especially at night). My missus, in between rolling her eyes, can readily testify to that.
Even after Perry joined I didn't mind at all, because whenever he and Rolie shared the lead vocal on a song it was magic. Something about the way their voices contrasted was brilliant, in much the same way that the PF songs that are co-sung by Gilmour and Waters are amazing.
Though I dearly miss Rolie's singing, I won't knock Perry's voice. Despite what the nay-sayers spout, Perry does have a soulful voice. The oft-made comparisons to Sam Cooke are valid, and even his most fervent detractors have to admit... he's the most talented Gelfling you ever saw.
When you're talking about Journey it seems to me you're really talking about 3 bands. There's the previously mentioned pre-Steve Perry prog version (remember that Journey was formed by guys from Santana). After Perry joined they were a 70s AOR arena rock band (Wheel In The Sky, Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin', etc.). I think the big change was really when Gregg Rollie left and Jonathan Cain (The Babys) replaced him on keys and they became more of an 80s pop rock band with ballads like Open Arms and Faithfully, and Rollie's Hammond B3 was replaced by synths (e.g. Separate Ways). I agree with Octoberman about Gregg Rollie's vocals (maybe best known as the lead singer on Santana's version of Black Magic Woman) - my favorite Journey songs are still Feeling That Way/Anytime.
Not a big fan of their post-70s stuff, but Steve Perry's a great singer whatever one thinks of the music. I hear Sam Cooke all over his singing. I have to say, Escape and Frontiers are 2 of the worst sounding records I've ever heard, production-wise. How do you make a drummer as good as Steve Smith sound like he's banging on a cardboard box with a sheet over it? For me, the live Captured set from 1980 is their best album.
I have to say, Escape and Frontiers are 2 of the worst sounding records I've ever heard, production-wise. How do you make a drummer as good as Steve Smith sound like he's banging on a cardboard box with a sheet over it?
I can't help adding that on some of the albums prior to the ones El Goodo mentioned, the sonics were pretty grotty. Roy Thomas Baker may have been an ace producer, but sometimes it seemed like he couldn't properly record a bass guitar (or a snare drum, for that matter) if his life depended on it. When "Escape" came out, Valory said it was a treat to finally be heard.
No, those albums don't sound good at all (Infinity and what, Evolution?). That's why I like the live record best. That was pretty common with 70s rock bands, the live records smoke the studio ones. Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous, Kiss Alive, Live At Leeds, and the Frampton one come to mind.
I like Baker's work with Queen, but even there it's the same thing with the drums and bass Octoberman is talking about with the Journey stuff. But then that first Cars record sounds great all around, so go figure.
I do think Don't Stop Believing is a great song, and some others on Escape are too. Stone In Love is a good tune, Mother Father is another good one. It's been forever since I've heard it.
While we refuse to get into a thoroughly subjective contest as to what constitutes a ‘soulful’ voice, we will go on unroyal record as saying once we were (however brilliantly-belatedly) introduced to Steve Perry’s emotionally-enhanced renditions during his Journey period, we were immediately (and it’s lasted to this day) inclined to list him among our favorite all-tyme SINGERS - period..
Far more so than the untalented screamers ala the ridiculous and eternally embarrassing spectacle that’s
As to that – and if this upsets the sacred heresy of his shrine, tough – we even prefer Mr. Perry to the over-rated vanilla-ized ‘colorful’ efforts of even
who, tho not untalented, has a significance far more symbolic than as pertains to substantial talent or ability to profoundly move you with his passionate evocations of not only general heartbreak but universal HUMANITY.
Which places Mr. Perry far closer to the unimpeachable Sam Cooke than one first richly realizes.
Great, funny stuff! Journey and Miguel Ferrer. What more can you ask?
Side note: anyone else remember the Toto video Ferrer did? It was for "I Will Remember" (ha-ha). Fantastic tune, fantastic vid. A sci-fi-slanted affair with an unexpectedly potent boot to the heart. Yes, I know... it's not exactly "Cyrano", but Papa Jose was an act very few could follow.
EDITED TO ADD: I hadn't seen the video for a while so I just checked it out again... I'd forgotten that there were also a few very cool cameos in it. Not to mention Weird Al Yankovic on drums (er, ah, just joking... I mean Simon Phillips).
I remember a letter to Rolling Stone magazine where the reader said something like "We might not have Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan like the kids of the 1960s, but we have Journey and Don't Stop Believin'"
At the time, I chuckled...now, I think she may not have been so wrong, in terms of quality comparisons.
For me, "Don't Stop Believing" is their best single, but "Faithfully," with it's big-time fireworks ending, is the best rock vocal in the world.
"Faithfully" certainly got a helluva lot of air time back then, but it would seem that "Don't Stop Believin" has trumped it in terms of what is prominent in the collective memory. Kind of like how Singin' in the Rain has proven more memorable than An American in Paris...