Backtracks: Journey – Infinity

 

In late 1977 Journey got a lucky break when they found Steve Perry and added him to the band lineup as their new lead vocalist. Around that time Roy Thomas Baker was putting the finishing touches on The Cars debut album, and we know how that turned out. Journey manager Herbie Herbert put Thomas Baker under contract to produce the fourth Journey album, Infinity.

The writing was a joint effort of the entire band, plus Matt Schon, the father of guitarist Neil Schon. Schon and Perry wrote most of the tunes and contributed to the others. Recording sessions in San Francisco and Los Angeles produced the fourth album from the group. Infinity was a great launching pad for the band’s next phase which would see them go from a club level act to arena superstars.

Journey began traveling as a band in 1973, with their home base in San Francisco. Two of the founding members, Schon and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, had been touring and recording with guitar master Carlos Santana. After unsuccessful attempts at finding a name for the new group, one of the roadies allegedly suggested ‘Journey’, and they began their journey at Winterland in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve of 1973.

Several of the songs on this one have become bona fide classics including “Lights”, “Feeling That Way”, “Wheel In The Sky” and the proggish “Winds Of March”. The use of occasional duel lead vocals between Perry and Rollie works perfectly since they have such unique and different vocal styles. The music on this one is much less progressive oriented than on the band’s previous discs, but there is still some very nice guitar, keyboard, drum standout performances.  

The band has been in a love/hate relationship with music fans in general for years. Critics label them as “sell-outs” in search of quick, one-off pop hits, while the band itself continues to achieve popularity worldwide. This success was met with criticism. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide gave each of the band’s albums only one star, with Dave Marsh stating that “Journey was a dead end for San Francisco area rock.” Marsh later would elevate Escape to one of the worst number-one albums of all time. Following Infinity, the group worked it’s way into the mainstream via MTV and extensive arena touring. With four Top Ten albums in the first six years of the Eighties, you could say they were the ‘Golden Boys’ of the sound scene, ranking up there with Foreigner, Boston, Def Leppard and other long-haul rock outfits.

At latest tally Journey has sold 48 million albums in the United States, making them the 25th best-selling band. Their worldwide sales have reached close to 90 million records, making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time. A 2005 USA Today opinion poll named Journey the fifth best American rock band in history. Their songs have become arena rock staples and are still played on rock radio stations across the world. Journey ranks No. 96 on VH1‘s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – we like the term #RockHaHaOfFame – with the class of 2017. Inductees included lead singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardists Jonathan Cain and Gregg Rolie, bassist Ross Valory, and drummers Aynsley Dunbar and Steve Smith. The current line-up has a website with the newest info, and FaceBook and Twitter host more related stuff.






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