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Born: January 22, 1949
Biography: If only one singer could be selected as the most identifiable with '80s arena rock, it would have to be Journey's Steve Perry. Born Stephen Ray Perry in Hanford, CA, on January 22, 1949 (to Portuguese parents), Perry was raised in another California town, Lemoore, during which time he worked at his stepfather's turkey ranch. But by the age of 18, Perry wanted to try and fulfill his rock & roll dreams, so he relocated to Los Angeles. The singer paid the bills by lending his vocals to radio and TV advertisements, as well as working as an engineer at Crystal Studios. In addition to singing, Perry was also a drummer and involved in several different bands during the '60s/'70s, including such obscure local acts as the Nocturns, Dollar Bills, Sullies, Ice, Pieces, and Alien Project, the latter of which was on the verge of signing a recording contract when the group's bassist died in a car accident, promptly leading to the group's breakup.
Infinity Dejected, Perry gave up on music completely and returned back to Lemoore to work once more at his stepfather's turkey ranch. But at his mother's insistence, Perry decided to give music another try. Just as he came to the realization, the manager of the prog rock/fusion act Journey, Herbie Herbert, contacted Perry to see if he'd like to try out for the lead singer spot in the group. Perry was eventually welcomed into the band and Journey's sound shifted away from their early indulgent style and toward a more focused mainstream rock sound.
The move paid off; over the course of several albums in the late '70s (1978's Infinity, 1979's Evolution, and 1980's Departure), the Perry led version of Journey became one of the top U.S. arena rock bands. Founding keyboardist Gregg Rolie was replaced by former Babys member Jonathan Cain shortly thereafter, which would result in Perry finding a perfect songwriting partner. Just when it appeared as though Journey couldn't get any more popular, Journey scored two of the early '80s biggest rock records back to back -- 1981's Escape and 1983's Frontiers -- which confirmed what fans had known for several years: that the group members were the undisputed kings of arena rock (as the two albums spawned such massive hit singles as "Don't Stop Believin'," "Who's Crying Now," "Open Arms," "Separate Ways," and "Faithfully"). [Read more via AllMusic here]
Watch (Journey): Official VEVO/YouTube Page