Follow TV Tropes


Music / Journey (Band)

Go To
Journey's "classic" lineup, from Escape and Frontiers.
From left to right: Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory,
Neal Schon, Steve Perry and Steve Smith.
The lineup up until 2020.
From left to right: Ross Valory, Steve Smith,
Arnel Pineda, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain.

"Don't stop! Believin'!"

An American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1973. Initially a jazz-based progressive rock group with keyboard player Gregg Rolie as the lead vocalist, the label eventually requested they get a full frontman. Enter Steve Perry, and the band immediately shifted to a more commercial pop/rock sound. They went on to release a string of multi-platinum hits from the late seventies to mid-eighties. Along the way, they became one of the most popular rock and roll bands in America, and quite possibly the definitive Arena Rock group of the decade.

Ask anyone to name an '80s band and Journey will probably be one of the first names that pops out. Tuning in to any soft rock or easy-listening radio station gives you a roughly 80% chance of hearing one of their songs at any given moment.

The band still tours today with Arnel Pineda as the current lead singer and has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years. They hit a snag in 2020 due to lawsuits and countersuits involving Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, and Steve Smith, but all parties involved reached a settlement in 2021, allowing the band to continue with a refreshed lineup.

Not to be confused with 3 video games of the same name, the 1983 one actually being based on one 'Frontiers' album. Then there's their "Escape"-based video game, Journey Escape.


The band has had many members over the years. Current members in bold:

  • Steve Perry - lead vocals, occasional keyboards (1977-1998)
  • Neal Schon - lead guitar, backing vocals (1973-present)
  • Ross Valory - bass guitar, backing vocals (1973-1985, 1995-2020)
  • Steve Smith - drums, backing vocals (1978-1985, 1995-1998, 2015-2020)
  • Jonathan Cain - keyboards, piano, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1980-present)
  • Arnel Pineda - lead vocals (2007-present)
  • Gregg Rolie - keyboards, lead and backing vocals, harmonica (1973-1980)
  • George Tickner - rhythm guitar, backing vocals (1973-1975)
  • Prairie Prince - drums (1973-1974)
  • Aynsley Dunbar - drums (1974-1978)
  • Robert Fleischman - lead vocals (1977)
  • Randy Jacksonnote  - bass guitar, backing vocals (1985-1987, 2020-2021)
  • Steve Augeri - lead vocals (1998-2006)
  • Deen Castronovo - drums, backing and occasional lead vocals (1998-2015, 2021-present)
  • Jeff Scott Soto - lead vocals (2006-2007)
  • Narada Michael Walden - drums (2020–2021)
  • Jason Derlatka – keyboards, backing vocals (2020–present)
  • Todd Jensen – bass guitar, backing vocals (2022-present)

Journey's songs include:


  • Journey — 1975
  • Look Into the Future — 1976
  • Next — 1977
  • Infinity — 1978
  • Evolution — 1979
  • Departure — 1980
  • Dream, After Dream — 1980
  • Captured (Live) — 1981
  • Escape (a.k.a. E5C4P3) — 1981
  • Frontiers — 1983
  • Raised on Radio — 1986
  • Trial by Fire — 1996
  • Arrival — 2001
  • Red 13 — 2003
  • Generations — 2005
  • Revelation — 2008
  • Eclipse — 2011
  • Freedom — 2022

"When the tropes, go down in the city":

  • Artistic License – Geography: There is no such place as "south Detroit" — indeed, if one were to go south from downtown Detroit, one would end up in the Detroit River, and after that Windsor, Ontario, and after that Lake Erie...note 
  • Audience Participation Song:
    • Spontaneously occurs whenever anyone starts singing or playing "Don't Stop Believin'".
    • "Any Way You Want It": ALL NIGHT! all night... three lead singers have done the same audience call and response for the chorus.
    • "Faithfully": Journey can and has simply let the audience sing the whole song to them. Steve Perry was known for that during the Raised on Radio tour.
    • When doing "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" live, Steve Perry would often just let the audience sing the "na nana..." segment.
    • Even more so after 2010, when all four were featured in the same lively episode of Glee.
  • Band Land: Journey's Bally arcade game in the Eighties was 100% this! You bounced on drums, fired at moving microphones, played your piano to shoot down things, used your guitar as a jetpack...then fought off groupies trying to steal your instruments. Pure cheesy gold!
  • The Band Minus the Face: Zig-zagged. While Journey with Steve Augeri never had the same success as they'd had with Perry, they got a massive resurgence outside the US when Arnel Pineda came on board, and their first album with him (Revelation) became their best-selling since Perry's departure.
  • Celeb Crush: Over the years, the band has been eye-candy and fangirl bait, with Steve Perry probably being the most chattered about by the female fans.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
  • Concept Video:
  • Conveyor Belt Video: "Separate Ways" has a sequence where the camera pans down the line of band members, who each get right up on the camera in turn to shred away.
  • Cool Ship: The Scarab Escape Vehicle, which appeared on their 1981 album Escape.
  • Distinct Double Album: Revelation, with one disc full of covers from the Steve Perry lineup and the second disc full of original material.
  • Double Entendre: Steve Perry's "Can't Stop", which appeared on "For The Love of Strange Medicine", makes use of this trope with cheesy, over-the-top lyrics filled with Unusual Euphemisms like "You light my fuse" and "The feel of your ocean".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Their first three albums (before adding Steve Perry) go for more of a heavy jazz fusion and Progressive Rock sound than the later Arena Rock sound that made them famous.
  • The '80s: In spite of having been around since the early seventies (and Schon and Rolie had been active musicians for longer than that as members of Santana), their most successful records came out between 1980 and 1986, and they're known primarily as an eighties band.
  • Expy:
    • Hugo of Valentine. Compare Hugo in Valentine's "No Way" to Steve Perry in "Anyway You Want It". Considering Hugo then went on to found a Journey tribute band...yeah.
    • Survivor's Jimi Jamison. Compare his look and sound in "Can't Hold Back" with any of Journey's Frontiers-era videos or Steve Perry's "Oh Sherrie" — even Jamison's jacket in the train sequence matches Perry's shirt in "Oh Sherrie". It was so obvious that even Perry commented on it in interviews at the time.
  • The Four Chords of Pop: "Don't Stop Believin'" is the definitive example people use when talking about this trope. It's used by The Axis of Awesome to open every performance of their famous medley of four-chord songs, and Todd in the Shadows uses a clip for his Running Gag about said four chords.
  • Four More Measures: "Don't Stop Believin'".
  • Greatest Hits Album: Several, one of which (titled Greatest Hits and released in 1988) is their biggest-selling release to date.
  • Homesickness Hymn:
    • "Faithfully" was written by keyboardist Jonathan Cain after considering how the band and crew were sacrificing family life for their music careers. While the song is primarily about missing loved ones, it does offer something of an upside:
      "Two strangers learn to fall in love again
      I get the joy of rediscovering you."
    • "Lights", while being fairly light on lyrical content, is another example of songs about being on the road and missing home. In this case, the narrator wants to "get back to my city on the bay."
    • "Wheel in the Sky", in contrast, is less about missing loved ones (although one is mentioned) than simply being tired of constantly being on the road, not knowing where you'll be the following morning.
  • Intercourse with You: "Sweet and Simple", "Any Way You Want It", "Homemade Love", and "Dixie Highway". Yes, Steve lied to you. It's not about the Dixie Highway. It's about doing it with a girl in Dixie.
  • Large Ham: Steve Perry, with his insistence on constantly playing to the crowd with call/response tactics and exaggerated strutting and preening onstage. You do have to be one to be an Arena Rock singer, after all.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'", the narrator's lover cheats on him, only to have her lover cheat on her in return.
  • List Song: The lyrics of the title track to 1986's Raised on Radio strings together over a hundred song titles from The '50s and The '60s.
  • Live Album: Captured (1981), Greatest Hits Live (1998), and "Escape: Live in Houston" (released in 2006, recorded in 1981).
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Steve Perry, to the point that the man himself fetishized and parodied this trope during his solo tour for For the Love of Strange Medicine by making a huge production of taking a ponytail-tie out of his waist-length hair. Visit any fanboard, and there'll almost always be posts gushing about Perry's long hair.
  • Lyrical Cold Open:
    • "Any way you want it! That's the way you need it! Any way you want it!" (Guitar riff) ... (Technically, there's a drumbeat at the same moment as the first syllable, and a couple more before the guitar starts up, but it's close enough for jazz.)
    • "Anytime". ("Ooooooooh-ooh, anytime that you want me. Oohhhhh-ooh, anytime that you need me." [drum fill])
  • Mocking Sing-Song: The scatting at the end of "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" does sound sing-songy, given that it happens at the end of the sung lyric, "Now it's your turn, girl, to cry."
  • New Sound Album: When Journey started up in 1973, it was a Progressive Rock band with jazz-fusion, Latin music and psychedelic influences (Rolie and Schon, the two leaders of the early group, were both former members of Santana) which sounds like Led Zeppelin or Rush. The addition of Steve Perry on the album Infinity started a transitional period where they sounded very similar to Queen or Boston, and the departure of bandleader Gregg Rolie and subsequent addition of synth-maestro Jonathan Cain for Escape completed the shift to the melodic AOR sound the band are best known for today.
  • Ode to Youth: "Stone in Love" is about nostalgia for being young and getting it on down by the railroad tracks.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. Journey has had three Steves, two at the same time: Steve Perry (lead singer), Steve "Smitty" Smith (drummer) and Steve Augeri (lead singer following Perry's departure from the band).
  • Painted-On Pants: Steve Perry wears these in the "Just the Same Way" video.
  • Performance Video: "I'll Be Alright Without You", "Any Way You Want It", "Don't Stop Believin'", "Higher Place", "When You Love a Woman", "Girl Can't Help It"... every one of these is just a video of the band performing the song in some venue or another. The band's videos more or less ran on this trope.
  • Power Ballad: Journey pioneered the form with "Open Arms" and "Faithfully" and continue to be known for their ballads.
  • Sad Clown: "I'm cryin'... the lonely tears of clowns..."
  • Scatting: The last minute-and-a-half of "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" go "na nana na nana nanana nana, na nana na nana na nana nana..."
  • Self-Titled Album: Their 1975 debut album.
  • Shout-Out: The lyrics to "Raised on Radio" are almost entirely composed of quotes from classic popular music.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" and "City of the Angels, from the Evolution album; the songs run back to back with only a beat of silence between them. Ditto "Feeling That Way"/"Anytime".
  • Spin-Off: After the group split following the Raised On Radio Tour, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain teamed up with John Waite (the lead singer in Cain's former group, the Babys) to form Bad English. Around the same time, Cain's predecessor Gregg Rolie teamed up with Ross Valory and Steve Smith to form a similar group called the Storm.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Former drummer Deen Castronovo (who played in Bad English with Schon and Cain) is an accomplished rock singer himself, and often performed a few songs from behind his kit in his time with Journey.
    • Generations has five songs like this, with at least one song for every member at the time other than Steve Augeri.
  • Stylistic Suck: Depending on who you talk to, the awful-but-entertaining "Separate Ways" video was this.
  • Supergroup: Early on, the band was a guitarist (Neal Schon) and the keyboard player/lead vocalist (Gregg Rolie) from Santana, the bass player (Ross Valory) from the Steve Miller Band, and the drummer (Aynsley Dunbar) from so many groups (Frank Zappa, Jeff Beck, etc.).
  • The Svengali: Herbie Herbert, band manager. The man claims all the credit for founding Journey, to the point where he was playing group members off each other in a continual power struggle to keep his "creative" vision. Interview here.
  • Talky Bookends:
    • The video for Steve Perry's solo number-one hit, "Oh Sherrie". It starts as a Concept Video set in the Middle Ages, but the music grinds to a halt and we discover we're on the set for the video. Perry gets disgusted with the video storyline (which has nothing to do with the song), walks off the set and ends up singing the song to his girlfriend as she walks up. The video ends with everyone getting back into position to film the "real" video again, as Perry walks out.
    • Played straight with the long video version of "Any Way You Want It", which is bookended by shots of Steve Perry selecting the song from a jukebox.
  • Title Track: Look Into the Future, Departure, Escape, Frontiers, Raised On Radio, Trial By Fire.
  • Unreplaced Departed: Drummer Steve Smith and bassist Ross Valory were dismissed during Journey's original run in 1986. The remaining members toured with hired musicians (including Randy Jackson, later of American Idol, on bass) until they went on hiatus in 1995.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Homemade Love" from the Departure album. "Jellyroll sweetie" is (by Steve Perry's own admission in a 1980 interview) a euphemism for a "young girl". Yeah. That young.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Steve Perry & Gregg Rolie, on the Infinity, Evolution, Departure and Captured albums. Yes, Journey really did have more than one singer.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: The 2011 and 2012 interviews from Steve Perry, former lead singer. Cruelty to the common ellipsis, lack of any punctuation, and the clashing text color make these almost un-readable.

"Let's go cut a track. Come on..."

Alternative Title(s): Journey


We Are The World

The Trope Codifier

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CharityMotivationSong

Media sources: