I missed Journey's episode of "Behind the Music" so I don't know the exact story of why Steve Perry and Journey went their separate ways. What I could glean from a quick scan of this Wikipedia article is that the band has endured despite a revolving cast of characters, and Perry was ousted ten years ago when he refused to get some necessary hip surgery, which made him unable tour, or perhaps because he spent too much time with his ill mother? Wikipedia, you are not much help today.
Whatever caused his exit from the band, no one can deny the impact Steve Perry's voice has had on rock and pop music. His vocals are instantly recognizable, his range is remarkable, and most Americans probably know the words to at least one Journey song. Sure, Perry took some lessons from Sam Cooke, but he developed a style that was all his own. (Here's Sam Cooke singing "A Change Is Gonna Come", for sake of comparison.)
If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, Perry must have been really flattered when he heard about his replacement as the lead singer of Journey, Steve Augeri, who was reminiscent of Perry in name, stature and most of all, voice.
Augeri's turn lasted about eight years, but he was canned when he experienced some throat problems (these Journey guys are harsh, no?) Jeff Scott Soto was brought in, but failed to stick. So last year Journey found themselves once again in need of a lead singer.
So where did they look? YouTube!
In a modernday rock n' roll fairytale, singer and Journey fanatic Arnel Pineda was minding his own business, singing Journey covers with his band The Zoo in his hometown of Quezon City in the Philippines and uploading performance videos to YouTube. And then one day, his dreams came true when he was contacted by Neal Schon himself and asked to be the new lead singer of Journey.
Says Pineda about his new dream gig:
“It’s so exciting to sing with one of the best bands in the world. It’ll be a lot of hard work on my part and I’m actually looking forward to the scrutiny I’ll get from the hardcore JOURNEY fans. I know they’ll expect me to sound exactly like ‘the voice’ (Steve Perry), but that will never happen. I know there’s only one Steve Perry in this world.”
Congratulations, Arnel Pineda, and you're right -- there is only one Steve Perry in this world. And I salute him.