Journey’s Ultimatum To Steve Perry

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Steve Perry made his debut with Journey in 1977 as the lead singer. When Perry joined Journey, his more pop-oriented sound was different from what the fans were used to, as Journey was known for their progressive rock and jazz-influenced style. The debut album initially received some negative comments from fans and the band’s existing members. Despite the initial adverse reaction, Perry’s new musical direction was soon accepted and well received by the fans. The band started gaining more recognition and a wide range of fans worldwide.

Their seventh studio album ‘Escape’ was released in 1981 and became the band’s most successful recording. It even reached the top of the US Billboard charts. Singles like ‘Don’t Stop Believin” and ‘Who’s Crying Now’ became worldwide hits, while songs like ‘Faithfully’ and ‘After the Fall’ were among the top 40 singles. Although, ultimately, Steve Perry’s run with Journey ended after an ultimatum, Journey’s most commercially successful years were when Perry was the lead singer between the late ’70s and the late ’80s.

Steve Perry Received An Ultimatum From Journey

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After a very successful run with Journey, there came the point where Perry had to stop and hit the solid ground before returning to the stage or even making new music. Although Journey took a hiatus earlier in 1987, Perry leaving Journey forever was not only a significant adjustment but a big life decision that would change his career trajectory.

After the significant hiatus in 1987, the lineup reunited in 1996 to record their next album ‘Trial by Fire.’ The album was a huge success among fans, and on charts, it even went platinum. The band was set to go on the ‘Trial By Fire Tour’ to support the album when Perry suffered a hip injury while hiking in Hawaii. He was not in good shape to the point where he could not perform, and the doctors diagnosed him with a degenerative bone condition. Perry also needed hip replacement surgery. All these conditions that came out of nowhere made Perry reluctant to rush into the surgery, so he wanted to postpone the tour.

The remaining members waited nearly 17 months after Perry was injured before presenting an ultimatum to him. They asked him to choose whether to have the surgery or they were to hire a new lead vocalist instead. This dilemma led to Perry choosing to leave Journey.

Steve Perry’s thoughts about leaving Journey:

The reason I left is that I was just indeed burned out. My love for music was getting really questionable within my heart, and I had to stop. There was no easy way to stop, leaving the mothership I loved and worked so hard with the guys to build. It was tough.

I didn’t tell anybody. I just kept working, and then suddenly, it hit the wall, and I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ The band looked at me like, ‘What?’ I’m sure there was no way to drop such a bomb on the fans quickly, but I just had to stop and get out for a while. So I did, and once I stopped, I realized I had to be okay on my own, on my own terms, without the love, adoration, and applause.”

Over the years, Steve Perry turned down opportunities to play with Journey again. But as Journey approaches its 50th anniversary in the music industry, it’s a matter of debate whether Steve Perry will be open to the idea of performing with Journey’s extensive stadium tour in 2023.