Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pop Goes The Artist - Journey - Of A Lifetime

Many people seem to forget or never knew that Steve Perry was not a founding member of the band Journey. Not only wasn't he a founding member, but he wasn't even present on the band's first three albums. Journey formed as a spin off of Santana, when two of his backing musicians; keyboardist and vocalist Greg Rollie and guitarist Neal Schon wanted to branch out and do their own thing. They recruited some members of the psychedelic rock band, Frumious Bandersnatch and formed the group Journey in 1975.

Steve Perry's joining the group in 1978 marked a shift in direction towards a much more radio friendly "pop" sound, but before that, Journey was actually a progressive rock band, crafting instrumentals in addition to Rollie sung pieces. One of the Rollie sung tracks is, "Of A Lifetime," the opening number of their self-titled debut.

Schon opens the song with a quiet, snarling guitar riff that gradually grows louder and louder until it meets up with the rhythm section and becomes the main melody of the track. Rollie's vocals are rough and unpolished, but the real point of the song is the instrumentation. Schon leads the band through soft verses, escalating choruses, and instrumental sections that are rife with energetic performances from the entire band. 

"Of A Lifetime" isn't the same kind of sing-along Journey piece that you might expect from the band's later period; this is more similar to prog-rock music from Camel or some pre-Phil Collins led Genesis. It's interesting to hear how heavily the band's sound changed with the introduction of Perry, and if you like this style, well there's three albums of this material that have long gone forgotten by mainstream music fans.

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