Everybody knows his voice. It’s the one that comes belting out of the radio every time “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” plays (if you can hear it over the sound of your own voice singing along). The original Journey frontman, Steve Perry, has one of the most distinctive voices in rock and roll history.
Perry was the lead singer while the band exploded with success during the 1980s. After leaving Journey, the rocker had a solo career as well, highlighted with the 1984 #1 hit, “Oh Sherrie.” Perry hasn’t released any new music since his 1996 (during his ’90s reunion with Journey) and he hasn’t performed live in any capacity in 19 years, since his last solo tour wrapped in 1995.
But Perry is back on the scene! The singer, now 65, came out of retirement at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota on Sunday, May 25. Perry was a surprise guest performer with the indie-rock group, The Eels. The “Faithfully” singer shocked the 1,000 plus audience members when he performed the Eels tune “It’s a Motherf——r,” in which he utilized his iconic high-alto trill to the crowd’s delight.
“I love that song,” Perry told the crowd. “And tonight is the first time I’ve ever sang it.” Perry then overjoyed the crowd by singing lead on the Journey megabits “Open Arms” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.”
Perry had an almost twenty-year absence from both the stage and recording studios. This break can best be explained by the singer’s battle with health problems. He has suffered from arthritis and underwent hip replacement surgery in 1998. Perry also had two melanoma removal surgeries in 2013.
The singer’s list of personal struggles went beyond medical issues. He has been mourning the loss of his girlfriend Kelli Nash, who passed about from breast cancer in 2012.
But the legendary frontman’s iconic voice has lived on. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ “ is as big a hit as it ever was, thanks to becoming part of pop culture through its usage in popular television shows, including the huge hits The Sopranos and Glee. It is also sung nightly in the Broadway smash, Rock of Ages and can be heard in karaoke bars and talent shows around the world.
Welcome back, Mr. Perry! You were missed!
(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for City of Hope)