Steve Perry is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer of the rock band Journey during their most commercially successful periods from 1977 to 1987, and again from 1995 to 1998. Perry also had a successful solo career between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, made sporadic appearances in the 2000s, and returned to music full-time in 2018.

In his early 20s, Perry moved to Sacramento to start a band with 16-year-old future music producer Scott Mathews, who co-wrote, played drums and guitar and sang. That band, Ice, wrote original material and were poised to “make it” in the music business.

During the day in 1972 they recorded at the Record Plant studios in Los Angeles while Stevie Wonder recorded his Talking Book album by night. Upon returning to Sacramento, Ice disbanded as the band had no management, Mathews was still in high school, and the recordings went virtually unheard. In 1975, Perry moved to Thousand Oaks, California, where he formed a progressive rock band called Pieces with Tim Bogert (who had previously worked with Jeff Beck), Denver Cross, and Eddie Tuduri.

After a year and a half, the group was unable to secure a record deal and disbanded. Perry also unsuccessfully auditioned to replace Rod Evans in Captain Beyond.

Perry then ended up in Banta, California, outside of Tracy, California, where he fronted the band Alien Project in his mid-20s. He nearly gave up music when the bassist of that band, Richard Michaels, was killed in an automobile accident. Perry returned to Lemoore and decided not to continue his singing career, but at the urging of his mother, he answered a call from Walter “Herbie” Herbert, manager of struggling San Francisco-based band Journey.

Original Journey organizer/manager Herbert had been given a demo of an Alien Project song, “If You Need Me, Call Me”, and was told by producer Scott Mathews that the young singer would be a great replacement for then-current frontman Robert Fleischman.

Fleischman had never signed with Herbert’s company (preferring his previous manager) and had not fully coalesced with the band’s then progressive rock style. Perry was brought on tour and to avoid alarming Fleischman was referred to as a roadie’s Portuguese cousin. During a sound check in Long Beach, Perry surreptitiously performed a song with Journey while Fleischman was away from the stage; soon thereafter, Herbert informed the band members that Perry was the new lead singer.

Perry brought a radically new, more pop-influenced style sense to the band’s music, despite some grumblings from the band’s existing members and fans of Journey’s progressive rock sound. He made his public debut on October 28, 1977, in San Francisco to a mixed reception. Perry eventually won over new fans on his first album with the group, Infinity, which included a song he wrote called “Lights.” The band’s style had changed dramatically, but as Journey began to garner radio airplay and media buzz over Infinity, Perry’s arrival was fully accepted.

Perry provided lead vocals on nine of Journey’s albums: Infinity (1978), Evolution (1979), Departure (1980), Dream, After Dream (1980, a Japanese movie soundtrack), Captured (1980, a live album), Escape (1981, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart), Frontiers (1983), Raised on Radio (1986), and Trial By Fire (1996). The single “Open Arms” from Escape was their biggest hit single, charting at No. 2 for six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

During his Journey tenure, Perry also sang backing vocals on several Sammy Hagar songs, including the 1980 tracks “The Iceman” (a nickname Hagar had for Scott Mathews) and “Run For Your Life”, and duetting with Kenny Loggins on the 1982 No. 17 hit single “Don’t Fight It”.

In 1984, following the release of Frontiers and the tour supporting this effort, Perry released his first solo album, Street Talk (the album’s title was derived from the original name of Perry’s earlier band Alien Project). The record sold more than 2 million units, scoring the hit singles No. 3 “Oh Sherrie”, written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, and No. 18 “Foolish Heart”.

The music video for “Oh Sherrie” saw heavy rotation on MTV. “She’s Mine” and “Strung Out” were also released as singles from this project, which featured former Alien Project drummer Craig Krampf on a few tracks, guitarist Michael Landau, and future American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass, among others.

In 1985, Perry was one of 21 singers on the USA for Africa all-star benefit song “We Are the World”. He also recorded a song, “If Only For the Moment, Girl” for the We Are the World album. This song was added to the reissue of his album Street Talk. Also during this period Perry worked with the Irish folk-rock group Clannad on their 1987 album Sirius.

While Perry was reuniting with Journey, his mother became ill. The recording of Raised on Radio, which Perry was producing, was stop-and-go as he frequently returned to the San Joaquin Valley to visit his mother, who died during the production of the album. It took a major toll on Journey to have intermittent recording sessions and a vocalist who was not with the band much of the time. Eventually, Perry became exhausted from the ordeal. Journey then disbanded in 1987 after the Raised on Radio tour.

In 1988, Perry began to work on another solo album, Against the Wall, which he ultimately left unfinished (though several of the songs that were recorded for Against the Wall would appear on Perry’s 1998 solo compilation, Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased).

A year later, on April 30, 1989, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, in Mountain View, California, Perry joined Bon Jovi to perform Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home to Me” and the Four Tops’ “Reach Out”. He would also reunite with Journey at the Bill Graham tribute concert, “Laughter, Love and Music” on November 3, 1991, at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, performing “Faithfully” and “Lights”. Other than those three events, however, Perry mostly disappeared from the public eye for seven years, taking a break from the music industry.

In 1994, Perry released For the Love of Strange Medicine, his second solo effort. The album was successful, partly due to the Strange Medicine world tour.

Journey’s classic 1981–85 lineup reunited in 1996 to record Trial by Fire. The album was a huge success, entering the Billboard charts at No. 3 and going platinum before year’s end, but its triumph was short-lived.

Perry released his Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased compilation album on December 15, 1998; the unreleased tracks included an original Alien Project demo as well as selections from the abandoned Against the Wall album. Also in 1998, Perry recorded two songs for the Warner Bros. film Quest for Camelot, which can be found on the motion picture’s soundtrack. During an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music in 2001, Perry stated that he “never really felt like [he] was part of the band”. Former manager Herbie Herbert reacted by saying “That’s like the Pope saying he never really felt Catholic.”

Perry appeared on two tracks by Kauai, Hawaii, artist Tommy Tokioka’s album Happy To Be Living, singing backup vocals on songs “I Wish You Were Mine” and “An Angel Above Me” in 2000. He collaborated with musician Jeff Golub on a song entitled “Can’t Let You Go” for Golub’s Soul Sessions album, which was released in 2003. Perry provided vocals on the mostly instrumental jazz track.

Perry appeared with other Journey members at a ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 21, 2005, after previously stating it was unlikely that he would ever stand with the band again. He indicated that, though it was a good experience, it was unlikely that he would rejoin the band. However, he has also said, “[n]ever say never, unless you mean never, nevertheless” when the issue of returning to Journey has been mentioned.

Perry co-produced “A Brand New Start”, a track on a solo album for former Ambrosia lead vocalist David Pack, in 2005. Perry also provided co-vocals and background vocals for the track, among the many songs he and Pack co-wrote shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. That album, The Secret of Moving On, released in September 2005, includes covers of two of Pack’s biggest hits with Ambrosia, “Biggest Part of Me” and “You’re the Only Woman.”

On October 3, 2006, Perry’s two solo projects, Street Talk and For the Love of Strange Medicine (both featuring previously unreleased material), and his Greatest Hits CD were remastered and re-released. Sony Legacy released Playlist: The Very Best of Steve Perry on January 13, 2009.

At three concerts in 2014, Perry joined the indie rock band Eels during the encore and sang several songs.

On April 7, 2017, Perry appeared alongside his Journey ex-bandmates for the first time since 2005 at the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Perry gave an acceptance speech, but chose not to perform with the band in deference to current Journey lead singer Arnel Pineda.

Perry released a 10-track studio album, Traces, on October 5, 2018. A US Deluxe Edition was released at Target and has five bonus tracks.

Perry has described the album as a “cathartic” and “emotional expression” about the loss of a loved one. The record is Perry’s third studio work and his first since For the Love of Strange Medicine.

On December 17, 2018, Perry released a cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

In March 2019, Perry released a deluxe version of the Traces album, featuring five bonus tracks along with his first official music video in 25 years for “We’re Still Here”.

Perry released a three-song holiday EP on November 1, 2019, Silver Bells. On November 5, 2021, Perry released his first-ever Christmas album, The Season, via Fantasy Records.


The Season

Fantasy Records 2021

Tracks: The Christmas Song, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Auld Lang Syne, Winter Wonderland, What Are You Doing New Year's Eve, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Silver Bells & Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Musicians to the Season album: Steve Perry, Dallas Kruse & Vinnie Colaiuta.

Traces Alternate Version & Sketches

Fantasy Records 2020

Tracks: Most Of All, No Erasin’, I Need You, No More Cryin’, Most Of All, We’re Still Here, You Belong To Me & Sun Shines Gray.

Musicians on the Traces Alternate Version & Sketches album: Steve Perry and others.


Fantasy Records 2018

Tracks: No Erasin', We're Still Here, Most Of All, No More Cryin', In The Rain, Sun Shines Gray, You Belong To Me, Easy To Love, I Need You & We Fly.

Musicians on the Traces album: Steve Perry and others.

For The Love Of Strange Medicine Reissue

Sony Records 2016

Tracks: You Better Wait, Young Hearts Forever, I Am, Stand Up (Before It's Too Late), For The Love Of Strange Medicine, Donna Please, Listen To Your Heart, Tuesday Heartache, Missing You, Somewhere There's Hope, Anyway, Bonus Tracks: If You Need Me Call Me, One More Time, Can't Stop, Friends Of Mine & Missing You (Live in San Francisco).

Musicians on the For The Love Of Strange Medicine Reissue album: Steve Perry and others.

Street Talk Reissue

Sony Music 2016

Tracks: Oh Sherrie, I Believe, Go Away, Foolish Hear, It’s Only Love, She’s Mine, You Should Be Happy, Running Alone, Captured By The Moment, Strung Out, Bonus Tracks: My My My, Harmony, Makes No Difference, Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving & If Only For The Moment Girl.

Musicians to the Street Talk Reissue album: Steve Perry and others.

The Best Of Steve Perry

Sony Music 2010

Tracks: Oh Sherrie, When Youre In Love (For The First Time), Somewhere Theres Hope, You Better Wait, What Was, Go Away, Against The Wall, Shes Mine, Melody, Foolish Heart, For The Love OF Strange Medicine, Summer Of Luv, Strung Out, Tuesday Heartache, Once In A Lifetime Girl & Friends Of Mine.

Musicians on the Best Of Steve Perry album: Steve Perry and others.

The Very Best Of Steve Perry

Columbia Records 2009

Tracks: Oh Sherrie, When Youre In Love (For The First Time), Somewhere Theres Hope, You Better Wait, What Was, Go Away, Against The Wall, Shes Mine, Melody, Foolish Heart, For The Love Of Strange Medicine, Summer Of Luv, Strung Out & Missing You.

Musicians on the Very Best Of Steve Perry album: Steve Perry and others.

Greatest Hits & Five Unreleased

Columbia Records 1998

Tracks: Oh Sherrie, Foolish Heart, She's Mine, Strung Out, Go Away, When You're in Love (For the First Time), Against the Wall, Forever Right or Wrong (Love's Like a River), Summer of Luv, Melody, Once in a Lifetime, Girl, What Was, You Better Wait, Missing You, I Stand Alone, It Won't Be You [Writing Demo] [Demo Version] & If You Need Me Call Me [Demo Version].

Musicians on the Greatest Hits & Five Unreleased album: Steve Perry, Adrian Gurvitz, Michael Landau, Michael Thompson, Stevey DeLacey, Lincoln Brewster, Waddy Wachtel, Billy Steele, Craig Hull, Steve Douglas, Randy Goodrum, David Foster, Tim Miner, Bill Cuomo, Paul Taylor, Steve Goldstein, Sterling Smith, Scott Thurston, Bob Glaub, Randy Jackson, Richard Michaels, Larry Kimpel, Chuck Domanico, Brian Garafalo, Larrie London, John Robinson, Moyes Lucas, Jr., Craig Krampf & Tony Brock.

For The Love Of Strange Medicine

Columbia Records 1994

Tracks: You Better Wait, Young Hearts Forever, I Am, Stand Up (Before It's Too Late), For The Love Of Strange Medicine, Donna Please, Listen To Your Heart, Tuesday Heartache, Missing You, Somewhere There's Hope & Anyway.

Musicians on the For The Love Of Strange Medicine album: Steve Perry and others.

Street Talk

Columbia Records 1984

Tracks: Oh Sherrie, I Believe, Go Away, Foolish Hear, It’s Only Love, She’s Mine, You Should Be Happy, Running Alone, Captured By The Moment & Strung Out.

Musicians to the Street Talk Reissue album: Steve Perry and others.