10 Classic Rock Hits – Billboard

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Though it arrives amidst lawsuits, social media sniping and infighting, Journey is turning 50 this year.

During that half century, the group has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, logging 11 platinum-or-better albums (including Diamond certifications for 1981’s Escape and 1988’s Greatest Hits), earning eight top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 and 25 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s also been a reliable ticket-selling act for most of its career, and in 2017, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Journey’s is the story of eras. When the group originally formed in San Francisco in 1973, original manager Herbie Herbert helped bring together guitarist Neal Schon and keyboard player/vocalist Gregg Rolie from Santana, bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner from Frumious Bandersnatch and drummer Prairie Prince from The Tubes. Prince would be replaced by David Bowie/Frank Zappa skins man Aynsley Dunbar, while Tickner would leave after Journey’s self-titled first album in 1975. The remaining quartet recorded two more albums before Steve Perry came on board for 1978’s Infinity, which began the band’s run of multi-platinum smashes — also marking the first appearance of Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse’s iconic scarab logo for the band. Dunbar was replaced by Steve Smith for 1979’s Evolution, and Rolie would leave in 1980 with Jonathan Cain of The Babys joining to help elevate the band to even greater fortunes on Escape and Frontiers.

The palette has been diverse, but there are common elements among Journey’s best songs — sturdy melodies and sing-along choruses, usually leading into one of Schon’s majestic guitar solos. But within that mold there’s also been plenty of invention and clever arrangements that have never been as formulaic as some of the band’s detractors (particularly during their early ‘80s heyday) would have you believe.

Journey has gone through its fair share of lineups, with singer Arnel Pineda on board since 2007 — the longest continuous tenure of any Journey frontman. The group released Freedom, it’s first new studio album in 11 years, in 2022, and despite the current legal fractures (which you can read about in detail here), still they ride, as the Escape track says — and may they keep on runnin’ for a long time.

With all that in mind, here are our picks for Journey’s 10 best songs — not all of which come from the biggest hits.



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