While Pearl Jam sailed through the notoriously tough Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voting committee, the hugely successful Journey–who enjoyed years of multi-platinum album sales, rock and pop airplay, and sold-out arena tours–had to wait years before getting in.
When their induction was announced in December 2016, they became one of the few of the so-called arena rock bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s to get the nod. The only way, currently, for many others of that era–REO Speedwagon, Boston and Foreigner, to name a few–to gain entry into the Rock Hall in Cleveland is with an admission ticket, just like their millions of fans.
The band was formally inducted into the Hall’s Class of 2017 on Friday night (April 7) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Since that December announcement, speculation began as to whether Steve Perry, Journey’s lead singer during their most successful years, would a) attend and b) perform. In the days–and even hours–before the event, rumors were flying.
After fellow Bay Area musician Pat Monaghan of Train made the induction speech. Fans in the arena were delighted to see Perry accompany the band on stage. Most of the members gave reasonably short speeches. Then it was Perry’s turn.
He warmly acknowledged his former bandmates and later singled out the band’s current singer. “I must give a complete shoutout to someone who sings his heart out every night, and it’s Arenel Pineda. Where are you, Arnel? Arnel, I love you. Thank you!”
And then, minus Steve Perry, Journey performed “Separate Ways (World’s Apart),” “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Later, original member Neal Schon perhaps spoke for them all when he said: “I had a really great speech written out but I got too choked up. It was very emotional seeing everybody. Steve, you know, I hadn’t seen him since Bill Graham’s memorial [ in 1991]. Walk of Fame [he refers to Perry’s attendance at the band’s Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2005] but last time he sang with us was Bill Graham’s memorial. He’s in a really great frame of mind. He’s a changed person and I liked who I saw and it just moved me. It was tremendous to stand on stage with Gregg, Ross, Aysnley, Steve and Jon and Arnel.”
Jonathan Cain talked afterwards what he cherished most about the band. “For me, it was the songwriting brotherhood that we shared. I had no idea when I came to San Francisco that Neal and the guys had me come up that we would write those incredible songs together. There was just something supernatural, divine intervention we call it, but it was God-given and I’ll never forget it. It was a good run. That’s what I’ll remember Steve for, being the amazing songwriting partner.”
— Jonathan Cain (@TheJonathanCain) April 8, 2017
Watch Journey (minus Steve Perry) speak after their induction…
Gregg Rolie was asked about becoming just the 22nd Hall member to be inducted twice: “Frankly, I’m stunned by it. With the company that I’m keeping… these are people that are my heroes and I learned music from them. And to be welcomed into that exclusive club is extraordinary. But I couldn’t do it without this [gestures to his bandmates] and I couldn’t do it without Santana. It’s a group effort.”
The event will broadcast on HBO on April 29 at 8 .p.m ET/PT.