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Steve Perry was the lead singer of pop rock band Journey from 1977 to 1986. He is known for having a wide vocal range, which can be heard on such popular hits as "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Oh Sherrie."
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However, Perry was ready to part ways with his band mates. Perry left the band, unofficially, around 1986, after pursuing solo projects for a short time. In a statement to People magazine, Perry explained: "I had a job burnout after 10 years in Journey. I had to let my feet hit the ground, and I had to find a passion for singing again." Perry was also struggling with some personal issues at the time; his mother had become very sick,
and he spent much of his time caring for her before her death.
Perry reunited with Journey in 1996, for the reunion album Trial By Fire, which reached as high as the No. 3 on the album charts. But health problems soon sidelined the famous singer—a hip condition, which led to hip replacement surgery—and his bandmates decided to continue on without him.
While still with Journey, Perry released his first solo album Street Talk (1984). The recording sold more than 2 million copies, helped along by the hit single, "Oh Sherrie." Burnt out after splitting with Journey, Perry took some time out before working on his next project.
Nearly a decade later, Perry re-emerged on the pop-rock scene with 1994's For the Love of Strange Medicine. While the album was well-received—one ballad, "You Better Wait," was a Top 10 hit—Perry failed to reach the same level of success that he had previously enjoyed. In 1998, he provided several songs for the soundtrack of Quest for Camelot, an animated film. Perry also released Greatest Hits + Five Unreleased that same year.
While he has largely stayed out of the spotlight, Perry continues to be heard in movies and on television. His songs are often chosen for soundtracks, and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" even played during the closing moments of the hit crime-drama series The Sopranos in 2007. In 2009, a cover version of the song was done for the hit high school musical show Glee, which introduced a new generation to Perry's work.
According to several reports, Perry began working on new material around 2010. He even built a studio in his home, which is located north of San Diego, California. "I'm finishing that room up and I've written a whole bunch of ideas and directions, all over the map, in the last two, three years," Perry told Billboard in 2012. But fans should not expect a tour when Perry finally does release some new songs—nor should anyone expect him to reunite with Journey any time soon. Perry has struggled with arthritis for years. While he has said that he is civil with his former bandmates, they have all moved on. "We really don't have a lot to say to each other, at this point," Perry has said. "We have certainly, for years now, gone our separate ways, and we're all living different lives."
Regardless of what the future holds, Perry has already earned a place in rock history. Rolling Stone magazine named him one of music's top 100 singers. According to American Idol judge and former Journey bassist, Randy Jackson, Perry's voice is one of kind. "Other than Robert Plant, there's no singer in rock that even came close to Steve Perry," Jackson said. "The power, the range, the tone—he created his own style. He mixed a little Motown, a little Everly Brothers, a little Zeppelin."
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