25 years ago, on May 7, 1998, Journey lost Steve Perry for the second time. Perry had originally left the band in the ’80s, as his solo success grew and his interest in the band waned. This time around, his departure was not voluntary, but due to a hiking accident that left him unable to perform and unwilling to undergo the necessary hip surgery to get back on stage.
Journey had recently reunited and released the album “Trial by Fire,” which was well-received and earned a Grammy nomination. However, Perry’s injury derailed plans for a successful comeback tour. Instead of waiting for Perry’s recovery, the band recruited Steve Augeri, a Perry soundalike, to fill in and continue touring.
Perry, meanwhile, maintained a relatively low profile, occasionally showing up as a guest singer and putting out just one proper solo album since his departure, 2018’s “Traces.” He sang “Don’t Stop Believin'” from the bleachers at his hometown San Francisco Giants’ baseball stadium, but otherwise kept away from the music industry.
Journey continued to tour and record with Augeri and later, Arnel Pineda, and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Neal Schon expressed hope that Perry would perform with him again at the induction ceremony, but Perry only participated in the acceptance speeches, saying, “I am truly grateful that Journey is being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
Perry’s departure from Journey marked the end of an era, but the band has continued to thrive and build a devoted fanbase with their new singers. Meanwhile, Perry remains a beloved figure in the music world, his distinctive voice and stage presence forever etched in the memories of fans of classic rock.