The Real Reason Steve Perry Is Getting Paid Not To Sing For Journey

Life is a journey, not a destination. But the band Journey always seemed destined to succeed with Steve Perry at the helm. As Rolling Stone recounts, prior to his joining the group, Journey released three albums that didn't get very far commercially in the 1970s. But Perry had an otherworldly set of pipes that could make listeners turn on the waterworks. His first album with the band, 1978's Infinity, resulted in their first hit, "Wheel in the Sky." From there, the sky seemed like the limit.

Throughout much of the 1980s, life became a highway run into the midnight sun, thanks to schmoopy classics like "Faithfully" and "Open Arms." Rolling Stone writes that that band "basically invented the power ballad." Naturally, Perry's voice supplied much of the power. Journey sailed on together but drifted apart, and Perry left the group in 1987. His solo career seemed destined for disappointment, and in 1996, he returned to Journey. With the magic rekindled, the group got nominated for a Grammy. Then life took an awful turn.

Journey stopped believin' in Steve Perry

Not long after Steve Perry came back to Journey with open arms, another body part got in the way. While hiking in Hawaii he experienced horrendous pain in his hip. He soon discovered he had a degenerative bone disorder and needed hip replacement surgery. Afraid to have an operation, Perry put it off in favor of ineffective alternative treatments. The band began to get impatient. Speaking with Rolling Stone, Perry recalled, "They wanted me to make a decision on the surgery. But I didn't feel it was a group decision. Then I was told on the phone that they needed to know when I was gonna do it 'cause they had checked out some new singers."

As another goodbye loomed, Perry asked the band not to call itself Journey when they replaced him. But the group kept its name and moved on with "Perry soundalike" Steve Augeri. That marked the end of Steve Perry's journey with Journey but not the end of his profits. Ultimate Classic Rock explains that when Perry parted ways with the band in 1997, certain stipulations were added to their contract.

Guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain took over the rights to Journey's name, but Perry would receive "50 percent of the net income due Schon or Cain, whichever is higher, from the first two post-Perry Journey albums." For the third album, Perry would receive 25 percent, and for every album after he would get 12.5 percent. Moreover, Journey couldn't claim "less than 20 percent of the total amount earned" as net income. And just to be sure fans knew what they were missing, album labels had to indicate that the band had a new lead singer.