‘It was pretty wild; he was a maniac’: Steve Perry wasn’t the only reason Journey took off with Infinity

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Steve Perry’s arrival with Journey in 1978 has long been credited with sending the group toward platinum-selling superstardom. Turns out Queen had something to do with it, as well. At least, indirectly.

Journey’s addition of Perry as a vocalist coincided with that of producer Roy Thomas Baker, who had already helmed five albums dating back to their 1973 eponymous debut for Queen. He brought a whole new technological savvy to what had been, to that point, a jam-happy rock outfit led by Gregg Rolie. Having never had an album get higher than No. 85 on the charts, Journey saw Infinity — on the strength of the hits “Lights” and “Wheel in the Sky” — shoot into the Top 20. The album would eventually go triple-platinum.

Listen closely, and you’ll hear many of the same studio tricks that Baker used with similar chart success Queen, from an armada of guitars to those familiar multi-layered vocals.

“On Infinity there are guitar parts that are quadrupled, then he’d put them way in the backround — and it sounds like an electric-guitar violin,” Schon tells Classic Rock Society. “It was pretty wild. He was a maniac.”

Infinity was followed by the Baker-produced three-times-platinum smash Evolution in 1979, which spawned Journey’s initial Top 20 hit in “Lovin,’ Touchin,’ Squeezin'” — and the band was on its way.

“He introduced all kinds of things to me that I never even thought about doing in the studio,” Schon says of Baker. “A lot of it was multi-tracking guitars, multi-tracking vocals — stuff he had done prior with Queen. I would have to say that Queen was a band where they come up with that whole concept. We didn’t quite take it that far, because we didn’t want to sound like Queen. Not that we didn’t like them; I love them. But we didn’t want to sound exactly like them.”

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