Don't Stop Believing in Journey
When America's quintessential rock band, Journey, released the single "Don't Stop Believin'" in the early '80s, they had no idea how many karaoke singers, partygoers and bad wedding dancers would also make this song their own.
In the '80s and '90s, Journey dominated the charts. They sold 80 million records, released multiplatinum albums and filled stadiums across the country. Then, in 1996, lead singer Steve Perry left the band.
For more than 10 years, the band struggled to find a singer who could recreate Steve's distinctive sound. "It's a tenor voice, with soul and emotion," guitarist Neal Schon says.
The members of Journey—Neal, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory and Deen Castronovo—had no idea how the lyrics of "Don't Stop Believin'" would continue to inspire them more than 20 years after its release.
Arnel Pineda says he began performing when he was a young boy in the Philippines. His mother and father, both tailors, recognized his talent early on and encouraged him to enter singing competitions.
Then, when Arnel was 13 years old, his mother died after a long illness. The family was left bankrupt, and Arnel was forced to fend for himself. "I would hang out with my friends, so they would make me sing in exchange for food," he says.
Eventually, Arnel became homeless. He slept on park benches in and around Manila and collected scrap metal to earn enough money for food.
After years of struggling, Arnel started singing to earn a living. He jumped from band to band and lived paycheck to paycheck. Then, one of his shows at Manila's Hard Rock Café was uploaded to YouTube. The rest, as they say, is rock 'n' roll history.
"I stumbled upon Arnel like in the eleventh hour when I was ready to give up," Neal says. "And I went, 'Wow.'"
The other members of the band agreed to fly Arnel to Los Angeles for an audition. "From the first point that I heard [him] until he came over not long afterward to audition with us, we've had what I call GBS—goose bump surplus," says Ross, the band's bass player.
After years of searching, Journey finally found its new lead singer. Not only has Arnel perfected that Steve Perry sound, he's also reignited the soul of a band whose journey had stalled.
Arnel gives all the credit to his mother, a woman who believed in him long before he believed in himself. "I think it's her voice that carried me all through this pain that I've gone through," he says. "She's always been my biggest influence."
A Message from Steve Perry:
In a statement sent to Oprah Show producers, Steve wishes the band well. "Though we've gone our separate ways, I will be forever grateful for our time together...the music we created...and our faithful fans," he writes. "Continued success to all of you."
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