For Journey, now in its eighth year as a working band, each new year and new album has brought change and increasing success. With the San-Francisco-based group's latest Columbia album, "Escape," the evolution has continued and the success has reached a new peak "Escape" has ascended to the top position in this week's Record World Album Chart, the first number-one album in Journey's history.
The unprecedented success of "Escape" has been largely the result of the equally impressive success of the first single from the LP, "Who's Crying Now", which this week ascends to number nine with a bullet on the Record World Singles Chart. It has also been the result of Journey's high visibility - one of the hardest-working bands in rock today, Journey plans to play more than 90 dates in Japan and the U.S., including a few (in Philadelphia and Buffalo) as the opening act for the Rolling Stones, on its 1981 tour.
The most obvious sign of change on "Escape" is the presence of the newest member of Journey, keyboardist/guitarist/songwriter/vocalist Jonathan Cain, formerly of the Babys, Cain replaces charter member Gregg Rolie who has left to pursue a solo career.
"The band is high on Jon," says one Journey staffer, "and he's high on the band. It's a whole new feeling with him in the group. It's like a fresh start."
Cain joins a solid lineup of Steve Perry on lead vocals, Neal Schon on guitar, Ross Valory on bass and Steve Smith on drums. A prolific songwriter, he composed about a third of the songs on "Escape".
Production chores on "Escape" were handled by Kevin Elson, who also acts as sound engineer for the band's concerts. "There is a spark that we're trying to capture on vinyl that exists in the live show," Elson says.
In Neal Schon's estimation, "Escape" is "really different - I think this album will appeal to a wider spectrum of fans." Judging by the remarkable reception it's gotten at both the radio and retail levels, that sounds like an understatement.
© Record World, Record World Publishing Co. Inc., September 5, 1981