Journey moved more than 6 million albums in America in the '70s, most of them after Steve Perry joined in time for 1978's Infinity. Not bad.

Then their second proper studio album of the following decade, 1983's Frontiers, sold more than that all but itself. By then, however, they'd amassed so much commercial momentum that this LP was actually considered something of a letdown.

Journey kicked off the '80s with a trio of very different farewell projects as co-founder Gregg Rolie left the band. The Top 10 hit Departure arrived first as a proper studio album, selling three million copies. Journey followed that with Dream, After Dream (a little-heard largely free-form import movie soundtrack) and Captured, a double-platinum Top 10 live sendoff with two new songs.

Then Jonathan Cain supercharged the band's more recent pop-leanings, bringing along a new sensibility (and a song idea for their highest-charting single). Perry was still their honeyed frontman and Neal Schon was still their soaring guitarist – but something fundamental had changed.

READ MORE: Top 10 Post-Steve Perry Journey Songs

The chart-topping Escape proceeded to reel off three Top 10 hits, while moving a career-best 10 million copies in the United States alone. Prior to that, they'd never had a song go higher than the No. 16 finish for 1979's "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin.'"

Journey couldn't quite reach those heights again, concluding the decade with 1986's double-platinum Raised on Radio. But they still spun off four more Top 20 hits.

Along the way, they issued a little more than 50 proper songs in the '80s, including B-sides, bonus tracks and stand-alone releases. Here's how they ranked, with comments and insight from my new Amazon best-selling rock and pop band bio, Journey: Worlds Apart:
No. 52. "Back Talk"
From: Frontiers (1983)

This song almost single-handedly kept Frontiers from becoming Journey's best '80s album. That's enough to earn this spot.
No. 51. "Departure"
From: Departure (1980)

Pretty but insubstantial, this brief instrumental was tucked into the middle of co-founding member Gregg Rolie's last proper studio effort with Journey.
No. 50. "I'm Cryin'"
From: Departure (1980)

Steve Perry usually had a canny ability to convey emotion. "I'm Cryin'," however, slipped off into abject mawkishness.
No. 49. "Positive Touch"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

The demos for this album were completed with a click track rather than in a room together as Journey had typically done in the past. That left drummer Steve Smith to either copy these metronomic sounds – heard to teeth-grating effect on "Positive Touch" – or to stay home. Partway through the sessions, it became the latter.
No. 48. "Liberty"
From: Time3 (1992)

A Frontiers-era leftover for those who wondering what Journey would sound like as a country band.
No. 47. "Troubled Child"
From: Frontiers (1983)

Another Side Two dud. Replace this with "Only the Young" or "Only Solutions," and all is forgiven.

No. 46. "Happy to Give"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

Perry had trouble nailing the vocal on this too-atmospheric ballad, which should have told them something. (In fact, it got to the point where Cain started calling "Happy to Give" Perry's "pet song.") It's understandable: "Happy to Give" grew out of a soundtrack idea Cain had, and it sounds like it. Journey never played the song live.
No. 45. "La Raza Del Sol"
From: B-side of "Still They Ride" (1981)

The song's heart is in the right place, as Cain finds inspiration in the plight of immigrant California farm workers. Unfortunately, that narrative is surrounded by a meandering music bed that sounds like a rightly discarded leftover from their pre-Perry days.
No. 44. "Mother, Father"
From: Escape (1981)

An overwrought, understandably disjointed song that was pieced together from two separate ideas by Perry and Schon, then completed with another interlude written by Schon's dad.
No. 43. "All That Really Matters"
From: Time3 (1992)

Jonathan Cain took over the mic for this Frontiers outtake, returning to a sound that's more in keeping with his earlier tenure in the Babys. That's fine, but it's not Journey.
No. 42. "Homemade Love"
From: Departure (1980)

Despite discovering a newfound chart prowess, Journey was still prone to longing looks back to their earliest musical excesses. In keeping, this sludgy, clumsily salacious song couldn't have sounded more out of place on Departure. Positioning "Homemade Love" as the album-closing song made even less sense.
No. 41. "Dixie Highway"
From: Captured (1981)

"Dixie Highway" sounds like what it was: a throwaway track written on Journey's tour bus while traveling the eponymous interstate into Detroit. It was perhaps interesting enough to be tried out live, but not interesting enough to make it onto a studio album.

No. 40. "Keep On Runnin'"
From: Escape (1981)

A pedestrian rocker, "Keep on Runnin'" is the only stumble on Side One of Journey's biggest-ever selling album.
No. 39. "Dead or Alive"
From: Escape (1981)

The second of two throwback-style songs on Escape that seek to approximate Journey's more rugged, fusion-leaning '70s-era, and the lesser of the pair. That "Dead or Alive" came directly after the too-similar "Lay It Down" didn't do the song any favors, either.
No. 38. "Escape"
From: Escape (1981)

Cain and Perry are credited as co-composers, but the title track from Escape still feels like the first of what became a series of not-always-successful attempts by Neal Schon to balance Journey's new knack for balladry with ballsier rock songs. That's certainly the role it played in contemporary setlists after he became the band's sole remaining original member.
No. 37. "Line of Fire"
From: Departure (1980)

A perfunctory rocker best remembered for a sound effect at roughly the 2:10 mark that Perry cribbed from Junior Walker's chart-topping 1965 R&B hit "Shotgun."
No. 36. "Precious Time"
From: Departure (1980)

Rolie adds a gurgling harp squall, but not much else stands out.

No. 35. "Lay It Down"
From: Escape (1981)

Steve Smith approximates early drummer Aynsley Dunbar's thudding, heavy-rock approach while Schon swirls into the stratosphere on one of two songs from Escape that could have seamlessly fit into a Rolie-era album.
No. 34. "Chain Reaction"
From: Frontiers (1983)

Schon finds a fusible groove, then joins Perry for a gutty vocal interplay. But "Chain Reaction" ends up getting lost somewhere along the way.
No. 33. "Once You Love Somebody"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

They tried for a bluesy feel on a song echoing the relationship troubles that both Perry and Cain were then experiencing, but there's simply not enough grit to this.
No. 32. "Natural Thing"
From: B-side of "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981)

Your average classic rock radio-loving fan might not peg Steve Perry as a died-in-the-wool R&B guy who can totally pull off this sometimes very un-Journey style. Tell them to start here.
No. 31. "Rubicon"
From: Frontiers (1983)

This song drove a seemingly permanent wedge in the band. Schon said he was playing "Rubicon" when Perry walked over and turned down his amp. He argued that fans wanted to hear his voice rather than all of those guitars. They put out only two more albums together, and it took them 13 years to do it.

No. 30. "Frontiers"
From: Frontiers (1983)

The second-best song on this album's deflating flip side. Singing in a clipped, coolly detached tone, Perry offers a great put-down for heartless generals and politicians: "War is for fools; crisis is cool."
No. 29. "It Could Have Been You"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

Schon's riffy contributions work in brilliant counterpoint to Perry's poignancy, underscoring why this partnership meshed so easily – and so well.
No. 28. "Where Were You"
From: Departure (1980)

There's a reason Journey opened their concerts with "Where Were You" for so long. It simply crackles with energy. They were just coming off an opening gig with AC/DC at this point, and the headliner's knack for outsized, riffy rockers obviously rubbed off.
No. 27. "Little Girl"
From: B-side of "Open Arms" (1981)

"Little Girl" was the the only proper song from 1980's Dream, After Dream, a soundtrack that's not part of the band's main catalog since it's otherwise filled with incidental music for a now-forgotten foreign film. Elsewhere, the instrumentals provide an untimely restatement of their old penchant for prog and fusion, considering Journey was already on a pop-chart roll. Dream After Dream disappeared without a trace once Journey issued Escape, and the too-often-overlooked "Little Girl" only saw U.S. release as the B-side to their "Open Arms" single.
No. 26. "Raised on Radio"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

Radio holds a talismanic place in Perry's imagination for two reasons. His absent father owned a station. At the same time, it's a constant presence in the youthful places where he returns, time and time again, for creative sustenance. If things had gone another way, Perry has said he could see himself as a DJ, rather than a huge pop star.
No. 25. "Ask the Lonely"
From: Two of a Kind (1983)

Jonathan Cain once said Perry could write love songs in his sleep, and this only-okay leftover is an example of that assembly line-type approach. Yet, he gives his whole heart to every line. "This is my big theory on Steve Perry: Beyond being a great vocalist, I think the secret and maybe why generations connect with him is he is an empath," former Rolling Stone editor David Wild told me. By the end, "Ask the Lonely" still proves to be a better choice that most of what appeared on the back end of Frontiers.

No. 24. "Why Can't This Night Go on Forever"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

Written in tribute to their fans, "Why Can't This Night Go on Forever" moved past its quite overt "Open Arms" / "Faithfully"-style ambitions on the strength of performances by Schon and Perry.

No. 23. "The Eyes of a Woman"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

Steve Smith only appeared on three Raised on Radio tracks, but that doesn't mean he didn't have an undeniable impact. His anticipatory rhythm builds this quiet tension on the underrated "The Eyes of a Woman," as Schon's echoing chords surround the vocal. Perry has called this one of his favorite Journey songs, and that might be because "The Eyes of a Woman" is one of the very few here that fully recalls their Escape / Frontiers-era midtempo sound.

No. 22. "Suzanne"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

If Steve Perry sounds a little overwhelmed on the second single from this album, there's a reason for that. This No. 17 hit was written in tribute to an actual crush – framed as a fantasy encounter with a film star who also had a singing career. He never revealed her name.

No. 21. "Edge of the Blade"
From: Frontiers (1983)

Side Two of Frontiers gets off to a roaring start. Buckle up, though. As things progress, you're in for a bumpy ride.

No. 20. "Be Good to Yourself"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

A throwback Top 10 rocker, "Be Good to Yourself" had little in common with the sleeker, more adult-contemporary feel found elsewhere on Raised on Radio. It didn't make for the most representative lead single, but manager Herbie Herbert insisted – because "Be Good to Yourself" sounded the most like Journey on their previous two albums.

No. 19. "I'll Be Alright Without You"
From: 'Raised on Radio' (1986)

Schon, who earned a co-writing credit with Cain and Perry, told me he tried out a then-new guitar in search of a distinct sound for this song. Best known for using a 1963 Fender Stratocaster, Schon experimented with a graphite Roland 707 to see if he could get a different, more even tone. It worked: "I'll Be Alright Without You" remains Journey's penultimate Top 20 hit, followed by 1996's "When You Love a Woman." Cain, like Perry, was going through a breakup and called this track the other half of the emotions expressed in "Once You Love Somebody."

No. 18. "Only Solutions"
From: Tron (1982)

Unjustly forgotten, and barely used in the film at all, the hooky "Only Solutions" would have greatly enlivened what turned out to be a letdown on Side Two of Frontiers.

No. 17. "People and Places"
From: Departure (1980)

A circular vocal effect makes the song's larger point, as Perry and Schon share a vocal that examines life's maddening duality.

No. 16. "Faithfully"
From: Frontiers (1983)

Journey was in the midst of a two-leg, 132-show tour in support of Escape and Jonathan Cain was feeling disconnected from his then-wife. Cain noticed the moon above their tour bus and, to him, "it looked like the midnight sun." He wrote that down then fell asleep. Upon awaking, Cain said the rest of "Faithfully" came to him in a rush. He wrote it in his own key, and that allowed Perry to explore a different vocal timbre. "'Faithfully' is to die for. I mean, Jonathan Cain's lyrics are amazing, and Steve Perry gave it everything he had," original MTV VJ Martha Quinn told me. "From the opening lines, he's just absolutely dripping with emotion. Every time you put the needle down, you can just feel it." Journey finished the song with a memorable back-and-forth between Perry and Schon, also completely unrehearsed.

No. 15. "Walks Like a Lady"
From: Departure (1980)

A great example of the way Journey songs evolved in the studio. Perry brought in a rough sketch, Schon added a blues-inspired riff, then Smith picked up his brushes. All that was left to complete things was Rolie's greasy Hammond B3 groove, and he said it's one of his favorites.

No. 14. "Girl Can't Help It"
From: Raised on Radio (1986)

Perry essentially took control of Journey in the run-up to this album, switching out band members for sidemen with whom he'd worked before then serving as the project's de facto producer. That led them to some song treatments that moved well away from anything Journey had done before, or since. "Girl Can't Help It," one of three Top 40 singles from Raised on Radio, was another exception. This was classic Journey, spit-shined up for a new era.

No. 13. "After the Fall"
From: Frontiers (1983)

Perry began this song on the bass, perhaps an early indication of the changes in store for Journey. By the time they released 1986's Raised on Radio, Ross Valory had been replaced by Randy Jackson, later of American Idol fame. Smith departed too, but not before proving himself utterly invaluable here.

No. 12. "Good Morning Girl" / "Stay Awhile"
From: Departure (1980)

Inextricably linked by their successive appearances on Departure, these two songs showcased Perry's dual gifts: "Good Morning Girl" was a fragile, impossibly beautiful ballad that emerged from a jam session with Schon, while "Stay Awhile" showed off his R&B chops.

No. 11. "Who's Crying Now"
From: Escape (1981)

The initial single from Escape, a No. 4 hit, perfectly illustrates how Cain's new presence impacted Perry's writing style, then forever changed Journey. The first inklings of the track came to Perry as he was driving up to San Francisco on Route 99. But "Who's Crying Now" was a song with no real direction until Cain suggested the title. They worked out a cool b-section featuring only voice and keyboard, and their very first co-written composition was completed. "He helped me go to another place as a writer," Perry later gushed in Joel Selvin's Time3 liner notes. Inspired, Perry also fought to keep Schon's extended guitar solo on the single.

No. 10. "Someday Soon"
From: Departure (1980)

The final major vocal collaboration featuring Perry and Rolie and, still, one of the more memorable for its thoughtful optimism. There were plenty of reasons for this upbeat outlook, even though "Someday Soon" appeared as Rolie exited. Departure reached the Billboard Top 10, then the band's highest-charting effort ever. Meanwhile, a subsequent, wildly successful tour was chronicled on 1981's Captured. But why weren't there more of these duets? "I didn't want to quit singing, but it got diminished, there's no doubt," Rolie told me. "I don't think Perry really liked me singing. 'I'm the singer.' Well, OK. But my answer to that is, you know, the Beatles did great with four singers. Four, right? Not one."

No. 9. "Open Arms"
From: Escape (1981)

Jonathan Cain brought this to Journey after John Waite, the frontman in Cain's former band the Babys, rejected an early version. Schon didn't really want "Open Arms" either, but Perry intervened. He knew just what to do with it. "He was fascinating to write with because he's such a technician. I'd never worked with a vocal perfectionist," Cain told me. "I mean, he would memorize every line as we wrote it, then his voice — he'd put it in the register we wanted and deliver it how we wanted it. Steve rehearsed everything as we wrote it, so then when we got into the studio or rehearsal, he knew where it lived in his range. He was very specific about what words he wanted to say. I was kind of taken with it." That helped turn "Open Arms" a soaring paean to renewal. Oh, and Journey's highest-charting single ever.

No. 8. "Still They Ride"
From: Escape (1981)

Cain and Schon earned co-songwriting credits on the lonesome "Still They Ride," and Steve Smith showed off an accomplished dexterity. But this song belonged in no small part to Perry. Its main character, Jesse, never left the town of his youth, and still drives through its darkening streets looking for some connection. Perry has admitted that this dreamer who refuses to give up on his youthful reverie works as a metaphor for himself. If you'd found yourself in mid-century Hanford, California, you might have seen Journey's future singer doing the same thing. Along the way, a touchingly emotional trip back to Perry's San Joaquin Valley youth showed that the seemingly ageless Escape could still produce a Top 20 single, more than a year after its release.

No. 7. "The Party's Over (Hopelessly in Love)"
From: Captured (1981)

"After I left," Gregg Rolie told me, "it became more pop rock. It was a little heavier when I was in it." That transformation started with "The Party's Over," a Top 40 studio song tacked onto a live project which marked Rolie's exit. Journey's original keyboardist doesn't even appear on the track. Instead, the session featured Stevie "Keys" Roseman, who was later part of VTR with Ross Valory and George Tickner. He'd been working on a later-shelved project with Tickner, Valory and Schon in the next studio. He still hopes to have the old masters "baked so they can be released in some format," Roseman told me. "Neal played a couple of unbelievable solos that still need to be heard."

No. 6. "Stone in Love"
From: Escape (1981)

Schon had a tape recorder going while he fooled around with the guitar during a party at his house in San Rafael. Perry and Cain did the rest. "Stone in Love" subsequently charted in the U.K., but never appeared on the main Cashbox or Billboard charts in America. After the release of "Open Arms" and "Still They Ride," however, it provided a welcome reminder that Journey had not given themselves completely over to balladry.

No. 5. "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)"
From: Frontiers (1983)

Cain and Perry looked on, feeling a little helpless, as Valory and Schon endured painful divorces. "There's got to be a more soulful way of looking at this," Perry countered in the Time3 liner notes. Just like that, the pair had the makings of the Top 10 opening single from Frontiers. "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" so energized Journey that they began performing it onstage before Perry had completely learned the words. Then they filmed a video that sharply divided some fans. "Rock aficionados may have said, 'Oh, that was cornball,'" Martha Quinn told me. "Well, ask people that are still doing send-ups today, down to every last camera angle. Those people love that video. That's something else you couldn't have predicted that would have stood the test of time — but it has. People love it."

No. 4. "Send Her My Love"
From: Frontiers (1983)

One of four Top 40 hits found on the album, the lonesome No. 23 anthem "Send Her My Love" is notable for an ambient turn by Schon (he used a high-end Lexicon 480L echo unit) and perhaps the most intriguing drumming contribution on Journey's string of familiar ballads from Steve Smith. A jazz lover who later founded his own combo, Smith added a slyly involving polyrhythm lifted from Miles Davis' "In a Silent Way." "The drummer on that was Tony Williams," Smith told me, "and he played quarter notes with a cross-stick on the snare drum — a very hypnotic groove." Same here.

No. 3. "Only the Young"
From: Vision Quest (1985)

Another song that, had it been included, might have pushed Frontiers past Escape as Journey's best Cain-era album. Instead, "Only the Young" appeared much later on this soundtrack, and by then Kenny Sykaluk – a 16-year-old fan suffering from cystic fibrosis – had already died after becoming the first person to hear it. The song is now credited with bringing Journey back together after a period of solo projects. "Only the Young" eventually opened every concert on Journey's subsequent tour, too. Still, it will be forever associated with Sykaluk's brave fight.

No. 2. "Any Way You Want It"
From: Departure (1980)

Perry said the vocal and guitar interplay on "Any Way You Want It" was inspired by the performances of Phil Lynott, after Thin Lizzy opened for Journey. So, Perry sang "she loves to laugh," and Schon responded with a riff. Perry sang "she loves to sing," and Schon responded again. Then "she does everything" led into another guitar riff — just like Thin Lizzy might have. Perry and Rolie then brought a tight focus to the bursts of shared vocals that close things out, fashioning Journey's second-ever Top 40 hit – but not before Rodney Dangerfield's character in Caddyshack broke out in a hilariously awkward dance as "Any Way You Want It" blared out of a golf bag radio.

No. 1. "Don't Stop Believin'"
From: Escape (1981)

It wasn't the biggest song of the year. In fact, "Don't Stop Believin'" finished at No. 72 on Billboard magazine’s year-ending Hot 100 singles of 1982. It wasn’t even the biggest song from Escape, which spun off not one but two songs that finished higher on the charts. It didn’t have a typical song structure, not referencing the title until 3:22 in, after three verses, two pre-choruses, and some abbreviated instrumental passages. It's set in a place — South Detroit — that doesn’t actually exist. So how did this become Journey's defining moment? "Who wants to keep believing? That would be everybody, you know?" Jonathan Cain told me. "And I think it's a certain song in uncertain times. You have this certainty about that song, and it has this rhythm to it that's just very assuring and very sure of itself. From the beginning piano line, it speaks — and it speaks to hope. I think people are looking for hope."

Nick DeRiso is author of the Amazon best-selling rock band bio 'Journey: Worlds Apart,' available now at all major booksellers' websites.

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