100 Greatest Singers
January 22nd, 1949
Key Tracks "Oh Sherrie," "Don't Stop Believin'," "Open Arms"
Influenced Chris Daughtry, Chad Kroeger, Rob Thomas
"Other than Robert Plant, there's no singer in rock that even came close to Steve Perry," says American Idol judge Randy Jackson, who played bass with Perry in Journey. "The power, the range, the tone — he created his own style. He mixed a little Motown, a little Everly Brothers, a little Zeppelin." When he was 10 years old, Perry heard Sam Cooke's "Cupid" on his mom's car radio, and decided he had to be a singer. After singing in a college choir, he joined Journey at the age of 28, quickly revealing a penchant for quavering, reverb-soaked melodrama that appealed to millions of fans — but few rock critics. Yet his technical skills (those high notes!), pure tone and passionate sincerity now seem undeniable. "He lives for it and loves it," says Jackson. "I just saw him not long ago, and he still has the golden voice."