Rock Chain #18: Journey Man


This is something I used to do in a magazine I used to edit a couple of years ago. I took the idea from a column that used to appear on Scientific American magazine written by a British scientist called James Burke. His column was called “Connections” and consisted in relating history and science facts that were linked by a word until the cycle was finished. I just adapted it to Rock And Roll. Now, I’ll try to resurrect it every first Friday of the month here in the blog.

When Van Halen opened Journey concerts on the latter’s 1978 Infinity tour, Herbie Herbert, Journey’s manager was often suggesting for Journey’s guitarist to check out the opening band. The first time he did it, not only his mind was blown, as Eddie Van Halen and Neal Schon became good friends.

Before Journey, Neal Schon had already found fame and fortune as a prodigy guitar player with Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana. One of their most famous songs was a version of “Black Magic Woman”, originally by Fleetwood Mac.

Fleetwood Mac whose song “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown)” also gained more notoriety after performed by Judas Priest.

Judas Priest whose song “Eat Me Alive” was listed as one of the “filthy fifteen”, the PRMC list that chose songs that were “corrupting” American youth in the eighties. Alongside Judas Priest, there were among others, Twisted Sister and Frank Zappa.

Frank Zappa himself and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister were instrumental in winning the case for the bands and freedom speech, with their testimonies at the Supreme Court. It was they who saved the day, alongside folk singer John Denver.

John Denver is probably one of the three most famous musicians who were killed on airplane accidents, alongside Stevie Ray Vaughn and Randy Rhoads.

Randy Rhoads became famous with Ozzy Osbourne, but his former band would also become huge afterwards. Before Ozzy, he played with Quiet Riot.

Quiet Riot was part of the historical US Festival in 83 alongside Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions and Van Halen. There was also another band, who was the first one to explore commercially their participation in the festival releasing officially their CD and DVD Live at the US Festival 83 in 2003. This band was Canadian power trio Triumph.

Triumph toured the United States in 1986 with Swedish guitar-hero Yngwie Malmsteen.

Yngwie Malmsteen may have a lot of issues and you can say a lot of bad things about him, but he was responsible for giving an unknown talented 17 years old his first big break as a singer in his band: his name was Jeff Scott Soto.

Jeff Scott Soto sang for countless bands in his life, but his most famous project was probably Talisman.

Talisman once recorded a killer version of Pop single “Crazy”, originally by British singer Seal.

Seal sang “Who Wants to Live Forever” at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in 92. A lot of songs sounded weird on this tribute. According to one singer who participated, everybody had to sing in a lower key, because nobody could do it like Freddie. This singer was Robert Plant.

Robert Plant was already the singer when Led Zeppelin was still called The New Yardbirds.

The New Yardbirds had this name because the only member from the Yardbirds left was Jimmy Page. Before, the band had Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton on its ranks.

After the Yardbirds, Clapton joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, formed Cream, Blind Faith and then Derek and the Dominos.

Derek and the Dominos rhythm guitarist for live appearances was Dave Mason, but do you know who Eric invited before him? Future Journey guitarist Neal Schon.

Be sure to check out my book “Straight And Lethal” winner of the NABE Pinnacle Awards 2014 Fall edition.

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