Why did Steve Perry leave Journey?

In addition to Steve Perry leaving Journey due to a crippling hip injury, he later revealed that burnout was also a factor in his decision to permanently leave.   

One of the popular rock bands of the 1980s was Journey. During this time, the band enjoyed a lot of success as they were either touring or working on new music, which would be followed by a new tour thereafter.

One of the most famous names to come from the band is Steve Perry. Through the years, Journey as a band experienced multiple changes with its band members.

Perry joined the group in 1977 and left the group for the first time in 1987. He would later return to the band before deciding to leave again indefinitely in 1998, primarily due to a crippling hip injury.

When did Steve Perry join Journey?

Throughout its establishment, Journey experienced multiple changes in the members of its band.

When Steve Perry initially joined the band in 1997, it consisted of other band members including Neal Schon, Ross Valory, George Tickner, Prairie Prince, and Gregg Rolie.

For the 10 years that he stayed with the band, other members would leave, and new members would be introduced.

However, Perry’s presence was considered as somewhat of an anchor for fans, in reference to rounding up the group’s vocals. After his first departure in 1987, he returned in the early 1990s, only to officially leave the band again in 1997.

Why did Steve Perry leave Journey?

Steve Perry’s second departure from Journey in 1998 would be the last time, as he would set out on a hiatus of more than two decades before returning to music.

When he initially left the band, a hip injury that he sustained during a hike was attributed as the reason for his departure.

Instead of getting an operation for the injury as the group was preparing for tour, Perry allegedly refused surgery. However, rumours surged that Perry had discussed leaving the group before he sustained the injury.

Following the formal announcement that Perry was never going to return to the band, fans of Journey suggested that he was using the hip injury as a ploy.

Moreover, fans and insiders alike that were offended and saddened by Perry’s exit suggested that he was leaving the band in an effort to have the same power play that his first departure from the band had.

Steve Perry explains the real reason behind his Journey departure

In 2018, after roughly 20 years away from the spotlight, Steve Perry was ready to release new music. As he was gearing up for his return, Perry shared the real reason he decided to leave Journey.

While he did affirm that the hip injury was part of the reason, he also attributed his decision to burnout. In a letter written for his website, Perry in part wrote:

“The truth is, that I thought music had run its course in my heart.” Adding, “I’d had an amazing time in an amazing band, and then the chance to express myself as a solo artist too. But I had to be honest with myself, and in my heart, I knew I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.”

Why did Steve Perry leave Journey the first time?

In the same open letter, Perry suggested that it was the burnout that contributed to his decision to leave Journey the first time around in 1987. “My last show with Journey was February of 1987.

Then one day, it hit me that I couldn’t do this anymore. I felt as if I had to jump off this merry-go-round — this big beautiful mothership that we had all worked so hard together to build”, Perry stated.

However, it was suggested that his animosity with fellow band member, Neal Schon, and his solo career were the real reasons he left the first time.

What is Steve Perry doing now?

Following his return in 2018 with his solo studio album, Traces, which is a 10-track studio album consisting of nine original songs and a remake of The Beatles’ I Need You, Perry has continued to release new music and perform as a solo artist.

His last release was the 2021 Christmas album, The Season, which is a six-track album of Perry’s rendition of some of the most popular Christmas carols, including Winter Wonderland and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.


Steve Perry is one of the most recognisable names to have come out of the popular 1980s rock band, Journey, and throughout the band’s history of changing band members, Perry was considered as the group’s anchor, blending everyone’s unique sound together.

The first time he left the band was in 1987, which was initially believed to be to solidify his solo career and a result of the alleged animosity between him and fellow bandmate, Neal Schon.

Perry would later return to the group, only to once again leave permanently in 1998 due to a hip injury. Though it was later revealed that burnout also played a part.