Sunday, June 9, 2013

Oh, Perry AKA Journey Schmourney

And then, Steve Perry went solo.

Until recently, I'd never even realized that Steve Perry had actually gone solo. A few years ago, I was hanging out with my roommate's German boyfriend, and we started talking about '80s music. He said, "You know Steve Perry, 'Oh Sherrie'?" I said I didn't. He pulled it up on YouTube. It suddenly hit me. "Ohhhh," I said. "'Oh Sherrie.' Pfft, yeah, I've heard this song. I heard it all the time. That was Steve Perry? The lyrics are 'Oh Sherrie'?" Epiphanies abounded.

What does it say about Journey that, as impressive as all those anthemic power ballads were, Steve Perry's best song might have actually been his big solo hit? I mean hell. The "S" and the "P" on the record sleeve even bleed into each other.

The delicate synthesizer intro is like the sound of an angel stroking himself. Then there is silence. Too much silence. Out of the silence, comes a voice.

"Shoulda been goh-honnn!"

Like Moses parting the Red Sea, the husky cry of Perry cuts through the emptiness and allows the Israelites to flee Egypt.

I do not think I can be blamed for not having recognized the song's title as "Oh Sherrie," given that the chorus line of "Oh Sherrie, our love/holds on, holds on" comes out of Perry's mouth sounding more like "Oh Shaellae, hauhh-hah-luh/huuhhl-zah, huuhhl-zah."

The video is complete with an awkward, presumably fictional framing device in which Perry is about to star in some sort of medieval-themed clip directed by an egotistical British fellow, which gives him ample room to show off his acting chops in front of his artistic muse and then real-life girlfriend, Sherrie Swafford. Damn it, Hollywood, all Steve Perry wants to do is rock!


Herr Zrbo said...

This came on the radio as I was driving home the other day, and considering it's been on my mind since your last Journey post I couldn't have been more delighted.

I actually think the framing device is pretty clever, in that music video/MTV had only been around for about three years at this point. They could have gone with a stock early 80s video with random billowy curtains, strange makeup, and other non-sequiturs, instead they decided to make a VIDEO WITHIN A VIDEO (videoception?) that actually has a (small) plot and makes sense. Steve Perry doesn't want all this FLUFF, he just wants to be GENUINE. It's brilliant, Steve Perry for life, woo! I'm gonna go get me a Steve Perry tattoo right now!

Little Earl said...

Uh ... you should probably think a little more carefully about that Steve Perry tattoo before you go get one.

Yeah, I suppose it's pretty clever, but if it's clever, it's clever in the same sense that Taco Bell's double-decker taco is clever. I mean, sure, it's a hard shell inside of a soft shell, with beans as the adhesive, but to what end, really?

That said, some favorite bits:

3:35 - The production assistant rips the script into pieces and tosses it disapprovingly into the air.

3:38 - Two of the actors dressed in medieval regalia "play" the guitar solo on the mandolin.

3:42 - Steve Perry does the same with a broom, as Sherrie laughs in the background. "Oh, that's my Steve!"