Trial by Fire (Journey album)

Trial by Fire is the tenth studio album by American rock band Journey. Released on October 22, 1996, the album marked the reunion of the classic 1981–1985 lineup, which had not recorded together since 1983's Frontiers. Trial by Fire was produced by Kevin Shirley, who continues to produce the band's albums. It is the first album to feature bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith since Frontiers and the last to feature Smith and vocalist Steve Perry.

Trial by Fire
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 22, 1996 (1996-10-22)
RecordedSummer 1996
ProducerKevin Shirley
Journey studio album chronology
Raised on Radio
Trial by Fire
Singles from Trial by Fire
  1. "When You Love a Woman"
    Released: July 10, 1996
  2. "Message of Love"
    Released: 1996
  3. "If He Should Break Your Heart"
    Released: 1996
  4. "Can't Tame the Lion"
    Released: 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores

Trial by Fire includes the Top 20 hit and Grammy nominated single "When You Love a Woman", which reached No. 12 and No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts respectively.[2] "Message of Love", "Can't Tame the Lion" and "If He Should Break Your Heart" were released as singles and received radio airplay.

The album reflected a growing maturity with the members of Journey and could be loosely termed a concept album with many tracks reflecting a more overt spirituality in lyrical content. The title track, for example, is taken directly from Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians.[3]

Trial by Fire is Journey's only album to not be accompanied by a supporting tour. That was due to internal disputes over a tour (originally scheduled for the summer and fall of 1997), as a result of Perry's hip injury as he was unsure about getting the necessary surgery. The band ultimately gave him the choice of either getting the surgery or being replaced with a new lead vocalist, resulting in his departure. Drummer Steve Smith also quit citing that the band without Perry did not interest him; he would subsequently return in 2015,[4] but was dismissed from the band again in 2020.[5]

On November 9, 1996, the album entered at No. 3 on the Billboard 200[6] and was eventually certified platinum in the United States by the RIAA.[7] The band did not receive another platinum award until Revelation in 2008.[7]

Background edit

Trial by Fire was Journey's first studio album in ten years, following Raised on Radio in 1986 and the band's subsequent split. Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain had formed supergroup Bad English and released albums in 1989 and 1991, while singer Steve Perry released his second solo album, For the Love of Strange Medicine (1994). While on a solo tour in 1994, it became apparent to Perry that "underneath it all, I was missing more and more being the singer in Journey than I ever thought I would."[8] When A&R executive John Kalodner of Columbia Records suggested the band reform, Cain, Perry, and Schon began writing together. According to Perry, they wanted to "see if we had the spark to write again" instead of simply reforming for a comeback tour.[8] "I was invited – and quickly uninvited," recalled Gregg Rolie, who had left in 1980.[9]

Perry said the band did not try to reinvent themselves on the album: "Nothing sounds more pretentious than someone being something they're not. One of the things we've always known is that there are certain musical directions that fit what [our] chemistry is about. We're going to sink or swim being what we are and not by trying to reinvent ourselves and not by trying to be the flavor of the month."[8]

Track listing edit

All tracks are written by Steve Perry, Neal Schon, and Jonathan Cain unless otherwise noted

1."Message of Love"
2."One More" 5:28
3."When You Love a Woman" 4:07
4."If He Should Break Your Heart" 4:23
5."Forever in Blue" 3:35
6."Castles Burning" 6:00
7."Don't Be Down on Me Baby" 4:01
8."Still She Cries" 5:04
9."Colors of the Spirit"
  • Perry
  • Cain
  • Schon
  • Bettis
10."When I Think of You"
  • Perry
  • Cain
11."Easy to Fall" 5:15
12."Can't Tame the Lion" 4:32
13."It's Just the Rain"
  • Perry
  • Cain
14."Trial by Fire" 4:41
15."Baby I'm a Leavin' You" (hidden track) 2:49
16."I Can See It in Your Eyes" (Japanese-only bonus track on the original CD release, later added to the 2006 CD reissue) 4:12

Personnel edit


Additional musicians


Charts edit

Certifications and sales edit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[20] Gold 50,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[21] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[22] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References edit

  1. ^ DeGagne, Mike. "Journey Trial by Fire review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Trial by Fire Billboard Singles". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  3. ^ 2 Cor 4:6,7
  4. ^ "Journey Welcome Back Drummer Steve Smith, Announce 2016 Tour with Doobie Brothers".
  5. ^ "Miller Barondess Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Key Members of Iconic Rock Band Journey—Neal Schon and Jon Cain—Against Dissident Band Members". 4 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Trial by Fire Billboard Albums". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  7. ^ a b RIAA Gold and Platinum Search for albums by Journey Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-06-30.
  8. ^ a b c Newman, Melinda (5 October 1996). "Columbia's Journey Gets Warm Welcome At Radio". Billboard. Vol. 108, no. 40. Nielsen Business Media. pp. 13, 113. ISSN 0006-2510.
  9. ^ Ling, Dave (August 2001). "A beginner's guide to Gregg Rolie". Classic Rock #30. p. 67.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 9863". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  11. ^ " – Journey – Trial by Fire" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  12. ^ " – Journey – Trial by Fire" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  13. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005 (in Japanese). Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  14. ^ " – Journey – Trial by Fire". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  15. ^ "Journey Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  16. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 64, No. 18, December 16, 1996". Library and Archives Canada. 16 December 1996. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  17. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 64, No. 18, December 16, 1996". Library and Archives Canada. 16 December 1996. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  18. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 65, No. 3, March 24, 1997". Library and Archives Canada. 24 March 1997. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  19. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 65, No. 10, May 12, 1997". Library and Archives Canada. 12 May 1997. Retrieved 2013-07-21.
  20. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Journey – Trial by Fire". Music Canada. Retrieved July 21, 2022.
  21. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Journey – Trial by Fire" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved July 21, 2022. Select 1996年11月 on the drop-down menu
  22. ^ "American album certifications – Journey – Trial by Fire". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved July 21, 2022.