The Real Reason Gregg Rolie Left Journey

While Keyboardist Gregg Rolie gained fame the first time via Carlos Santana's titular musical group, the musician found even more recognition in the mid-1970s via Journey, a new hard rock group that paved the way to 19 Top 40 singles in the U.S. The keyboardist also took on lead vocalist duties, for the albums Journey and Look into the Future, as well as backing vocal duties on Infinity, Evolution, and Departure.

Besides keyboards, Rolie had been lead vocalist on iconic Santana hits like "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va," reports Rolling Stone. As Santana launched its Welcome album in 1973, Rolie and lead guitarist Neal Schon had already broken off to begin what is now known as Journey. But the band that Rolie first signed up for was far from the arena rock megastars that took the world by storm in the mid-1980s with hits such as "Don't Stop Believin": "It was a jam band, based on a lot of soloing and a different kind of music, progressive rock," Rolie later said, per Best Classic Bands. "If it were a new band today, we'd be playing with the Dave Matthews Band and Phish. Then after three albums we got hold of Steve Perry through our manager, and we started writing songs for singing, instead of songs where we're going to jam and take this as high as we can."

Family first

Per Neil Daniels' biography The Untold Story of Journey, Rolie left Journey following the 1980 Departure tour to start a family and undertake various solo projects. It was the second time in his career he had departed from a successful act — he'd also left Santana on a commercial and artistic high. Keyboardist Stevie "Keys" Roseman was brought in to record the single studio track "The Party's Over (Hopelessly in Love)" on the band's live album Captured, with Rolie suggesting that pianist Jonathan Cain of The Babys take over duties as his permanent replacement, according to We Are Classic Rockers.

"I left because I didn't like my life anymore. I've said this a million times and I know there's people that say, 'That's not the reason.' But I left because I was unhappy with what I was doing in my own life," Rolie told Rolling Stone. "I loved the management. I loved the music. I loved what we built. I just wasn't happy, so I had to blow the horn on it and just stop it ... everyone thinks it was because [Steve] Perry came in and started singing all the leads."