Carlos Santana saw something in the guitar playing of Neal Schon, and asked Neal to join him in Santana when he was just 17 years old. Fifty years later, Neal has continued both as a solo artist, a founding member of Journey, and sideman on many other projects. Let’s look at a sample of what he’s done.
- Santana, "No One To Depend On": Neal first started with Santana on that band’s 1971 album Santana III. "No One To Depend On" is an uncredited adaptation of Willie Bobo’s "Spanish Grease." It was released as a single in 1972, but didn’t make the Top 40.
- Journey, "Touchin’, Lovin’ Squeezin’": Keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Rolie and Neal formed Journey in 1973 with bassist Ross Valory of Frumious Bandersnatch and British drummer Aynsley Dunbar. Originally intended as a backup band for other Bay Area acts, that changed shortly after their first gig. Their first three albums were jazz and fusion oriented, and Columbia Records asked them to change their style to be more like that of Foreigner or Boston. They met Steve Perry in Chicago and he was soon recruited to front the band. "Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’" is from their 1979 album Evolution and was the band’s first Top 40 hit, peaking at #16 on the Hot 100.
- Schon & Hammer, "On The Beach": Neal joined with Jan Hammer, who played with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and is best known for writing the theme music for the TV show Miami Vice, releasing two albums, Untold Passion (1981) and Here To Stay (1982). "On The Beach" was from the former album.
- Bad English, "Straight To Your Heart": Bad English combined Jonathan Cain, Deen Castronovo, and Neal from Journey with singer John Waite and Ricky Phillips from The Babys. The released two album, their eponymous first (1989) and Backlash (1991). "Straight To Your Heart" is from the latter album; it peaked at #42 on the Hot 100 in 1991.
- Neal Schon, "Cool Breeze": Neal has released nine solo albums. This is from his second, 1995’s Beyond The Thunder. I have this album, and it’s very good.
Neal Schon, your Five For Friday, October 30, 2020.