Is Steve Perry's Sherrie the Real Yoko Ono?!

For the longest time people traditionally attributed many things as to the cause of the breaup of The Beatles, but the main go to for most haters has always been Yoko Ono. The legend of Yoko breaking up the band has been so overblown it even turned up in a de-facto theory on Buffy The Vampire Slayer as a faux reason to why a group breaks up. The reality is Yoko had little to nothing to do with why the Beatles broke up, as it had all the more to do with their new manager at the time and the four men outgrowing each other and the premise of the group in the first place.

So what does that have to do with the band Journey? Well, if Yoko Ono breaking up The Beatles is a misconception, then Sherrie Swafford being the thorn that tore Steve Perry away from Journey is the far better example. Sherrie Swafford is best known as being Steve Perry's girlfriend in the iconic "Oh Sherrie" video that ruled the radio for Steve in the mid 80's. Little was known publicly at the time about the lady and their relationship, but today far more is out in the world. Sherrie Swafford may seem to be like the quiet Ms. Elizabeth type in the video, but the reality was the polar opposite. Sherrie and Steve were together at the massive height of Journey's success, and was a constant at Steve's side for not only the tour, but much of the production of both the album and videos frontiers. During the shoot for the "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" video, a model was used as a character in the video's story, which Sherrie immediately objected to.

The band recalls Swafford asking "You're going to have a slut in your video?" and when Perry said there had to be a girl in the video Swafford would demand that the model not be a good looking one. The band would settle on a student from a university close to the set of the shoot. Perry got in to so much hot water with Swafford that he ultimately had to write a song to appease her. That song would be "Oh Sherrie," which lead to Perry making a solo album that featured members of his old band Alien Project, which didn't sit well with the other members of Journey. The song and the album was a huge hit for Perry, which angered Journey more since the whole thing sounded like a Journey album. When Perry came back to the fold to for "Raised On Radio" it would be his last with the band. Both Ross Valory & Steve Smith would be fired from Journey during the making of the record which lead to Perry looking to move away from the band. The tour, however saw a much happier Perry as Swafford was not with him on it. "He had the most fun I think he's ever had on the Raised on Radio tour in '87," Jonathan Cain argued. "That was the last tour. He really had fun. I mean, it's the first time he didn't have Sherrie telling him he was lousy and all the stuff she did. She was a piece of work, but he was free."

Perry would leave the band at the end of the tour, saying that he was tired of touring, as it was affecting his health and voice,

"I called Jon and Neal together. We met in San Rafael, we sat on the edge of the marina, and I just told them, 'I can't do this anymore. I've got to get out for a while.' And they said: 'Well, what do you mean?' And I said: 'That's exactly what I mean, is what I'm saying. I just don't want to be in the band any more. I want to get out, I want to stop.' And I think Jon said: 'Well, just take some time off, and we'll think,' and I said: 'OK, fine.' And I just sort of fell back into my life. I looked around and realized that my whole life had become everything I'd worked so hard to be, and when I came back to have a regular life, I had to go find one. Steve Perry said.

Cain & Schon would go on to form Bad English and Perry & Swafford would eventually go their separate ways, and although Journey would re-unite with Perry later, it would be a brief reunion and the two sides wouldn't share a stage until their Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction.

Yoko Ono gained rock immortality for breaking up a band that she never broke up, meanwhile Sherri Swafford has a hit single to her name, but has lived in fairly obscure notoriety for her part in tearing a huge rock band apart.

Funny how history works.

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