Steve Perry

What Happened to Perry's Sherri?

The love between Steve Perry and Sherri Swafford did not “hold on” as anticipated in his 1984 song “Oh, Sherri”. Former lead-singer Steve Perry made Journey, a rock n’ roll band consisting of five members, top the charts during the decade of 1977-1987, while at the same time, jump-starting his solo career in 1984. On September 3rd, 1983, Journey concluded their world-wide Frontiers tour in Honolulu, Hawaii. After five extensive years of touring and producing over six albums, the band decided to take a break, and go home for a while, lasting through 1984. Meanwhile, Steve Perry took the time to jump-start his solo career in 1984 with his first album Street Talk. Several big hits were released with that album, including “Oh, Sherri” – a song about his real-life girlfriend Sherri Swafford and the love they shared. Perry’s career was hot and running, but in 1984, his life became increasingly difficult. Perry’s mother, Mary Perry, was diagnosed that year with a terminal illness leaving her bed-stricken, and the relationship with Sherri Swafford wasn’t cozy. At the same time, as 1984 approached it’s end, Perry was working with Journey to create their new album Raised on Radio. The final end of the so-called “Perry-Sherri” relationship came in early 1985, leading him to write several related songs on Raised on Radio.


“…I never really and truly, from the bottom of my heart, fell in love with someone like I did with Sherri…”says Steve Perry in a 1986 interview with Force, the fan club of Perry’s music. It is quite apparent that Steve Perry and Sherri Swafford were very close, and that the break-up caused a lot of heartache and pain. This is shown in most of the songs on Raised on Radio, like "Happy to Give", "It Could have been You", "Once You Love Somebody", "Positive Touch" and "I'll Be Alright Without You". The song "Happy to Give" best explains the troubling emotions that he is feeling because of his loss. Personally, Steve thinks of himself as a believer as sung in the first verse in “Happy to Give”, the sixth track of Raised on Radio. “My songs have overtones of certain truths that have been existing through time,” explains Perry in a Faces Magazine interview, “I believe in certain truths.” Furthermore in his relationship with Sherri Swafford, he entrusted her with these truths, and opened up to her – but only to be the fool in the end. Steve Perry also likes to look at life as a story or book: "Life is like a story. Every chapter-every page, is something new..." as he said in a 1984 video interview. Perry pushes this more in "Happy to Give: when he sings about "a page in a story, romance untold". As a believer, he is also a dreamer, as also sung in the first verse of “Happy to Give”. The idea that everyone has their own dreams and that they individually choose which ones to follow, is expressed when it is sung “…lonely dreamer, left to choose,”. “In the band, each one of us – Neal, Jon, Smith, and Valory-we all had to make our own personal decisions and adjust our career around them,” says Perry to Faces Magazine. Steve Perry also sings about all the promises that go undone since the break-up in "Happy to Give". These promises were made to Sherri to stay with her and love her - they could easily have been promised to each other, possibly foreseeing a marriage along the way. Obviously, now that the relationship is over, those promises are broken. "Change has forsaken, our promises..." sings Perry in "It Could Have Been You", another track on the Raised on Radio album. Repetitiously, Perry sings how the pain of heartache is like. He explains that after a person has gone you see shadows of them everywhere. If they were such a big part of your life, then they influenced everything. As long as you are being reminded of that lose, you are in pain. "That's rough. It's just something that you have to face, and it's maybe just not the right time or maybe it's not right at all," explains Steve Perry to Force, "But the hardest part is that, once you do fall in love with someone, you're there...and if you pull out, then you never were really in love with them. It makes it difficult because I deal with it on a daily basis. Not one day goes by that I'm not thinking about her or wishing I could see her, but all the while knowing that seeing each other isn't the best thing for her or me because it just stirs up some complex emotions that I'm just not wanting to look at right now." At a certain point in "Happy to Give", Perry is actually singing to Sherri, the love he lost. He asks the question that if he isn't the one who had been "happy to give" her love, then who would be? Perry says that he is and always was willing to happily giver her love without condition or circumstance. Then, he boldly states that with him is where Sherri belongs, cause he is the one who will love her as such. Although Sherri Swafford's name isn't directly said in the lyrics of the song, it is very likely that the song is related to the breakup. As a matter of fact, most of the Raised on Radio album itself has songs on it that relate to broken hearts, heartache, and the recovery of such a tragedy.

Comments 18 comments

christine almaraz profile image

christine almaraz 7 years ago from colorado springs

Didn't know most of that info about Steve Perry. His heartache created one of the best soft rock bands of the 70's & 80's if I must say so. My fav song by Journey is "Lovin' Touchin'Squeezin". Great article.


Wanda 7 years ago

That is the reason his songs reaches to your very soul. He's been there - done that. I hate that he had to go through that with Sherry. What an unwise decision on her part, to cheat on him. There are some of us who would love to have taken her place in line. Story would have a happier ending though. That I am sure of.

Praying one day Steve will find that one true love again.

I love you Steve and you will forever be in my hearts....forever !


dwight 7 years ago

Sherri Just call him


mmmmm 6 years ago

oh sherrie is my fav song


PERRY'S FAN 5 years ago

I REALLY JUST HOPE STEVE PERRY KNOWS WHAT AN AWESOME SINGER HE IS AND OMG THE CHARISMA HE HAS I LOVE WATCHING HIS VIDEOS. IT'S HARD WHEN YOU'RE ONE AND ONLY LEAVES BUT SOME HOW IT'S USUALLY FOR THE BEST. ABSOLUTE FAN!!!!!


PERRY'S FAN 5 years ago

I REALLY JUST HOPE STEVE PERRY KNOWS WHAT AN AWESOME SINGER HE IS AND OMG THE CHARISMA HE HAS I LOVE WATCHING HIS VIDEOS. IT'S HARD WHEN YOU'RE ONE AND ONLY LEAVES BUT SOME HOW IT'S USUALLY FOR THE BEST. ABSOLUTE FAN!!!!!


Elpeda 5 years ago

Your voice is truly a gift! You are so talented as a singer/songwriter and performer/entertainer. I will wait for you to return one day on the stage and perform! I can't imagine your loyalty of fans out there, but I love you! Come back Steve Perry Radio calls for you


Lynn Belcher 5 years ago

Deavr Steve please don't give up love is out there for you and is coming sooner than you think but not in CA you need to check out East Texas. God with mother Mary sitting on his right side have blessed you with the gift of a voice that touchs everyone who hears it and we knvow you still have it. Please listen to God and your mother one more time and bring it back to the fans new and old. Your voice could bring peace to all all over the world if played live everywhere at one time. Peace love happness for all even you. Love is coming very soon to you don't give up you will have happness and a spark of love will come to you that you have never known before. Please beaware of longover large bodys of water or long boat trips. I love you so and these things only come to me about the people I love move more than anyone even more than I know sometimes. But you there has never been any dout.Please conctact me some way call send a letter come to see me I love you. Lynn Belcher 9038892757 or 9034040790 Henderson, TEXAS.


Tim mooer 5 years ago

My first son was born when rasied on radio came out im glad to say he gets the music some twentyfive years later just wish he could see it live in concert like I have many a time like the world series of rock in cleveland ohio 1978 when I became became a fan for life


Mark 5 years ago

Steve,

Sherry was all about the money and you know it. You should be more careful, and not be so "happy to give" to these whores.


dianepletcher 4 years ago

steve iknow youmust have loved sherri very much ,and what painitwas, steve ibelieve you stil have feelings for her deep down .ican just feel it, 5yrs along time to go with some 1you love. please callme steveonly you 574-3603583


elle73 4 years ago

Steve is someone I could never get tired of listening to.I listen whenever I'm feeling alone or just need Steve to sing me to sleep.I'm going through a really tough time in my life at this time and listening to Journey and Steve is brings me back to life.I'm so blessed to have him to fall on.I look toward to any project he does and support any decision he makes.Steve..just imagine how crazy,happy you would make this warm-blooded woman who gets so high on your voice.U can sing me to sleep any night.Love you always ....


elle73 4 years ago

Steve is someone I could never get tired of listening to.I listen whenever I'm feeling alone or just need Steve to sing me to sleep.I'm going through a really tough time in my life at this time and listening to Journey and Steve is brings me back to life.I'm so blessed to have him to fall on.I look toward to any project he does and support any decision he makes.Steve..just imagine how crazy,happy you would make this warm-blooded woman who gets so high on your voice.U can sing me to sleep any night.Love you always ....


melissa 3 years ago

Do some of you ever read what you write? some of you who leave your numbers and such probably sound a little crazy.

Imagine if MR.PERRY did read them ,he just might think the same thing...

Just sayin'....I do enjoy listening to his music...what a wonderful talent.


Natalie 3 years ago

You are so right Melissa...


CAROLINE EMERSON 2 years ago

I KNOW PEOPLE ALL THE WORLD,WOULDN'T BELIEVE THIS.BUT I MEET STEVE PERRY BEFOR HE MADE IT BIG.STEVE PERRY WAS ONLY 20,AND I WAS ONLY 16,AND STEVE PERRY WAS SING BACK THEN.STEVE PERRY HELP ME TO COME BACK HOME TO BE WITH MY MOTHER IN FISK.MO..? I LOST MY MOTHER 9-12-1989,AND I FEEL LOST WITH OUT MY MOTHER,BUT THANK TO STEVE PERRY,I UNDERSTAND NOW,THAT YOUR MOTHER INPORT THEN,BEENING AWAY FROM HOME....?STEVE PERRY GOT A BIRTHDAY COMEING UP THIS MONTH{1-22-2014}STEVE P[ERRY BE 70YEAR OLD,AND STEVE PERRY STILL LOOKING HANDSOME,SEXY,AND SWEET STILL.I LIKE TO MEET STEVE PERRY AGAIN TOO TELL HIM HOW PROUD IM AM OF HIM. I KNEW STEVE PERRY WOULD MAKE ITS BIG IN HIS SING.WRITEING SONG,GOD BLESS YOU STEVE PERRY,AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. FROM CAROLINE LINDSAY.5738405054.1005,PARK'AVE.63901....? STEVE PERRY YOU CAN FOUND ME,WHEN YOU NOT WORKING HARD,SING,SWEET I STILL LOVE YOU STEVE PERRY,HAPPY BIRTHDAY.


nelly 2 years ago

Awsome. Voice...hunk of a man...Sherry...was very wrong in. Leaving Steve...I bet. Am right..I bet she regrets it now...what a dummy...nelly


TORI 22 months ago

STEVE IS TALENTED BUT SHERRIE SWAFFORD LOOKED LIKE A WRINKLED UP PIECE OF BEEF JERKY BACK THEN I SAW HER WITH OUT HER MAKE UP NO TIT NO ASS STEVE HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A REAL WOMEN OR DO YOU LIKE BOYS OR BRILLO NOW

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