When it comes to the music business, selling out seems to be one of the worst crimes an artist can commit. While most fans will stand by their favorite acts, many listeners are left feeling burned after a band changes their sound to reach a broader audience. This often lead to fans either writing off their favorite acts or complaining to their friends that "they used to better back in the day."
At the same time, no one said that selling out had to always be a drawback. On the rare occasion, some bands are able to sell out and become even greater than they were in their early years. Sure, their previous material may have been great, but the possibilities for them to pull off other styles would lead to even greater musical feats down the road.
Though it's essential for a band to be true to themselves, sometimes hanging onto your old sound is what's holding you back from being something legendary. While playing rock is fun, there's a plethora of material waiting for you out in the wild. These acts may have gotten blowback for "selling out," but it's hard to deny how great they became after they hit it big.
Journey are easily one of the most successful bands to come out of the 80's. Regardless of what you think of their music, the impact of songs like "Don't Stop Believin" and "Faithfully" are so undeniable that they feel more or less a part of arena rock's DNA. When the group got the ball rolling though, their sound was far from the radio singles we know them for.
With the original lineup featuring vocalist Gregg Rolie of Santana, the band's first few releases saw them developing a sound that was more jazz fusion than pop. Songs would often have separate movements and contain multiple instrumentals, which while cool, never really found its footing on the charts. This period of the band's work certainly has its fans, but the group's big reach for the gold came when powerhouse Steve Perry joined their ranks.
Instead of having the more complex musical passages, the newer material had a certain sonic sheen to it that made it irresistible every time you listened to it. With ballads and poppy material becoming their new sound, even guitarist Neal Schon wasn't sure what to make of it at the time, but the results ended up becoming the soundtrack to a whole new generation of rock fans.