Neal Schon

Incredible Melodic Journey

There are a lot of excellent electric guitar players out there. When you narrow the field to guitar players who play parts that you remember long after the song is over, it shrinks noticeably. But at the very pinnacle of that group is this category: players so melodic that every “riff” they play is a hook that sticks with you for a long time.

One of the members of that very small cadre is Neal Schon.

He must have displayed that talent early, because at 15, he had Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana vying to bring him on tour. After a couple of years under the radar in Santana‘s band, Neal broke out on his own to form Journey with Santana band mate Gregg Rolie. It was a momentous career choice.

Beginning with the first note of the first song on the first Journey album, Schon has steadily created a catalog of memorable songs, parts, and solos that is mind-boggling. His unique chordal phrases form the basis of most Journey songs; his lead riffs and solos challenge the vocal lines for sheer melodic power.

For more than 30 years, Schon has built a body of work that is staggering in its sheer volume, not to mention quality. He has contributed to many other projects, and even been in other bands (Bad EnglishHardlineAbraxas Pool, et al), but it is in Journey where his melodic gift is best exemplified.