During a recent interview with New York City's Q104.3 radio station, former JOURNEY singer Steve Perry spoke about his decision to record a reimagined version of THE BEATLES' "I Need You", a George Harrison-penned highlight from 1965's "Help!", for his upcoming solo album, "Traces".
"When I first heard the song, I was very young, and they did sort of a bossa nova version," Perry said (see video below). "And I'm thinking, 'What? That's so cool, but that song is so much better than that,' my mind told me. I was very young, and I'm already criticizing music. I heard it in my head as an R&B song like I just recorded it — when I was a kid. [I was] 16, 18 — somewhere in there. [I was] a teenager. I just heard it as a bigger song, because it is a bigger song — George Harrison wrote an amazing song. I just thought they'd done a good job doing it, but I really thought it was a bigger sort of R&B pocket thing."
He continued: "A friend of mine, Steve Ferrone, is very close to [George Harrison's widow] Olivia Harrison, and I said, 'Someday, I'd love to play the song for her and get her blessing. You ask her.' So he comes back and he says, 'I spoke to her. Here's her e-mail. She said give her a call.' I said, 'What?' So, all of a sudden, I'm e-mailing Olivia Harrison and I'm trying to be very careful with every question. 'Can I please talk to you? I just wanna play you this song?' And she gets back to me immediately; it was so beautiful. So I went to her office and I played her the song, and I was so nervous. Because when you're in the George Harrison environment, you just feel him there. And it's Olivia. So she listen[ed] to it and then she quickly grabbed the remote and restarted [the song]. [And I thought,] 'I hope she loves it.' And she restarted it and got halfway through the second listen and said, 'George would have loved this version.' And I'm telling you, I got the blessing."
"Traces" will be released on October 5 via Fantasy Records (a division of Concord Records/UMG). The disc marks Perry's first solo album since 1994's "For The Love Of Strange Medicine".
Perry's final full concert with JOURNEY took place in early 1987. He later rejoined his bandmates for a brief performance in 1991 to honor late concert promoter Bill Graham. He also appeared with JOURNEY when they received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2005.
The singer was inducted, alongside his old band, at the 2017 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony in Brooklyn, New York.