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Gregg Rolie

Background information
Birth name Gregg Alan Rolie
Born June 17, 1947 (1947-06-17) (age 62)
Seattle, Washington
Instruments Organ, harmonica, piano, keyboards, vocals
Years active 1965-present
Associated acts Santana, Journey, The Storm, Abraxas Pool, Gregg Rolie Band
Notable instruments
Hammond B3 organ

Gregg Alan Rolie (born June 17, 1947 in Seattle, Washington) is an American keyboardist, organist, and singer, who is one of the founding members of the bands Santana, Journey, The Storm, and Abraxas Pool, as well as his current Gregg Rolie Band. Rolie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Santana.


Prior to embarking on his successful career, Rolie played with a group called William Penn and his Pals, circa 1965, playing at least one high school dance at Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo, California. [1] A year later, Rolie joined with Carlos Santana and others to form the Santana Blues Band, which was later shortened to Santana. With Santana he was part of their first wave of success, including an appearance at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival and several hit albums. He is perhaps best known for being the lead vocalist on Santana's US #4 hit, Black Magic Woman. However persistent differences with Carlos Santana as to musical direction led Rolie to leave the band at the end of 1971. He went home to Seattle, opening a restaurant with his father, which was not very successful.

Rolie was then recruited in 1973 to join a new band with ex-Santana guitarist Neal Schon; this became Journey. Starring in a lineup that featured Schon, Aynsley Dunbar, George Tickner, and Ross Valory, he produced music for such albums as the self-titled Journey, Look into the Future, Infinity, and Departure. Towards the beginning of the band's history, he was the keyboardist and lead vocalist before frontman Robert Fleischman joined the band in 1977. But when Steve Perry came into the picture later that year, Rolie became largely a backup vocalist as well as keyboardist. Gregg Rolie and Steve Perry sang co-lead vocals on several Journey songs.

After leaving Journey in 1980, Gregg released several solo albums, including the eponymous Gregg Rolie in 1985. This album featured the song "I Wanna Go Back," which later became a hit for Eddie Money, and included contributions from Carlos Santana, Peter Wolf, Neal Schon, and Craig Chaquico. A second solo effort, Gringo, was released in 1987.

Rolie formed The Storm in 1991 with Steve Smith, Ross Valory, Josh Ramos and Kevin Chalfant, whose voice resembles that of Steve Perry. Their eponymous album hit #3 on the Billboard albums chart and spawned the Top Ten single "I've Got A Lot To Learn About Love." Despite this success, their second album, recorded in 1993, was shelved, due to the industry's shifting focus to favor rap and alternative music audiences. It finally saw limited release in 1996, and in the late 1990s, Rolie and Neal Schon formed Abraxas Pool. Rolie also released another solo album, Roots, in 2001.


Gregg Rolie is a proponent of music education for children. In 2005, he signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in underserved public schools throughout the U.S.A. He sits on the organization's Honorary Board of Directors.

External links

Preceded by
Journey keyboardist
1973 – 1980
Succeeded by
Stevie "Keys" Roseman
Preceded by
Journey lead vocalist
1973 – 1977
Succeeded by
Robert Fleischman


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