Jim Peterik (guitar, vocals), of Ides of March fame, joined forces with Gary Smith (drums) and Dennis Keith Johnson (bass) and recorded the album Don’t Fight The Feeling as the Jim Peterik Band in 1977. The three of them met while working with the band Chase in the mid-1970’s. The album notes referred to Peterik as a “survivor.” They eventually picked up guitarist Frankie Sullivan and singer Dave Bickler, and started playing around Chicago as Survivor.
In 1982, Sylvester Stallone asked them to provide the theme song for Rocky III. The result, “Eye of the Tiger” (our first song today) was practically an instant hit, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and staying there for six weeks, and spent four weeks at #1 on the Australian charts. It won them a Grammy and was nominated for an Oscar. Eye of the Tiger, their first album, eventually rose to #2 on the album chart and produced a second single, “American Heartbeat,” which peaked at #17.
They recorded “The Moment of Truth” for the movie The Karate Kid in 1984 with new singer Jimi Jamison. 1984’s Vital Signs was a sort of comeback after their previous album, Caught in the Game, failed to generate much interest. Five singles came from that album, including our second song, “The Search Is Over.” It reached #4 on the Hot 100, #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #60 in Australia.
The band has gone through numerous changes since then, including a four-year hiatus from 1989 to 1993, the departure of Peterik, and numerous other personnel changes. Their web page announces a tour scheduled to open in Parker, CO in the middle of next month. Their current configuration includes both Jimi Jamison and original singer Dave Bickler on vocals, Frankie Sullivan on guitar, Walter Tolentino on keyboards and guitar, Billy Ozzello on bass, and Ryan Sullivan on drums.
Survivor, your Two for Tuesday, September 2, 2014.
UPDATE: DiscConnected, another participant in Battle of the Bands, commented to let me know that Jimi Jamison, lead singer for Survivor, died of a heart attack this past Sunday at his home in Raleigh, Tennessee. He turned 63 the week before. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and bandmates.