Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Rock Music Menu: Whatever happened to ‘Survivor’?

Rock Music Menu: Whatever happened to ‘Survivor’?

The trailer for the film "Rocky Balboa" debuted this past week, and while the sixth installment of the South Philadelphia underdog who overcomes the odds doesn’t come out until December, the band most identified with the series is making news today.

Few bands benefit from a film the way Survivor did in 1982 with the song "Eye of the Tiger." That little slice of ‘80s cheese used as the backdrop when Apollo Creed helps Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) gets back the inner fire to take Mr. T and win back the title left an indelible mark on fist-pumping rockers everywhere.
The song won the band a Grammy Award for "Best Rock Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal" and was voted "Best New Song" by the People’s Choice Awards and even received an Academy Award nomination.Sports teams everywhere adopted "Eye of the Tiger" as their mantra and, more recently, Starbucks picked up the song for a tongue in cheek advertising campaign.The band was kind of a B-list rock band, so most people didn’t notice when, at the peak of its popularity, Survivor did the lead singer switcheroo, and came up with another top 10 hit; "Burning Heart" which appeared in, surprise, surprise, "Rocky IV." The change of frontmen from the vocal-problem-plagued Dave Bickler to Jimi Jamison was complete, and totally under the radar.The band’s first album with Jamison, "Vital Signs," was a success for the band, peaking at number 16 on charts, thanks to the hits "I Can’t Hold Back" and "High On You." The record made Jamison an instant fan favorite, and the writing team of guitarist/keyboardist Jim Peterik and guitarist Frankie Sullivan were solidly footed into the business of writing hits.~ In the early-90s, the band re-teamed with Bickler after Jamison left the band to pursue a solo career.~The interesting part of this turn of events is that at one point, there were two versions of Survivor touring; Jamison was doing shows under the moniker, as was the original line-up. Peterik was so dismayed at the soap opera he left the group permanently.Fast forward to 2000, when Bickler left the group again and ultimately resulted in Sullivan re-establishing a partnership with Jamison to head up Survivor once more (Is it just me, or at this point does Survivor begin to sound suspiciously like a less popular version of Van Halen with its revolving door of lead singers?)This April, the band released "Reach," which, believe it or not, could be its finest yet. No trendy turntables were brought in, or a hot young producer to update the sound. Spinning the disc will transport fans right back to 1982. Standard 4/4 rock songs and ballads are what built the foundation of Survivor’s success, so smartly, they decided to embrace it.Sounds like the perfect way to go, right?Unfortunately, it ends up just the case of another bunch of musicians who can’t get it right.Details are murky, but as announced this week, Jamison is out again, and Robin McAuley of McAuley Schenker Group, better known as ‘MSG,’ has taken his place. Sole original Survivor member Frankie Sullivan is adamant that there are no bad feelings with any of his former bandmates, and that things are looking good for the current incarnation of the group as they tour this summer and prepare to release another CD next year.I guess if you consider playing Cornfest in Dekalb, Ill., next month as "looking good," the fact that Stallone is looking to fill a soundtrack to the sixth Rocky movie has to be extremely encouraging.
©DelcoTimes 2006


At 9:48 AM, Blogger Mark said...

If it is true there are very few bands that have that luck, but "Eye of Tiger" was not a song either, it was something else. It was an epoch-making song and characterized a movie. Apart Survivor is the best groups in history. Also I wanna add just like and observation that viagra online is everywhere, it's amazing


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