Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger album review

The monster hit that put the ‘rock’ in Rocky III

Cover art for Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger album

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Every great band needs a little luck. And for Survivor it came in 1981 when Sylvester Stallone commissioned them to write the theme song for the third movie in his blockbuster Rocky franchise. Stallone loved the Chicago rockers’ minor hit Poor Man’s Son, and wanted an anthem in a similar vein. “Something with a pulse!” he said.

Jim Peterik, Survivor’s keyboard player and principal songwriter, knew instinctively what was needed. “I saw the punches in my mind,” he said. “Bam! Bam, bam, bam!” And from that thumping staccato riff, an all-American rock classic was born.

Eye Of The Tiger topped the US and UK singles charts in July 1982. The parent album, full of brilliant songs including American Heartbeat, another hit, and gritty power ballad Ever Since The World Began – would seal Survivor’s status as one of the great AOR bands of all time. And 35 years on, that bam, bam, bam! is still knocking ’em dead.

Paul Elliott

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2005, Paul Elliott has worked for leading music titles since 1985, including Sounds, Kerrang!, MOJO and Q. He is the author of several books including the first biography of Guns N’ Roses and the autobiography of bodyguard-to-the-stars Danny Francis. He has written liner notes for classic album reissues by artists such as Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Kiss, and currently works as content editor for Total Guitar. He lives in Bath - of which David Coverdale recently said: “How very Roman of you!”