Target - Reissues album review

Early works of the late AOR hero Jimi Jamison

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One man’s misfortune is another man’s shot at the big time. So it was with Dave Bickler and Jimi Jamison. Bickler sang for Survivor on the Chicago band’s Rocky III theme song Eye Of The Tiger, a US and UK No.1 in 1982, but in the following year he lost his voice, and his job. For Jamison, joining Survivor was the chance of a lifetime. His first album with the band, 1984’s Vital Signs, was a major hit and an AOR masterpiece, followed in 1986 by the Rocky IV smash Burning Heart. But if success with Survivor came easily, for Jamison it was payback for years of struggle, with Target his first failed attempt at making it.

Formed in Memphis, Tennessee in the early 70s, Target made two albums, but while Jamison was a great singer, the group always sounded a little too much like a bar band. Their debut Target (510) was released in 1976 and was influenced by two of the big bands of the era: Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd. This blend of blues-based hard rock and southern swing was potent on the heavy I Can’t Take It, and on Let Me Live, where Jamison sounded just like Paul Rodgers.

The second album, Captured (610), from 1977, was more of the same, only marginally better. Jamison was brilliant on the soulful ballad Make Our Dreams Come True and the epic Just For You, but he was wasted in this band. For Jamison, who died in 2014, it was Survivor that got the best out of him.