Saturday, July 24, 1982

Survivor hit #1 with “Eye of the Tiger”

First posted 4/17/2019.

Eye of the Tiger

Survivor

Writer(s): Frankie Sullivan, Jim Peterik (see lyrics here)


First Charted: 6/5/1982


Peak: 16 US, 14 CB, 27 AC, 15 AR, 146 CN, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 6.6 US, 1.87 UK, 9.4 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: 1.0


Video Airplay *: 483.3


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

In 1982, Sylvester Stallone was looking for a song to use in his upcoming Rocky III movie. The first two movies used “Gonna Fly Now,” an orchestral #1 from Bill Conti. SF Stallone wanted something more cutting edge for the third movie. He initially approached Queen about using their #1 hit “Another One Bites the Dust.” After they turned him down, WK Tony Scotti, the president of Survivor’s record label played Stallone some cuts from Survivor’s 1981 Premonition album. SF Stallone thought the band’s “sound, writing style and street appeal” fit wth what he wanted SF and he asked the band about using “Poor Man’s Son,” the group’s top 40 hit from Premonition. WK

Jim Peterik, the band’s keyboardist, watched a rough version of the movie with fight scenes still cut to “Another One Bites the Dust.” He and bandmate Frankie Sullivan thought that was going to be tough to beat, but, as Peterik said, they “started slashing those chords to the punches we saw on the screen, and the whole song took shape in the next three days.” SF

The song was built around the phrase “keep the eye of the tiger” which was referenced repeatedly in the film BB100 and crafted lyrics to fit with the events of the film. SF The band wondered if calling the song “Eye of the Tiger” was too on the nose and played around with calling it “Survival,” to play up a rhyme with the word rival. Eventually, Peterik decided “Are we nuts? That hook is so strong and ‘rival’ doesn’t have to be a perfect rhyme with the word ‘tiger.’ We made the right choice and went with ‘Eye of the Tiger.’” SF

Stallone loved the song after hearing a demo, but made some suggestions. Peterik said the band wouldn’t typically take suggestions from an actor, but that “Stallone had a good ear for a hook. Just listen to his dialogues – he wrote those scripts. He came up with…hook phrases like ‘I’m going to knock you into tomorrow.’” SF

The result was a #1 song and the band’s signature hit. It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill chart topper; the song was not only one of the biggest hits of that year, but one of the biggest hits of the ‘80s. At decade’s end, “Eye of the Tiger” was in a three-way tie for #1 song which spent the most weeks in the top ten (15 weeks) along with Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and – surprise surprise – Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” WK


Resources and Related Links:

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