Eye Of The Tiger: Still Surviving After Thirty Years

I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was a hot summer night back in 1982 when my neighbors took my brother and me to the movies to see the third installment of the Rocky Balboa franchise. An experience I’ll never forget.

Rocky III may have introduced the world to the fool pitying Mr. T but for me, what was even cooler than seeing Rocky lose and then regain his boxing title to Clubber Lang was hearing that now infamous guitar riff for the first time: “Eye Of The Tiger” by Survivor.

Written by Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik the theme from Rocky III is still as popular as ever three decades later. Along with winning a Grammy the song was also nominated for an Academy Award, became the #1 song of 1982, has been used to promote everything from sporting events to coffee and ranks as the #3 best song to work out to according to Men’s Health magazine.

Survivor is currently in the midst of a new tour of the US with Jimi Jamison, the first with the “classic” voice of the band since 2006.

I sat down for a quick Q&A with guitarist Frankie Sullivan to get an update on the tour and his thoughts on the milestone anniversary of one of the biggest songs ever.

goJimmygo (gJg): What’s it like for Survivor being back on tour again with Jimi Jamison?

Frankie Sullivan (FS): This whole experience has been good for everyone. I’m really enjoying it.  It’s a cool thing and it’s good to have Jimi back.

gJg:  How do you guys determine which songs you’ll perform on this tour?

FS:  What we’ve done is prepared a bunch of songs from our entire catalog. That way we’re able to change-up the set list every night on the fly. It’s also cool for the fans too. They’ll get to hear something different.

gJg: What’s your favorite song to play live?

FS: I don’t think I have a favorite one. Whatever makes the fans happy makes me happy. I have a lot of songs that I like but it changes. It depends on the gig. Why bother picking one? I enjoy them all!

gJg: What are your thoughts on this being the 30th anniversary of “Eye of The Tiger”?

FS: You know, I can’t believe it’s been that long. Even today, there are still a lot of cool things going on with it. I’m hearing that Sylvester Stallone wants to go LIVE and take it to Broadway among other things.

We’ve recently received a plaque from Sony in recognition of 2.8 million downloads. I don’t have the updated official number but I know it’s the 8th most downloaded song on the Internet right now.

gJg: What’s the story behind how it was written?

FS: Stallone was looking for songs for his new movie and the president of our record company at the time just happened to be friends with him. He had the Queen song “Another One Bites The Dust” but Stallone wasn’t really happy with it. So he said “Well you know, I have this band.. “

I think Jim and I wrote the music for it in about a half an hour and it took us three days to write the lyrics only because we couldn’t come up with the punch line at first. But we kind of had it down in half an hour. That’s what started it all.

People love the song. They can really identify with it.

gJg: What are your plans after the tour is over?

FS: Ideally, I’d love to stay on and off the road for the next few years. Maybe taking enough of a break in between to record and then go right back at it. We’ve got a lot of new material we’re working on.

We’re just taking it a day at a time.

Article first published as Eye Of The Tiger: Still Surviving After Thirty Years on Technorati.

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