Survivor (band)

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Survivor
Survivor band 2013.jpg
Survivor at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2013
Background information
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Hard rock, AOR
Years active 1978–1989
1993–present
Labels Scotti Brothers, PolyGram, Frontiers
Associated acts The Ides of March
Cobra
Target
Pride of Lions
McAuley Schenker Group
Website survivormusic.com
Members Frankie Sullivan
Dave Bickler
Billy Ozzello
Walter Tolentino
Ryan Sullivan
Past members Jim Peterik
Dennis Keith Johnson
Gary Smith
Marc Droubay
Stephan Ellis
Jimi Jamison
Bill Syniar
Kyle Woodring
Klem Hayes
Randy Riley
Chris Grove
Gordon Patriarca
Barry Dunaway
Robin McAuley
Michael Young
Mitchell Sigman

Survivor is an American rock band formed in Chicago in 1978 by Jim Peterik. The band achieved its greatest success in the 1980s with its arena rock sound, which garnered many charting singles, especially in the United States. The band is best known for its double platinum-certified 1982 hit "Eye of the Tiger," the theme song for the motion picture Rocky III (US number 1 for 6 weeks). Singles like "Burning Heart" (US number 2), "The Search Is Over" (US number 4), "High on You" (US number 8), "Is This Love" (US number 9) and "I Can't Hold Back" (US number 13) continued to chart in the mid-1980s.

The band tweaked its musical direction in 1988 with the release of the slightly heavier Too Hot to Sleep, but due to lackluster promotion the album barely reached the Billboard 200 in the United States. Because of this and tension between founding members, the band split.

Singer Jimi Jamison later toured as "Survivor" in the mid-1990s without the permission of the rest of the band, but reunited with Sullivan in 2000. The band then released Reach in 2006, but Jamison left again after its release and was replaced by singer Robin McAuley. Survivor continued to tour with McAuley into 2011 until Jamison returned later that year.

An announcement on November 13, 2011 by McAuley on his Facebook page revealed that he had left Survivor. A subsequent announcement on November 18, 2011 confirmed that Jamison had rejoined the band and a tour was to take place in 2012.

In April 2013 it was announced by the band's official media sources that guitarist Frankie Sullivan had reunited the current Survivor line-up with original singer Dave Bickler, with the band now having their two vocalists together for the next tour, Bickler and Jamison.[1]


History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Jim Peterik was previously the lead vocalist–guitarist for the band The Ides of March.[2] Founding Survivor members Peterik, Gary Smith (drums) and Dennis Keith Johnson (bass) initially came together in 1976 as part of The Jim Peterik Band after Peterik had released an album, Don't Fight the Feeling, on Epic Records that same year. In the liner notes of the album, written by Jim Charney, Peterik is referred to as a "survivor." This note would be the inspiration for the name of Peterik's next grouping.

Smith and Johnson had both been members of Bill Chase's jazz-rock fusion band Chase and Peterik had worked with Chase in 1974. One of the other inspirations for Peterik's choice of the new band's name was his narrow escape from death when he was unable to make a guest appearance at a Chase concert scheduled for August 9, 1974. He ended up not being on the plane that crashed, killing Bill Chase and most of his band.

Then in 1978, while recuperating from pneumonia in the hospital, Peterik made plans to form the "ultimate band" upon his recovery. Johnson and Smith were retained and, at the urging of tour manager Rick Weigand, Peterik hooked up with guitarist Frankie Sullivan (from the band Mariah), brought in singer Dave Bickler (ex-Jamestown Massacre), who had worked with Peterik in Chicago on commercial jingles sessions, and Survivor was born.

After playing in small clubs for a year, one of them being the original "My Pi"[3] Pizza location on Sheridan Avenue near Loyola University in Chicago, where they headlined every Saturday night in the upstairs bar area, Survivor was signed by Atlantic Records A&R executive John Kalodner.[4] One of Survivor's earliest performances, from Haymakers Rock Club in Chicago on September 15, 1978, has appeared as a bootleg recording in trader's circles in recent years.

The group's first album, the self-titled Survivor, was recorded in 1979 and released on the Atlantic subsidiary Scotti Bros. in February 1980. The album produced no Top 40 singles ("Somewhere in America" only managed to make number 70) and did not achieve the level of success that the band had hoped for.

During Survivor's early years, Peterik was co-lead singer, keyboardist and second guitarist, but his role was mostly relegated to keyboards, writing and backup singing from the second album on.

In 1981 it was decided to let Johnson and Smith go as they had schedule conflicts with their other projects and were a bit "too jazzy" in their approach, according to Peterik. They were replaced by Stephan Ellis and Marc Droubay in time for the recording of the band's follow-up album, Premonition (August 1981). It charted higher, achieving popularity with American audiences and giving the band its first Top 40 single, "Poor Man's Son." The album also showed off Bickler's range as a vocalist with its second single, "Summer Nights."

Eye of the Tiger[edit]

In 1982 Survivor's breakthrough arrived when actor Sylvester Stallone asked them to provide the theme song for his movie Rocky III. Stallone had heard "Poor Man's Son" and wanted a song similar to it.[5] The band agreed to his request and soon came up with "Eye of the Tiger".

The new song featured a faster tempo while still incorporating the stylish, nearly identical power chords. It had an enormous impact on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 1, remaining there for six weeks and was in the Top 40 for a total of eighteen weeks. It also topped the British charts and was Australia's number 1 single for four weeks.[6]

"Eye" went on win the band the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, was voted Best New Song by the People's Choice Awards and received an Academy Award nomination.[6]

The album of the same title, Eye of the Tiger, was released by the band in June 1982 and contained another Top 40 hit in the United States, "American Heartbeat" (number 17 US). The album charted at number 2 in the States.

In 1983 Survivor tried to duplicate the success of Eye of the Tiger with their next release, Caught in the Game (September 1983). Unfortunately the album turned out to be a commercial disappointment, stalling at number 82 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., while the album's title track peaked at number 77.

The band suffered a further setback when lead singer Dave Bickler suffered vocal problems and was required to undergo an operation to remove vocal fold nodules, which kept the band off the road in 1983, unable to promote Caught in the Game, which contributed to its disappointing sales. Since Bickler's voice required further rest, he was forced to leave in late 1983. In early 1984, he was replaced by Jimi Jamison of the bands Target and Cobra.

1984–1989: The Jimi Jamison era[edit]

The band's first song to feature Jimi Jamison was "The Moment of Truth", the theme song of the box office smash hit The Karate Kid (1984), which peaked at number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1984. Next came Survivor's first album with Jamison, Vital Signs (August 1984), which provided the band with a massive comeback, peaking at number 16 on the Billboard Album Chart with the hits "I Can't Hold Back" (number 13 U.S.), "High on You" (number 8 U.S.), and "The Search Is Over" (number 4 U.S.).

In late 1985, the band had another hit with "Burning Heart", a song from the Rocky IV soundtrack, which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1986.

When Seconds Count was released in October 1986 and included the hit "Is This Love" (number 9 U.S.). On the Billboard Album Chart the album only reached number 49 but still managed to sell over 500,000 copies and reached certified gold status.

In 1987 bassist Ellis developed a stomach ulcer requiring the band's head roadie, Rocko Reedy, to fill in on bass for a few dates and these health problems ultimately forced him out of the group. Drummer Droubay, who was becoming increasingly unhappy with the group's shift to a more pop sound, was likewise let go at the end of Survivor's 1987 tour.

During pre-production of their seventh album, Too Hot to Sleep (October 1988), Ellis and Droubay were replaced by studio session veterans Mickey Curry (drums) and Bill Syniar (bass). Sullivan produced the effort with Frank Fillipetti. Though the album presented a harder-rocking Survivor, similar to the sound in the band's early days, Too Hot to Sleep failed to make a significant dent on the chart (only number 187 US). There were, reportedly, a few live dates done by the band during this period (including a stint as opening act for Cheap Trick on "The Flame" Tour of North America) that included Syniar on bass and Kyle Woodring on drums.

1989–2000: Hiatus, Bickler's return and legal issues[edit]

After the disappointing sales of Too Hot to Sleep, Peterik and Sullivan decided to put the band on indefinite hiatus. A Greatest Hits compilation was released in 1989.

Jamison decided to continue touring and playing Survivor songs with local musicians. He subsequently recorded a solo album in 1991. Meanwhile, the Survivor rhythm section of Ellis and Droubay decided to form the group Club M.E.D. with guitarist Rod McClure, releasing the album Sampler in 1990.[7] Peterik co-wrote "The Sound of Your Voice", "Rebel to Rebel" and "Treasure" for 38 Special's 1991 album Bone Against Steel.

Jamison continued to tour, now billing his band as "Survivor" or "Jimi Jamison's Survivor." After Jamison's success touring overseas in 1992, Sullivan contacted Jamison's management and asked to be included on the tour; he performed on eight to ten dates before leaving the group. Soon after, in late 1992–early 1993, Survivor was tapped to do a new and more extensive hits package with two new songs. For a short time, Peterik, Sullivan and Jamison were reunited in the studio to record new material for the new package and forthcoming world tour. After contract talks broke down, Jamison quit and went back on the road again as "Jimi Jamison's Survivor."

In early 1993, Peterik and Sullivan reunited with original lead singer Dave Bickler as Survivor and released a new Greatest Hits album with two new songs ("Hungry Years," co-written by Bickler, and "You Know Who You Are") and embarked on a world tour with Bill Syniar and Kyle Woodring returning on bass and drums, respectively. Klem Hayes, who had performed on the new tracks on the 1993 compilation, took over on bass later in 1993 after Syniar departed. As Jamison was also touring as Survivor, Peterik and Sullivan filed a lawsuit against their former colleague for using the name but ultimately failed (at the time) in their bid to stop Jamison from touring under the "Survivor" banner.

On November 27, 1993 guitarist Dave Carl filled in for Sullivan at a gig at Club Dimensions in Highland, Indiana after the latter injured his ribs from falling through a garage roof.

From 1993 to 1996, Peterik, Sullivan and Bickler recorded about 20 demos for a new album (which are available on the Fire Makes Steel bootleg) with session musicians. They failed to secure a record deal due to ongoing litigation and trademark issues with Jamison. In 1994 Hayes departed and the bass chair was filled, first by Randy Riley (1994–1995), then by Billy Ozzello (1995–1996).

With Peterik and Sullivan increasingly at musical and personal odds and Sullivan attempting to move the band in more of a bluesy direction, Peterik abruptly decided to leave Survivor, playing his last show with them on July 3, 1996 at the 'Eyes To The Skies' summer fest in Lisle, Illinois.

At this juncture, Sullivan and Bickler were effectively the only remaining original members of the band. Survivor replaced Peterik with composer–keyboardist Chris Grove. Peterik returned to recording and touring with The Ides of March and also formed the group Pride of Lions.

In late 1996, bassist Stephan Ellis and drummer Marc Droubay rejoined Survivor, but Ellis left again by early 1999 and was replaced by Gordon Patriarca who only played about a half a dozen shows before Billy Ozzello was brought back. Survivor then went on to record more demos for a record deal, including "Rebel Girl '98" and the Sullivan solo album cut "Lies."

In 1999 Jamison released the album Empires under the name "Jimi Jamison's Survivor" (later re-released under his own name).

In late September 1999, Sullivan, who had brought forth another lawsuit against Jamison, won ownership of the name "Survivor," thereby ending the ongoing trademark battle.

2000–2006: Bickler's departure and Jamison's return[edit]

In March 2000 Bickler was fired, severing the then Sullivan–Bickler Survivor and resulting in Sullivan's reestablishment of a partnership with Jamison. The band then began recording material for a new album. The Peterik–Sullivan-penned track "Velocitized" was set for inclusion on the soundtrack to the Stallone film Driven. However, it did not make the cut.

Later that year, the band threatened to sue CBS for using the name "Survivor" as the title of their hit reality show Survivor.

In 2003 bassist Randy Riley returned to replace Billy Ozzello.

In 2004 a Starbucks television commercial debuted for their Double Shot espresso beverage. It featured the band following a man named Glen, singing a modified version of "Eye of the Tiger" while he went about his day-to-day tasks. This commercial gained a number of fans and was nominated for an Emmy Award.[8]

Meanwhile, original Survivor vocalist David Bickler began collaborating on the successful Bud Light Real Men of Genius radio ads in the late 1990s and 2000s. The "Real Men of Genius" Bud Light ads are widely popular and include TV spots aired during the 2006 Super Bowl, among others. A CD package containing many of the popular commercials was recorded with Bickler selling over 100,000 copies in its first month of release.

Bassist Stephan Ellis returned to play a few shows with the group in 2005, but it was Barry Dunaway who played bass for most of that year. By early 2006, Billy Ozzello was back to fill the bass spot again.

In April 2006 Survivor released a new album called Reach. Consisting of mostly new songs, it also included some re-recordings from the Fire Makes Steel sessions. Two of the album's songs, "Reach" and "Fire Makes Steel," had been considered for inclusion in the 2006 Rocky sequel Rocky Balboa but were not included, nor did they appear on the 2006 album Rocky Balboa: The Best of Rocky. Six of the album's other songs were originally written and recorded in the 1990s with Bickler on lead vocals.

On July 14, 2006 Jamison left the band once again. Former McAuley Schenker Group singer Robin McAuley replaced him on lead vocals.

2007–present: Reunions and Jamison's death[edit]

The band performed "Eye of the Tiger" on ABC's Dancing with the Stars on April 3, 2007 and on October 10, 2008 the song was used to introduce Republican Vice-Presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a rally in west-central Ohio.[citation needed]

In 2008 Michael Young replaced Chris Grove on keyboards.

According to Sullivan, and revealed at Survivormusic.com on March 5, 2010, an album of new original music titled Re-Entry was to be released the following month, but this never came to pass. As of 2010, the lineup was a mix of old and new members: Robin McAuley (vocals), original member/songwriter Sullivan (guitar/vocals), longtime members Marc Droubay (drums) and Billy Ozzello (bass) and newcomer Mitchell Sigman (keyboards/guitar), who replaced Young.

Sullivan produced the second album of the band Mecca, led by singer–songwriter Joe Vana. Coincidentally, he replaced Peterik, who produced the first Mecca album. The album was released in the second half of 2010 on Frontiers Records.

On November 15, 2011 Jamison announced his return to Survivor. The new lineup of Jamison (vocals), Sullivan (guitar), Droubay (drums), Ozzello (bass) and Walter Tolentino (keyboards/guitar) announced they would begin working on a new album, which was slated for release in 2012 but has thus far not appeared.

In 2013 it was announced on the band's official media sources that Sullivan had reunited the current Survivor line-up with Bickler. “Our fans are the best and I can’t think of a better way to give them our best. With this line-up, and both Dave and Jimi in the band, we can perform ALL of our hits,” he said. They were also working on new material and looking forward to getting back into the studio together.[1]

As of 2014, Frankie's son, Ryan, has taken over on drums in place of Droubay, who had to bow out due to health matters.[9]

On September 1, 2014 Jamison died of a heart attack in his home in Memphis, TN. at the age of 63. Jamison's last show was on August 30, 2014, in Morgan Hill, California, at the CANcert benefit event during the ARTTEC Summer Concert Series (arttecusa.com). The benefit raised funds and awareness for two non-profits supporting cancer patients as well as career training opportunities for high school students. Survivor's 58-minute set consisted of "Feels Like Love", "Broken Promises", "Take You on a Saturday", "High on You", "Rockin' into the Night", "The Search Is Over", "Rebel Girl", "I Can't Hold Back", "Burning Heart", "Poor Man's Son", "It's the Singer Not the Song" and ended with "Eye of the Tiger".[10]

In November 2014 Classic Rock (magazine) carried a report that shed further light on the cause of Jimi's death: "Shelby County medical examiner confirms he (Jamison) was suffering from cardiovascular disease and narrowing of the arteries. But the report cites the cause of death as a result of hemorrhagic brain stroke, with 'acute methamphetamine intoxication contributing.' His passing was ruled to be an accident."

Personnel[edit]

Members[edit]

Line-ups[edit]

1978–1981 1981–1983 1984–1988 1988
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Jim Peterik – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Stephan Ellis – bass, backing vocals
  • Jim Peterik – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Stephan Ellis – bass, backing vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Jim Peterik – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Mickey Curry – drums
  • Bill Syniar – bass
1988–1989 1989–1993 1993 1993–1994
  • Jim Peterik – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Bill Syniar – bass
  • Kyle Woodring – drums

Disbanded

  • Jim Peterik – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Bill Syniar – bass
  • Kyle Woodring – drums
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Jim Peterik – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Kyle Woodring – drums
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Klem Hayes – bass
1994–1995 1995–1996 1996–1999 1999
  • Jim Peterik – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Kyle Woodring – drums
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Randy Riley – bass
  • Jim Peterik – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Kyle Woodring – drums
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Stephan Ellis – bass, backing vocals
  • Chris Grove – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Chris Grove – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Gordon Patriarca – bass
1999–2000 2000–2003 2003–2005 2005–2006
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Chris Grove – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Chris Grove – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Chris Grove – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Randy Riley – bass
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Chris Grove – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Barry Dunaway – bass
2006 2006–2008 2008–2010 2010–2011
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitars, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Chris Grove – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitar, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Chris Grove – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Robin McAuley – lead vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitar, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Robin McAuley – lead vocals
  • Michael Young – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitar, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Robin McAuley – lead vocals
  • Mitchell Sigman – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
2011 2011–2013 2013–2014 2014
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitar, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Robin McAuley – lead vocals
  • Walter Tolentino – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitar, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Walter Tolentino – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitar, vocals
  • Marc Droubay – drums
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Walter Tolentino – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitar, vocals
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Walter Tolentino – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Jimi Jamison – lead vocals
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Ryan Sullivan – drums
2014–present
  • Frankie Sullivan – guitar, vocals
  • Billy Ozzello – bass, backing vocals
  • Walter Tolentino – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Dave Bickler – lead vocals
  • Ryan Sullivan – drums

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Live[edit]

  • Live in Tokyo (1985)

Compilations[edit]

  • The Very Best of Survivor (1986)
  • Greatest Hits (1989/1993)
  • Prime Cuts: The Classic Tracks (1998)
  • Survivor Special Selection (2000)
  • Fire in Your Eyes: Greatest Hits (2001)
  • Ultimate Survivor (2004)
  • Extended Versions: The Encore Collection (2004)
  • The Best of Survivor (2006)
  • Playlist: The Very Best of Survivor (2009)

Singles[edit]

Year Song US US
Main
US
Adult
AU UK[11] Album
1980 "Somewhere in America" 70 Survivor
"Rebel Girl" 103 Non-album single
1981 "Poor Man's Son" 33 Premonition
1982 "Summer Nights" 62
1982 "Eye of the Tiger" 1 1 27 1 1 Eye of the Tiger
"Ever Since the World Began"
"American Heartbeat" 17
"The One That Really Matters" 74
1983 "Caught in the Game" 77 16 Caught in the Game
1984 "I Never Stopped Loving You" 104
"The Moment of Truth" 63 The Karate Kid soundtrack
"I Can't Hold Back" 13 1 93 80 Vital Signs
1985 "High on You" 8 8
"The Search Is Over" 4 1 60
"First Night" 53
"Burning Heart" 2 11 55 5 Rocky IV soundtrack
1986 "Is This Love" 9 27 25 When Seconds Count
1987 "How Much Love" 51
"Man Against the World" 86
1988 "Didn't Know It Was Love" 61 40 Too Hot to Sleep
1989 "Across the Miles" 74 16
2007 "Eye of the Tiger" (2007 re-entry) 47 Eye of the Tiger

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Frankie Sullivan Reunites Four Original "Survivor" Members including Dave Bickler and Jimi Jamison". Survivor. 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  2. ^ "Jim Peterik - Biography". jimpeterik.com. 
  3. ^ http://www.lilguysandwich.com/mypie/about.html
  4. ^ Survivor (Inset). Survivor. UK: Rock Candy Records. 2010. CANDY081. 
  5. ^ "Survivor profile". Rhapsody. 
  6. ^ a b Survivor Bio at Thoughtworthy
  7. ^ Club M.E.D.- Sampler @Discogs.com Retrieved 10-26-2013.
  8. ^ "DDB Wins Commercial Emmy". Allbusiness.com. 2005-09-12. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  9. ^ Interview with Survivor (last appearance of Mr. Jamison on TV) @YouTube.com Retrieved 11-2-2014.
  10. ^ http://www.arttecusa.com
  11. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 542. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]