Eye of the Tiger

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This article is about the song by Survivor. For other uses, see Eye of the Tiger (disambiguation).
"Eye of the Tiger"
Eye of the Tiger Survivor.jpg
Single by Survivor
from the album Rocky III and Eye of the Tiger
B-side "Take You on a Saturday"
Released May 29, 1982
Recorded 1982
Genre Hard rock[1]
Length 4:04
Producer(s) Frankie Sullivan
Survivor singles chronology
"Summer Nights"
"Eye of the Tiger"
"American Heartbeat"
Music sample
Music video
Eye of the Tiger on YouTube

"Eye of the Tiger" is a song by American rock band Survivor. It was released as a single from their third album Eye of the Tiger and was also the theme song for the film Rocky III, which was released a day before the single. The song was written by Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik and was done so at the request of Rocky III star, writer, and director Sylvester Stallone, after Queen denied him permission to use "Another One Bites the Dust", the song Stallone intended as the Rocky III theme.[2] The version of the song that appears in the movie is the demo version of the song. The movie version also contained tiger growls, something that did not appear on the album version. It features original Survivor singer Dave Bickler on lead vocals.[3]

It gained tremendous MTV and radio airplay and topped charts worldwide during 1982. In the United States, it held No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks and was the No. 2 single of 1982, behind Olivia Newton-John's "Physical". The band won a 1982 Grammy Award for "Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group With Vocal" at the 25th Annual Grammy Awards.[4]

The song is also the title song to the 1986 film of the same name.[5]

It was certified platinum in August 1982 by the RIAA, signifying sales of 2 million vinyl copies. The song had sold over 4.1 million in digital downloads in the United States alone by February 2015.[6] It was voted VH1's 63rd greatest hard rock song.[1] Combined sales of original vinyl release and digital downloads total over 9 million copies.[6][7][8][9]

The song was later recycled in various other movies, television programs, and video games.


In an interview with Songfacts, co-writer Jim Peterik, who shared writing credit with Frankie Sullivan, explained the song's title.

At first, we wondered if calling it "Eye of the Tiger" was too obvious. The initial draft of the song, we started with "It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight, rising up to the spirit of our rival, and the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and it all comes down to survival." We were going to call the song "Survival". In the rhyme scheme, you can tell we had set up "rival" to rhyme with "survival". At the end of the day, we said, "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".[10]


The song was nominated for the 1982 Academy Award for Best Original Song, the only Oscar nomination for Rocky III. It lost to "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer and a Gentleman.

The song was also nominated for the 1983 Grammy Award for Song of the Year, but lost to the Willie Nelson hit "Always on My Mind".

Cover versions[edit]




Newt Gingrich campaign[edit]

In 2012, Survivor sued Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in Illinois federal court for using "Eye of the Tiger" without authorization as entrance music at his political rallies going back as far as 2009.[13] The suit was later settled out of court.[14]

The same year Sullivan also demanded that Mitt Romney, also a Republican candidate for president, stop using "Eye of the Tiger" at his campaign rallies. Romney agreed to drop the song from the campaign's playlists.[14]

Mike Huckabee's campaign[edit]

Frankie Sullivan's company Rude Music filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago, Illinois, on November 18, 2015, against the former Governor of Arkansas and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's campaign organization for using "Eye of the Tiger" at a political rally without permission. The rally took place on September 8, 2015, when Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, was released from jail after spending five days there for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky.[15] In June 2016 it was reported by CNN that Huckabee had agreed, in a confidential, out-of-court settlement with Sullivan's Rude Music, to pay $25,000 in compensation.[16][17]


Credits adapted from the album Eye of the Tiger.[18]

Charts and sales[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[44] 81

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Winistorfer, Andrew (January 5, 2009). "VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs list only slightly less annoying than their hip-hop list". VH1. Prefix Magazine. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Interview: Guitarist Jim Peterik Talks 'Tiger' and the New Pride of Lions Album, 'Immortal'". Guitar World. October 19, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ Fischer, Blair R. (June 2010). "Who's Left?". Spin. Vol. 26 no. 5. p. 74. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  4. ^ "Past Winners". Grammy.com. Retrieved November 20, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Eye of the Tiger (1986) – Soundtracks". Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c Grein, Paul (February 4, 2015). "The 15 Most Downloaded Songs in Rock History". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Lane, Dan (June 27, 2013). "Daft Punk's Get Lucky becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time!". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b (Japanese) レコード協会調べ 3月度有料音楽配信認定 <略称:3月度認定> at the Wayback Machine (archived April 20, 2014). Recording Industry Association of Japan.
  10. ^ "Eye of the Tiger by Survivor". Songfacts. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Frank Bruno". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 11, 2015. 
  12. ^ DiVita, Joe. "Devil You Know Unveil Hard-Hitting Cover of Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger'". Loudwire. Retrieved November 6, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Newt Gingrich Sued For Using Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' at Rallies". Rolling Stone. 31 January 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Bryant, Christian (September 9, 2015). "Rock band Survivor has been going after GOP politicians over the years for using their song "Eye of the Tiger" without permission.". Newsy. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  15. ^ McCaskill, Nolan D. (November 18, 2015). "Huckabee sued for playing 'Eye of the Tiger' at Kim Davis rally". Politico. Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  16. ^ Kaufman, Gil (June 28, 2016). "Mike Huckabee Owes Survivor $25,000 for Playing 'Eye of the Tiger' At Rally". Billboard. Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  17. ^ Kreps, Daniel (June 27, 2016). "Mike Huckabee Settles 'Eye of the Tiger' Lawsuit for $25,000". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 30, 2016. 
  18. ^ Eye of the Tiger (liner notes). Survivor. Scotti Bros. 1982. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Australia No. 1 hits -- 1980's". World Charts. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved May 26, 2014. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "sc_Austria_Survivor" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  22. ^ CHART NUMBER 1331 – Saturday, July 24, 1982 at the Wayback Machine (archived July 29, 2007). CHUM.
  23. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6557." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  24. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. 94 (41): 79. October 16, 1982. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  25. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  26. ^ "Le Détail par Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Survivor" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  27. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  28. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Eye of the Tiger". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  29. ^ a b "I singoli più venduti del 1982" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  30. ^ a b "Japan #1 IMPORT DISKS by Oricon Hot Singles". Hbr3.sakura.ne.jp. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  32. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  33. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  34. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger". VG-lista. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  35. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (S)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  36. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  37. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger". Singles Top 100. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  38. ^ a b c d e f "Swisscharts.com – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved May 26, 2014. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "sc_Switzerland_Survivor" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  39. ^ "Archive Chart: 1982-09-04" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g "Survivor – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
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  43. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  44. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  45. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1982" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  47. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1982" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  48. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1982". RPM. Vol. 37 no. 19. December 25, 1982. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  49. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1982" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  50. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1982" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  51. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1982". Rock.co.za. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
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  53. ^ The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1982 at the Wayback Machine (archived September 21, 2012). Cash Box magazine.
  54. ^ "TOP – 1983" (in French). Top-france.fr. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  55. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger". Music Canada. 
  56. ^ "Les Singles / Titres Certifiés "Or"" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  57. ^ "Les Meilleures Ventes "Tout Temps" de 45 T. / Singles / Téléchargement" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  58. ^ "Italian single certifications – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana.  Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Survivor in the field Filtra. Select 2012 in the field Anno. The certification will load automatically
  59. ^ "List of best-selling international singles in Japan" (in Japanese). Homepage1.nifty.com. 2002. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  60. ^ "British single certifications – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Eye of the Tiger in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  61. ^ a b c "Gold & Platinum – Survivor – Eye of the Tiger". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 

External links[edit]