Jimi Jamison

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Jimi Jamison
Jimi jamison.jpg
Jamison performing live at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2011
Background information
Birth name Jimmy Wayne Jamison
Also known as Jimi Jamison, Jim Jamison, Jamo
Born (1951-08-23)August 23, 1951
Durant, Mississippi
Origin Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died August 31, 2014(2014-08-31) (aged 63)
Raleigh, Memphis, Tennessee[1]
Genres Hard rock, rock, country, AOR
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1967–2014
Labels Scotti Bros., Frontiers, Epic, A&M, ATCO
Associated acts Survivor, Cobra, Target, Jim Peterik, Bobby Kimball, Joe Walsh
Website www.jimijamison.com

Jimmy Wayne "Jimi" Jamison (August 23, 1951 – August 31, 2014)[2][3] was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He had previously been the frontman of the platinum-selling[4] rock band Survivor. He was also a member of the band Cobra. Jamison is also known for writing and performing the theme song, "I'm Always Here" to Baywatch.


Jimmy Wayne Jamison was born in rural Mississippi but identified as a Memphis, Tennessee native, as he and his mother, Dorothy (1932-2009)[5] moved there when he was one day old. In his teens he taught himself to play the guitar and piano while honing his vocal abilities. By middle school he was playing in a band.[6]

By the late 1970s Jamison was fronting the local Memphis band Target. He went on to become the lead singer of the better-known band Cobra in the early 1980s. Jamison later provided background vocals for successful artists including ZZ Top, Joe Walsh and many others.

Joining Survivor[edit]

After Cobra's demise in 1984, he was invited to join Survivor, whose success had been on the wane since their number-one hit, "Eye of the Tiger." Although he was initially not adamant about fronting what he considered more of a "pop rock" band, which would contrast significantly with the heavy metal stylings of Cobra to which he had become accustomed, Jamison ultimately joined and became Survivor's new frontman.[7]

Jamison provided an instant spark for Survivor, 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. As his first album with the band, Vital Signs included several successful singles, catapulting them back to stardom, 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.

His second album with the band, 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. This album also found Jamison making more songwriting contributions to the band's output, as he co-wrote four of the record's songs, including another memorable single, "Man Against the World" (number 86 U.S.). One of the biggest adjustments he had to make performing with Survivor was giving up the right to perform hits by other artists. "Sometimes we'll start to do an encore and somebody will say, 'Let's do a Led Zeppelin song!'" he told Nine-O-One Network Magazine in 1987. "You wanna say 'Yeah. Yeah!' And then right at the very last minute you say, 'Nah, we better do this [instead].'"[8]

Among his best-known performances are "Burning Heart", from the Rocky IV movie with Sylvester Stallone, which hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, "The Search Is Over" (No. 4 US), "High On You" (No. 8 US), "Is This Love" (No. 9 US), "I Can't Hold Back" (No. 13 US), "How Much Love" (No. 51 US), "First Night" (No. 53 US), "Didn't Know it was Love" (No. 61 US), "The Moment of Truth" (No. 63 US) for The Karate Kid, "Across The Miles" (No. 74 US), and "Man Against the World" (No. 86 US).

Too Hot to Sleep, released in 1988, marked Survivor's final album of the 1980s. While Jamison and his bandmates believed it to be one of their best albums (with Jamison even citing it retrospectively as his favorite Survivor album[9]), Too Hot to Sleep suffered from a lack of promotion from the record label, and it was not as successful as previous releases. The band then went on hiatus until 1993.

In 1992 Jamison toured, now billing his band as "Survivor" or "Jimi Jamison's Survivor." After Jamison's success touring overseas that year, 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. But after contract talks broke down, Jamison quit and went back on the road again as "Jimi Jamison's Survivor."

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. But it wasn't 'till late September 1999, Sullivan, who had brought forth another lawsuit against Jamison, won ownership of the name "Survivor," thereby ending the ongoing trademark battle.

Solo work[edit]

In 1989, Jamison contributed his own version of "Ever Since the World Began," a song Survivor had initially recorded prior to his tenure in the band, to the film Lock Up. That same year, he was asked to be the lead vocal replacement for Deep Purple, who had just fired Ian Gillan. Said Purple organist Jon Lord of Jamison in a 1993 interview, "He was an enormous Deep Purple fan and he would happily have taken over the job. But at the time he was afraid of his managers. They didn't want him to leave [Survivor] and he didn't dare to get into a fight with them." In fact, Lord's record label was preparing to release Jamison's new album, When Love Comes Down (which eventually surfaced in 1991), and they wanted him to stay and promote the record instead of joining Deep Purple.[10]

Music Video of the theme song I'm Always Here (Baywatch)

Jamison went on to co-write and sing "I'm Always Here," the theme to the hit TV show Baywatch and later released another solo album, Empires under the name Jimi Jamison's Survivor in 1999.

Jamison recorded many sessions and demos that didn't saw light through 90's decade, but they can be found on this days.

Return to Survivor 2000–2006[edit]

Starbucks's comercial

Jamison would later reunite with Survivor in 2000, replacing original singer Dave Bickler once again. 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.

In 2005, Jamison was featured with the band in the Emmy Award-nominated Starbucks commercial which parodied Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger". Jamison remained with the band up through the release of their long-awaited album, Reach, in 2006. He left the band soon after, and was replaced by singer Robin McAuley.

Firefest Festival 2011

In 2008, Jamison teamed up with former Survivor member Jim Peterik and released a solo album called Crossroads Moment in Europe. The album was produced by Peterik and released in the United States in 2009. Then, in 2010 they released an album called Extra Moments, it includes some songs that don't appear in previes Jamison's album.

In 2009 and 2010 he performed to a sold out crowd at Firefest, the yearly melodic rock festival in Nottingham, England. He also performed at the Melodic Rock Fest in 2010 and 2013.

2011 return to Survivor[edit]

In October 2011, he released an album with Bobby Kimball (former lead singer of Toto) titled Kimball/Jamison. That same year, he joined the band One Man's Trash with Fred Zahl and released the album History.

Pacquiao's ring entrance with Jamison performing Eye of The Tiger

On November 12, 2011, Jamison led and performed "Eye of the Tiger" for champion boxer Manny Pacquiao's entrance into the ring for his bout against Shane Mosley at MGM Grand Las Vegas. Fueled by popular demand, he would repeat the performance the following year for the boxer's next title defense. In the meantime, the first performance foreshadowed later events, as just three days later, on November 15, 2011, Jamison announced his return to Survivor following a five-year absence from the group.[11]

A year later, Jamison with Peterik's colaboration released a diferent album this time, a country one titled Unreleased Music. That same year, he released a new and final solo album, Never Too Late, a melodic hard rock one.[12] He continued to tour with Survivor until his death.

Music Video of the theme song Never too Late

His last show was on August 30, 2014 in Morgan Hill, California at the CANcert benefit event during the ARTTEC Summer Concert Series.[13] 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".

Jamison was well known for his contributions to charities, and had been a participant in the annual Rockin Christmas Fund charity fundraiser event among others. He participated with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and benefits for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital annually.


Jamison died on August 31, 2014 at his home in Memphis, Tennessee, of a heart attack.[14] His autopsy revealed the actual cause of death to be a hemorrhagic brain stroke, with "acute methamphetamine intoxication contributing".[15]


With Survivor[edit]


  • "If I Cry" (solo single; credited to "The Debuts") (1967)
  • When Love Comes Down (1991)
  • Empires (1999), initially released under the "Jimi Jamison's Survivor" band name
  • Crossroads Moment (2008)
  • Extra Moments (2010) with Jim Peterik
  • Kimball/Jamison (2011) with Bobby Kimball
  • Never Too Late (2012)


  • Combinations – D Beaver (1971)
  • Target (self-titled) (1976)
  • Captured – Target (1977)
  • This Ain't Hollywood, Degarmo & Key, (1980), Forefront Records
  • First Strike – Cobra (1983)
  • HeadhunterKrokus (1983) (background vocals)
  • Got Any Gum?Joe Walsh (1987) (background vocals)
  • Worrall – Rick & Steve Worrall, (1991), with Shawn Lane, re-release on Yesterrock Records
  • Ordinary Average Guy – Joe Walsh (1991) (background vocals)
  • Songs for a Dying Planet – Joe Walsh (1992) (background vocals)
  • Heat It Up, Degarmo & Key, (1993), Sony BMG
  • The Mofo Sessions (1993)
  • To Extremes, Degarmo & Key, (1994), Benson
  • History - One Man`s Trash feat. Jimi Jamison & Fred Zahl (2011)
  • Unreleased Music (2012)
  • Karmalion, Indicco, (2013), New Venture Music


  1. ^ Callahan, Jody (August 31, 2014). "Memphis singer Jimi Jamison dies at 63". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  2. ^ "Survivor singer Jimi Jamison's death was partly caused by meth abuse reveals autopsy". Daily Mail. November 12, 2014. 
  3. ^ Joel McIver. "Jimi Jamison obituary". the Guardian. 
  4. ^ "Jimi Jamison Dead; Lead Singer Of Survivor Sang On Numerous Hits". The Huffington Post. September 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ Dorothy L. Aldy Derryberry (1932-2009) - Find a Grave Memorial Retrieved 9-5-2014.
  6. ^ Living Legends Music. 08/12/2008. "Jimi Jamison - Growing Up in Memphis." Jimi Jamison Interviews, originally recorded 07/03/2008 in Lake Mary, Florida. Retrieved November 10, 2008 from YouTube (search: "Jimi Jamison")(see also http://livinglegendsmusic.com)
  7. ^ Living Legends Music. 08/12/2008. "Jimi Jamison - Survivor, 'A Really Good Feelin.'" Jimi Jamison Interviews, originally recorded 07/03/2008 in Lake Mary, FL. Retrieved November 10, 2008 from YouTube (search: "Jimi Jamison")(see also http://livinglegendsmusic.com)
  8. ^ Randall, Nancy (October 1987). "Survivor's Jimi Jamison," Nine-O-One Network, pp. 32-34.
  9. ^ Survivor- Ultimate Survivor (2004) liner notes. Accessed 9-5-2014.
  10. ^ "Jon Lord Interview at". Picturedwithin.com. October 4, 1993. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ "MelodicRock.com". MelodicRock.com. Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Jimi Jamison- Never Too Late". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  13. ^ "ARTTEC summer music series set to rock Morgan Hill". MorganHillTimes.com. Retrieved 2014-09-22. 
  14. ^ Jody Callahan (September 1, 2014). "Memphis singer Jimi Jamison of Survivor dies at 63". The Commercial Appeal. 
  15. ^ "Autopsy: Jimi Jamison, former Survivor lead singer, died of brain stroke, meth intoxication". 680mews.com. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 


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