Off the Record is a music column featuring a new or vintage vinyl record each week.
Title: “Eye of the Tiger”
Release date: 1982
Favorite track: “Eye of the Tiger”
Some people find the “Rocky III” theme song cheesy or kitschy.
I have a long history with Survivor’s hit song “Eye of the Tiger.” Not only have I been obsessed with the “Rocky” movies since I was a kid, but I also went to a high school with a tiger as its mascot. Needless to say, I’ve heard this song in football stadiums, my living room, my headphones and now from my record player. It never gets old.
Listening to this song for work is a dream. In fact, I’m plotting a “Rocky” marathon right now.
Sylvester Stallone requested Survivor make the theme song for the third movie. He wanted something along the same lines as Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” and the band’s earlier song, “Poor Man’s Son.” “Eye of the Tiger” has basically the same chords as the latter, but the lyrics are more on the nose.
It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger
“Eye of the Tiger”
The song is so perfectly suited for a boxing film. The movie version features tiger growls.
I can’t imagine what it was like to hear it for the first time. I hate the use of the oxymoron “instant classic,” but it comes to mind.
“Feels Like Love” has some of the same motivational gusto as “Eye of the Tiger.” It lives in the same musical house as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” which came out a year earlier.
Some of the songs are Queen-esque; some conjure up Journey and others, such as “Hesitation Dance,” have the same edgy bass lines as AC/DC. The guitar has more edge, and Jim Peterik’s vocals have more growl. As a side note, I dig songs with four-syllable words.
“The One That Really Matters” takes notes from classic rock and early metal. Frankie Sullivan’s guitar solo is epic. He and Peterik wrote all of the songs on the album.
“I’m Not That Man Anymore” is a cool song because it unites all of Survivor’s strengths into one song. It has similar chords and emotional sentiment to “Eye of the Tiger,” but also some progressive rock style keyboard moments.
The B-side starts with “Children of the Night,” which starts with a lullaby style acoustic moment leading into a mid-tempo rock song. What I think Survivor really nails is tempo and switching it up without it being too jarring. Not an easy feat.
“Ever Since the World Began” is this album’s ballad, and it’s lovely. Survivor’s signature is certainly grandiose lyrics.
“American Heartbeat” was the second released single. It’s catchy in a synth-pop way, but it’s not my style.
What else could you put on the cover besides the actual eye of a tiger?