Last updated: 02/28/2012 10:00:00 AM
Survivor was formed in the cold Chicago winter of 1977. The original lineup consisted of Frankie Sullivan, Jim Peterik, Dave Bickler, Dennis Johnson, and Gary Smith. By the end of 1978, Survivor was signed to a record deal with Scotti Bros. Records. Under the patronage of John Kolodner, then head of A&R for Atlantic Records, Survivor went into the studio to cut their first album, "Survivor". This record, released in 1980 with the single "Somewhere in America", did moderately well and started to build a loyal base of fans.
After touring for 8 months, the band went back into the studio, this time with the addition of Marc Droubay (drums) and Stephen Ellis (bass). The result of those sessions, "Premonition," is considered by many fans to be their favorite Survivor record. The album was released in 1981 with the singles "Poor Mans Son" and "Summer Nights." This record improved on the first album’s success, although it was still not the big breakout the band was looking for - that was to come with the 1982 release of "Eye of the Tiger."
The title song for this record was expressly written for the opening scenes of Rocky Three which brought the band national attention. "Eye of the Tiger" spent seven weeks at the #1 spot on the U.S. charts. The song won a Grammy, Oscar nomination , and was voted "Best New Song" by the Peoples Choice Awards. The band toured extensively playing in sheds and stadiums all over the country for the next 8 months.
1983 found Survivor back in the studio at work on "Caught in the Game." Release of this title track continued their successful string of hit singles. It was at this time, however, that Dave Bickler decided to leave the band. He was replaced by Jim Jamison on lead vocals, leading to the release of "Vital Signs" in 1984 - the fifth Survivor album. It achieved multi-platinum status with the hit single "Can’t Hold Back", a song that reached the top ten pop charts and made #1 on the album rock charts. This was followed by "High on You," another top ten hit, and "The Search is Over" which reached #2 on the hot 100.
The next ten months found Survivor once again on tour, this time in the U.S. and the world. Despite a hectic schedule, the band was still able to take time out to record "Burning Heart," the title track for Rocky 4. The song went all the way to #2 on the hot 100 charts, propelling the sound track album to multi-platinum status. It was 1987 before Survivor had time to stop and make another record. "When Seconds Count" contained another top ten single, "Is This Love," which stayed at the #9 spot for almost a month.
In 1988 Survivor released its seventh album, "Too Hot to Sleep." Although not the huge commercial success of some of their other efforts, it is still considered by many critics and fans alike to be one of Survivor’s best. This album included the singles "Across the Miles" and "Didn’t Know It was Love".
In 1989 Survivor released its first greatest hits package. This led to the release in 1993 of a second and more complete greatest hits package which included some re-mixes of earlier material and two new cuts written especially for this CD. This also included the return of Dave Bickler on lead vocals, as by this time Jim Jamison had left the band to pursue a solo career. The singles "You Know Who You Are" and "Hungry Years" marked a return to the collaboration that first propelled Survivor to national attention. Since then, Survivor has been extensively touring and recording in the U.S. and abroad. Now the new millennium marks the return of Jimi Jamison on lead vocals. This is the start of another new and exciting chapter in the history of Survivor.