Great Rock Albums of 1986: Survivor- When Seconds Count


Listening to Survivor’s 1986 album, “When Seconds Count,” has made me realize the difference between British progressive rock bands and American melodic hard rock bands. Nowadays, some people very lazily group all of these bands together and this is not the case. British prog rock bands like Emerson, Lake and Powell or Palmer (both drummers work here), Yes, early Genesis and GTR rely more on keyboard wizardry and the guitar solos work as a cool accompaniment to it and it works extremely well. On the other hand, some of the American greats like Kansas, Styx, Toto and Survivor use the power chords on the guitar a little more. They tend to go a little more on the hard rock side. Now, most of you are thinking, “Who gives a crap?” Well, that’s just how my weird mind works. After listening to GTR and ELP and now Survivor, over the past couple of weeks, that difference is plain to me, even if I enjoy listening to all of these.

Now onto “When Seconds Count.” When I posted about their 1984 “Vital Signs” album, I stated that that particular album proved that Survivor could survive without the “Rocky” films. While “Vital Signs” proved that theory, “When Seconds Count” cements that proof even further. This is an excellent showing from the band and it impressed me despite the fact I was going a bit more keyboard shy in 1986 as a result of my search for more power chords.

One point the album hammers home is that Jim Peterik doesn’t seem to get the respect he deserves as a keyboards player. His efforts on the entire album is completely noteworthy and that’s the case on every song. While, not my number one song on the album, Jim’s best work appears on the ballad “Man Against the World.” His piano skills are particularly fantastic here, although credit where due, Jimi Jamison’s vocals are also probably the best on this track. Another point about Peterik, is that he resists the temptation to play that choppy style which many synth pop bands did back in the 80s.

Now you are probably wondering my choice for hidden gem. “Rebel Son” is the hardest rocking track on the album. While I might have liked this album, my thirst for loud power chords was still there and this song comes closest to satisfying that thirst. Guitarist Frankie Sullivan really shines on this song although saying that, he does nail a cool guitar solo on “Is This Love.” However, his best solo is on the closer, “Can’t Let You Go.”  “Oceans” is a decent rocking track and probably the one which best showcases all the bands talents. Great keyboards work, a cool guitar solo, sturdy vocals and a very reliable rhythm section. Then, bassist Stephan Ellis and drummer Mark Droubay prove reliable throughout the entire album. But the true hidden gem for me is the title track. It takes everything I have said about the band and the other tracks and just does it better.

Track Listing:

  1. How Much Love
  2. Keep It Right
  3. Is This Love
  4. Man Against the World
  5. Rebel Son
  6. Oceans
  7. When Seconds Count
  8. Backstreet Love Affair
  9. In Good Faith
  10. Can’t Let You Go


Jimi Jamison- lead and backing vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards, backing vocals

Stephan Ellis- bass

Mark Droubay- drums

In a nutshell, “When Seconds Count” is a great melodic hard rock album. Survivor were at their best when they recorded this one. Too bad, attitudes of the 1980s prevented this album from being more successful.

Next post: Tina Turner- Break Every Rule






































4 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: Survivor- When Seconds Count”

  1. Sounds like this is a band I should have paid more attention to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this album. Survivor had a great set of albums starting with Vital Signs and going through to Too Hot To Sleep. Jimi Jamison had a killer voice and was so underrated. Now, I want to go hear this album. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Then I’ve succeeded in my purpose. One of my hopes when I started 80smetalman’s Blog was to get people to pull out their old albums and listen to them again. This is a good one to start.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: