Archive for Rocky

Great Rock Albums of 1988: Survivor- Too Hot to Sleep

Posted in 1980s, films, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2022 by 80smetalman

Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of mathematical link between my liking an album and its chart success because I really like this album “Too Hot to Sleep” by Survivor. However, the album was not a successful album chart-wise. Survivor proved to me in 1984, with the “Vital Signs” album that they didn’t need the “Rocky” films to achieve success. It was further cemented with their previous album, “When Seconds Count.” So, I can’t figure for the life of me why this album did so poorly because I really like it or maybe that’s the reason.

“Too Hot to Sleep” borders on being heavy metal on some tracks. That was made clear on the opening track, “She’s a Star.” When I heard those power chords, I thought, “Wow, this is good!” Another point is the fact that Frankie Sullivan nails some really cool guitar solos on many songs, including the one already mentioned. Hell, looking at the video, he looks like he could be a metal guitarist. Actually all three members look pretty metal in that video. On the other hand, Survivor didn’t completely abandon the melodic rock formula which brought them fame. “Desperate Dreams” is living proof of that fact.

Like with their previous album, the title track is one that does it for me. It has that hauntingly cool acoustic guitar intro followed by the dependable vocals of Jimi Jamison and supported by keyboard work from Jim Peterik and of course a killer solo from Frank. He really goes mad at the end. The only thing needed was to turn up the guitars an octave or so higher.

“Didn’t Know It Was Love” stays in traditional Survivor territory. It reminds me of “High On You” from the “Vital Signs” album and I’m more than a little surprised that it didn’t make a dent in the singles charts. It’s a song meant for such things. Meanwhile, “Rhythm of the City” is a straightforward rocker with a great rhythm guitar riff. This song is definitely close to metal and out of all my blubbering about the guitar playing of Frankie, he’s at his best on this one. One way to describe this track is to think of “Burning Heart” from “Rocky IV” as a metal tune. No doubt, this one gets my vote for hidden gem. Talking about “Burning Heart,” “Here Comes Desire” is a song which is closer to that. It has a definite swagger to it, especially with Jim tinkling the ivories on it and a great guitar solo from Frankie.

The track that did have some chart success is the ballad “Across the Miles.” Jimi’s vocals are the key to this one although he is backed up well by the other two. “Tell Me I Am the One” is more in the 80s pop vein but the backing vocals are good and Frankie keeps it from becoming a total pop song. Things go more rock on “Can’t Give It Up.” The band is spot on with this one with some nice little guitar hooks and you get double the prizes, a good guitar solo and the song is taken out with some keyboard wizardry from Jim. The album goes out with authority with the almost power ballad like “Burning Bridges.” Was the title a metaphor of things to come? Who knows? But it does end the album well.

Historical facts I understand these days which I couldn’t fathom back then was Survivor replaced bassist Stephen Ellis and drummer Marc Droubay with studio musicians. On the tour for “When Seconds Count,” Stephen developed a stomach ulcer and was unable to play on many of the tour dates. Marc was becoming more disillusioned with the band’s shift to more pop and was eventually dismissed from the band. That’s the strange thing, I wouldn’t call “Too Hot to Sleep” a pop album, more melodic rock inching towards melodic hard rock.

Track Listing:

  1. She’s a Star
  2. Desperate Dreams
  3. Too Hot to Sleep
  4. Didn’t Know It Was Love
  5. Rhythm of the City
  6. Here Comes Desire
  7. Across the Miles
  8. Tell Me I’m the One
  9. Can’t Give It Up
  10. Burning Bridges
Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead and backing vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards

Additional Musicians:

Peter-John Vettesse- keyboards

Bill Syniar- bass

Mickey Curry- drums

Ian Lloyd- backing vocals

Tommy Shaw- backing vocals

Rory Dodd- additional lead vocals on “Across the Miles”

Survivor would take a hiatus after “Too Hot to Sleep” although Jimi Jamison would tour under the band’s name resulting in legal disputes. It’s a damn shame this album didn’t take off because this whole album has been a hidden gem for me.

Next post: Bonfire- Fireworks

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Great Rock Albums of 1984: Survivor- Vital Signs

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2017 by 80smetalman

Back in 1984, Survivor, in my mind were a band who were only known for the “Eye of the Tiger” album compliments of the film, “Rocky 3.” For some reason totally unexplainable to me, their 1983 album, “Caught in the Game,” never made itself known to me. However, from what I have heard about it, people said at the time that it was proof that the only reason Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” album was successful was on account of Sylvester Stallone and they weren’t up to much without that. Then in 1984, they recorded the “Vital Signs” album and any talk of this band needing Rocky to succeed was silenced.

Survivor did make a change when recording the album. Out went lead singer David Bickler and in to take over the mike duties was Jimi Jamison. From my recollection of history, Jimi gave the band the lift they needed to make “Vital Signs” a successful album. His vocals on all of the songs are solid and versatile. He can sing ballads like “The Search is Over” and rockers like “Popular Girl” without breaking a sweat. In the eyes of song writers Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik, he was a god send.

On that subject, the two men I’ve just mentioned are very good song writers and just as good musicians. Together, with the rhythm section of Stephan Ellis and Marc Droubay, they make a good band and therefore a cool album. You can’t fault four singles and the thing is, I like them all. Was I on drugs at the time? Probably but I do like the first four songs on the album, which were the singles. Even thirty years plus on, I can’t decide which I like better between “I Can’t Hold Back” and “High on You.” However, I wouldn’t call the other tracks filler. “Broken Promises” steers the album to more hard rock waters after the very well done progressive rock of the first four songs. There is a good guitar solo on it. Then, probably the hardest song on the album, “Popular Girl,” for me is the hidden gem. If a metal band covered this song or if Survivor hadn’t held back, it would have the potential to be mind blowing. The next track, “Everlasting” is a cool power ballad with a great metal like guitar solo intro and some noticeably cool drumming. Great stuff.

Track Listing:

  1. I Can’t Hold Back
  2. High on You
  3. First Night
  4. The Search is Over
  5. Broken Promises
  6. Popular Girl
  7. Everlasting
  8. It’s the Singer, Not the Song
  9. I See You in Everyone

Survivor

Jimi Jamison- lead vocals

Frankie Sullivan- guitar, vocals

Jim Peterik- guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals

Stephan Ellis- bass

Marc Droubay- drums

You get two songs because I can’t decide which one I like more

Survivor silenced their critics in 1984 with Vital Signs and proved they could make good music on their own without the assistance of Mr Stallone. Proof that the album is so good is in the fact that even though it has a more progressive rock sound, a metal head like me likes it.

Next post: Big Country- Steel Town

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1503940272&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Survivor- Eye of the Tiger

Posted in 1980s, films, Music, Rock, soundtracks, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Survivortiger

A joke that made the rounds back in the early 80s was that Survivor was the band that Sylvester Stallone discovered. Rumour had it that the actor liked this band so much that he insisted they played on the soundtrack for “Rocky III.” The extent of the truth in that theory is rather fuzzy in my recollection but Survivor’s contribution to the soundtrack to the film led to them having one of the best known singles in 1982 and opened the eyes of many to the album of the same name.

rocky3

The album “Eye of the Tiger” proves that Survivor were just too good to be a one hit wonder. There are just too many good songs on this album. Keeping with the 1982 tradition, the album opens with the big single, which has one of the most memorable intros in rock history. Like it or not, the opening to the title track is one that you can’t get out of your head. Now for the rest of the album, which tries to be progressive hard rock throughout. The second track and third track are a bit more keyboard oriented but I still like “Hesitation Dance.” Then things rock out more with “The One That Really Matters.” It has a crunching guitar intro and the song goes more hard rock. Next comes, “I’m Not That Man Anymore” and that gets my vote for best guitar solo on the album. Trust me, that solo cooks! “Children of the Night” is the ballad on the album and it’s not bad.  The penultimate track is also their second biggest single, “American Heartbeat.” It didn’t get to number one like the title track but had to settle for number seventeen. I thought that was fair enough because it’s not as good. The closer is a bit of a funny one. “Silver Girl” starts sort of hard but then goes very progressive, almost space rock in the middle to come back in harder at the end. Even after all these years, I can’t really say how effective that is. Still, I can’t agree with whatever critic stated that the rest of the album didn’t live up to the title cut. There are some good tracks on this album, if you can get Rocky out of your head.

Track Listing:

1. Eye of the Tiger

2. Feels Like Love

3. Hesitation Dance

4. The One That Really Matters

5. I’m Not That Man Anymore

6. Children of the Night

7. Ever Since the World Began

8. American Heartbeat

9. Silver Girl

Survivor

Survivor

Dave Bickler- lead vocals

Frankie Sullivan- lead, rhythm, acoustic guitars, backing vocals

Jim Peterik- keyboards, rhythm guitars, backing vocals

Stephen Ellis- bass

Marc Droubay- drums

Even if Sly Stallone did sort of discover Survivor, who cares? After all, he did the music world a favour by doing so. This album is proof of that.

Next post: Robert Plant- Pictures at 11

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