Monday, June 23, 2014

JIMI JAMISON "Eye Of The Tiger 2014"

(c) 2014 TopNotch Records

  1. Eye Of The Tiger (Rocky III Anniversary Mix)  
  2. Eye Of The Tiger (Rocky III Anniversary Edit)
  3. Eye Of The Tiger ("Sing Along" Instrumental Mix)
Jimi Jamison--Lead Vocals
Bob Babbitt--Bass
Dave Cleveland--Lead Guitar

In 1982, there were few songs bigger than "Eye Of The Tiger" (actually, there was only ONE bigger song), and few movies bigger than Rocky III.  The combination of film franchise and arena rock was pure gold, as this single really launched Survivor into the stratosphere of the hard rock world.  "Eye Of The Tiger" was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 6 straight weeks, stayed in the Top 40 for 18 straight weeks, went number one in multiple countries, and earned Survivor a Grammy Award.  (Oh, and as to that one bigger song, only Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" was a bigger hit in all of 1982.)  However, many people don't realize that it was NOT Jamison who was the voice for this massive Survivor hit.  Jamison would have his shot at movie theme song glory later ("Moment Of Truth" for Karate Kid and "The Burning Heart" for Rocky IV), but it was actually Dave Bickler who was the lead singer for the band's biggest hit.

In 2014, Jamison decided to cut his own version of the iconic song and, to be quite honest, it is vocally very similar to Bickler's take on the trrack, although I have long preferred Jamison's slightly gruffer vocals to those of Bickler, and the same holds true here.  Musically, there was a good deal of re-arrangement of the track by Babbitt and Cleveland, who are both members of  the Whitney Wolanin Band (yeah, I don't know who that is, either...).  It is still very identifiable as "Eye Of The Tiger", but the music was updated a bit to keep the song from sounding as dated as you might anticipate, and to give it new life.  In my opinion, this was done successfully, as Jamison's vocals are strong and the music is very nicely done, with a great guitar solo from Cleveland.   The regular Anniversary Mix is nearly 45 seconds longer than the edit and features an extended guitar solo, while the "Sing Along" version is little more than a karaoke track that serves no purpose for me.  I wouldn't even own it except for the fact that I could get all three tracks for $1.99 from iTunes, or just a single version of the song for $1.29, so, for review purposes, I went all the way!  That's what I do for you folks!

Seriously, there is not going to be a huge demand for this digital-only release unless you are a massive Survivor/Jamison fan, a rabid Rocky fan, or someone who is into collecting movie soundtracks.  Whatever floats your boat.  For under $2, it's a decent pick-up to throw into a gym workout mix or something, but it's not going to change your world and I would be willing to bet more than half of the people who hear this version are going to cling to the original for nostalgic reasons.  As for me, I honestly think I prefer this version, but I think that may have ANTI-nostalgia reasons, as the song in it's original form, has been simply played to least for me.

You can download the song from iTunes here.

Rating:  I don't typically rate singles, but I guess if pushed into it I would crank this to a 7.5, largely because of the fresh update to the music.

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