This is "The Big 10 - The Essential Tracks", in which we take a closer look at particular artist's or band's back catalogue, and choose the 10 finest moments. These are our subjective choices, so if you want to ask how on earth we could leave off such and such song from the list, you can... and the answer is... because we could.


Survivor is a reality game show where contestants are isolated in the wilderness, they vote off other suckers until only one final douche... ehh... my bad. We are obviously talking about *original* SURVIVOR! Formed in Chicago in late 1977 by guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik. The latter a survivor (lame-o) of the late sixties, early seventies scene and the band, The Ides Of March (he also recorded the solo album in '76 and no, we haven't heard it).

Sylvester Stallone, Rocky III, that darn tiger, Karate Kid, Rocky IV, having the same name as the really dodgy reality show, are all things forever connected to the smooth rockers and AOR boppers. Signed to Scotti Bros. Records and released their self-titled debut album in '79 with the help of John Kalodner (him again! what a legend!). They had a slow start to their career, back then, bands could record several albums without any major hazzle.

The follow-up album, "Premonition" (1981), featured their first Top 40 single, "Poor Man's Son". U.S. action hero, hardly actor, Sylvester "AOR" Stallone, heard the mentioned song and asked them to provide a song for his upcoming movie: Rocky III. The band came up with "Eye of The Tiger" and the song has ever since been connected to boxing and various sport events. Classic riff and the song spent seven weeks at the #1 spot on the U.S. charts. The darn thing won a Grammy, an Oscar nomination and was voted 'Best New Song' by the Peoples Choice Awards. There's however so much more to Survivor than the darn tiger...

The new vocalist in early 1984, Jimi Jamison (Cobra, Target), became the start of the AORmageddon as the next following two albums (Vital Signs, When Seconds Count), the very definition of the pink and fluffy stuff. To be prefectly honest. It's basically POP-Music in disguise. Several tracks, without the proper guitar solo, and the keyboards are very upfront and poppy-happy. Extremely catchy and fun stuff and they had a string of Top 20 U.S. singles. They broke-up in 1989 after "Too Hot To Sleep" (88), but has been touring on-off since 1993 (two different versions of Survivor at one point) and released their latest album in 2006 (Reach). Sullivan brought Bickler and Jamison together as twin frontmen in 2013 to really get the best of both worlds. were shocked by the passing of Jimi Jamison (RIP) the other month and thus the Big 10. We all had to leave many great tracks off the list. But here we go...

Intro by: Urban Wallstrom

The Essential Tracks:

10. Popular Girl
9. Jackie Dont Go
8. When Seconds Count
7. Didnt Know It Was Love
6. I Cant Hold Back

5. Oceans
On "When Seconds Count" the hard rock edge of Survivor was buried quite deep and layers of plastic-sounding keyboards were piled on it. Still, the strength of the songwriting shines through. "Oceans" is one of the slightly darker, moodier songs on the album and an all-time favourite of mine. Jimi Jamison's soaring vocals are fantastic... "like islands we stand alone, oceans between us..."

4. Burning Heart
Yeah, that first Rocky song didn't make it to my list, maybe because I've heard it one too many times... it was in the Top 20 though. When I chose these songs this second Rocky song appealed more, and ended up quite high on my list. Tomorrow it might be different - this isn't exact science, you know? Anyway, the persuasive march beat, the uplifting "never give up!"-message, glorious melodies... it's a classic.

3. Ever Since The World Began
In my opinion, the best Survivor ballad of them all. Original vocalist Dave Bickler puts in an emotional vocal performance. "And we're just another piece of the puzzle, just another part of the plan...". A magical song, and one that I feel should have been much bigger than it ever was. One of the classic AOR ballads. This song was later covered by both Jimi Jamison and Tommy Shaw, who both did a fine job. Shaw's version on "Ambition" is especially superb. He didn't score a major hit with it either though. Such a pity.

2. Broken Promises
From my favourite Survivor album "Vital Signs", another moody song with impressive vocals from Jamison. "I remember the songs on the radio, the jasmine, the wind in your hair..." Love the guitar solo too.

1. Desperate Dreams
Survivor weren't particulary successful in writing happy-go-lucky summertime hits. Apart from Rocky songs, their speciality was bittersweet love songs with plenty of longing and reminiscing... none better than this one. After the pink and fluffy "When Seconds Count" album, the band went through some personell changes and was reduced to a trio of Jamison, Sullivan and Peterik. They came up with a harder-edged album "Too Hot To Sleep". "Desperate Dreams" or my other favourite "Didn't Know It Was Love" aren't particulary hard-edged, but are blessed with a powerful and classy production. For this particular track, Peterik has found the perfect keyboard sounds and Sullivan's smooth guitar playing compliments them nicely. 'the lyrics are beautiful too: "Wild hearts on an endless flight, set free in our dreams tonight..." This is deservedly a fan favourite, if not the major hit it should have been.

This list by: Kimmo Toivonen

The list as a YouTube playlist

Individual lists:

Urban Wallstrom:

10.Burning Heart
9. I See You In Everyone
8. Eye Of The Tiger
7. Desperate Dreams
6. Broken Promises
5. Too Hot To Sleep
4. Is This Love
3. Popular Girl
2. Oceans
1. It's The Singer Not The Song

Rich Dillon:

10. The Search is Over
9. First Night
8. Burning Bridges
7. Rebel Girl
6. High On You
5. She's a Star
4. Can't Give It Up
3. Too Hot to Sleep
2. Rhythm of the City
1. Eye of the Tiger

Alan Holloway:

10. Didn't know It Was Love
9. Burning Bridges
8. Burning Heart
7. Popular Girl
6. High On You
5. Eye of The Tiger
4. It's The Singer Not The Song
3. She's A Star
2. In Good Faith
1. Rebel Son


(c) 2014 RockUnited.Com


>10. High On You
9. Burning Heart
8. Popular Girl
7. She's a Star
6. Too Hot To Sleep
5. Broken Promises
4. Desperate Dreams
3. Oceans
2. It's The Singer Not The Song
1. Eye Of The Tiger