Meaning of the song Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

The main song of 1982 was named by the American magazine Billboard the composition Eye of the Tiger (“Eye of the Tiger”), which the musicians from the rock band Survivor wrote at the request of Sylvester Stallone for the third part of the film “Rocky”.

But such a flattering review of an authoritative publication is far from the only and by no means the main achievement of the song, the history of which we will talk about later.

History of creation and meaning of Eye of the Tiger

Stallone wanted to make the song Another One Bites the Dust by Queen the main theme of the picture. Scenes were already filmed for it, but the filmmakers failed to reach an agreement with the copyright holders, so another track had to be selected.

The president of the record company that worked with Survivor delivered some tracks to Stallone from Premonition, the band’s last album at the time. It seemed to the actor that the style in which the guys play is suitable for the film. He called them and left a message on the answering machine. The next word is Jim Peterik:

When I pressed the play button, I heard: “Hey, hi Jim, here’s a nice message for you. This is Sylvester Stallone.” It seemed too cool to be true, but it really was him.

During a conversation between the members of Survivor and Stallone, it turned out that Sylvester needed a song that had nothing to do with Bill Conti’s Gonna Fly Now, which sounded in the first two parts of Rocky. A new thing had to reach out to a young viewer, so a hit that was modern and appropriate to the atmosphere of the picture was required.

The musicians knew that they needed to write a song that would not be inferior to Another One Bites the Dust, and, full of determination, they set to work, intending to surpass the creation of Queen.

The famous guitar riff that opens the composition was composed by Peterik. He thought about how to make the introduction as dramatic as possible, and decided to play chords, imitating the sounds of punches that a boxer throws.

Meaning of Eye of the Tiger

The lyrics of the composition began with the line “Back on the street, doin’ time, taking chances” (“Back on the street again, lived my way, took risks”), which was written by Frank Sullivan. Peterik liked it very much, but he suggested making small changes. Then things went like clockwork, and three days later the initial version of Eye of the Tiger was ready.

Rocky III

The song’s working title was Survival. The musicians considered the version of Eye of the Tiger too obvious. It seemed to them that she was too clearly alluding to the phrase of the former world champion, with which he refers to Rocky. But then they thought about it and came to the conclusion that it would be a sin to refuse such a spectacular and catchy expression.

Sylvester Stallone liked the song Eye of the Tiger, but he asked to make the drum part louder and write the fourth verse (in the original, the first one was repeated instead). Not all authors agree to make changes to their creations, but Peterik and Sullivan did not argue.

Release and achievements

Rocky 3 was released in 1982. Eye of the Tiger was released as a single from the album of the same name in May of that year. A month later, she topped the Billboard Hot 100 and held the position for six weeks. By the end of the summer, about two million records had been sold.

VH1 ranked Eye of the Tiger number 63 on their list of the greatest hard rock songs.

Until now, Eye of the Tiger is actively used by athletes and competition organizers, but, of course, it is most often heard in boxing halls.

Eye of the Tiger music video

Check out the music video for Eye of the Tiger – Survivor.

Interesting Facts

  • The versions of the song heard on the album and in the movie differ slightly.
  • The song was also included in the fourth part of “Rocky”, although the key composition of Rocky IV was Burning Heart, also written by Survivor.
  • Eye of the Tiger can be heard in numerous feature films and TV series (Eye of the Tiger, The Big Bang Theory, My Name is Earl, and others).
  • In 2004, Eye of the Tiger was used in a Starbucks advertisement.
  • By 2012, over three million internet users had downloaded Eye of the Tiger for free.

Lyrics Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Risin’ up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

So many times it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watchin’ us all with the eye of the tiger

Face to face, out in the heat
Hangin’ tough, stayin’ hungry
They stack the odds, still we take to the street
For the kill with the skill to survive

Risin’ up, straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance now I’m not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive

Translation of the song Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Rising, he returned to the street again,
Lived my own way, took risks
Didn’t go astray and got back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

How often does it happen too fast
You change passion for fame
Don’t lose your grip on sweet memories
You have to fight to keep them alive

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of battle
Accepted opponent’s challenge
And the last survivor creeps up on his prey in the night
And he’s watching us with the eye of the tiger

Face to face, in the heat
Persevering, enduring hunger,
They’re waiting for their chance, but still we won’t go outside
To strike with the ability to survive

Climbing straight to the top
Was solid, knew the glory
I didn’t go astray and I’m not going to stop
Just a man and his will to survive

Quote about the song Eye of the Tiger

Looking back at 53 years of age, it’s incredibly fun to think that I was once part of something super trendy. We just tried to get away from Gonna Fly Now

Jim Peterik

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