“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…”
Those lyrics are from the Grammy-winning double-platinum No. 1 one pop hit “Eye of the Tiger,” the theme of Sylvester Stalone’s “Rocky III” movie, and its co-writer, Jim Peterik, will be at East Central University in Ada on Oct. 14 [FRIDAY] to perform and offer his expertise on how to write a hit song.
“He’s had 20 Top 40 Billboard hits, and two of those went to No. 1,” said Dr. Brad Jessop, director of ECU’s School of Fine Arts. “He’s won a Grammy and been nominated for an Oscar. And yes, he will perform “Eye of the Tiger” and be playing for ECU Tigers. How cool is that?”
Peterik’s free master class on writing hit songs, particularly pop songs, will be open to the public and begin at 4 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre.
Peterik, a singer, songwriter, guitarist and keyboardist, was the founding member of both the Ides of March in the 1960s and Survivor in 1978. He was the lead singer and sole writer of the Ides of March hit “Vehicle” which reached #2 in Billboard and #1 in Cashbox in 1970. “Vehicle” and Peterik’s "Ever Since the World Began" later were featured in Stallone's “Lock-Up” movie.
The concert will be during ECU’s Homecoming week. Tickets are $18 and may be purchased online at tickets.ecok.edu or reserved by calling the theatre’s box office at 580-559- 5751 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All tickets, including those for season ticket holders, should be picked up at the will call window the night of the concert. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door.
Jessop said ECU students can compete for free tickets to the concert in a Rock Band video game contest at 3 p.m. Oct. 12 [WEDNESDAY] in the Chalmers Herman Theatre.
“Students can see how they do compared to a real rocker,” Jessop said.
ECU’s Gamers Guild will oversee the competition. Contestants will play two of Peterik’s songs, “Eye of the Tiger” and “Hold on Loosely.” The highest score will win four tickets and the runner-up will receive two tickets.
In addition, 150 discounted tickets will be available for students at the contest. They can purchase two tickets for $11.50. Once they are sold, only full-price tickets will remain.
Jessop said Peterik will tell stories about how certain songs came about. One day, for example, he had this message on his answering machine: “Hey, yo Jim, give me a call. It’s Sylvester Stallone.”
Thinking it was a joke, he called the number and sure enough it was Stallone. He told Peterik about his new movie, “Rocky III,” and that wanted to replace “Gonna Fly Now” with something new, “something with a pulse and for the kids.” Stallone sent him the movie and in short order he and Frankie Sullivan co-wrote “Eye of the Tiger” in 1982.
It was Survivor’s first million seller and stayed at No. 1 for seven weeks on Billboard charts. It won a People’s Choice Award as well as the Grammy and an Academy Award nomination.
“For a rocker, he’s pretty straight laced,” Jessop said. “He’s been married to the same woman forever, and most of his songs are about her. He talks about being in a remarkable lifestyle surrounded by drugs but not partaking.”
Peterik and Survivor released the platinum Vital Signs in 1984 which produced three top 10 singles, “I Can't Hold Back,” “High on You” and “The Search is Over.” That same year he co-wrote the million-selling theme for Rocky IV, “Burning Heart.”
He also has co-written songs for such artists as .38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackhawk, Cheap Trick, Sammy Hagar, Cathy Richardson, Van Zant, Brian Wilson and REO Speedwagon.
In addition to his solo concerts, Peterik continues to play with The Ides of March. He currently fronts the melodic rock band Pride of Lions and his smooth-jazz project Jim Peterik's Lifeforce. He also is a producer and mentor to young developing talent.
Peterik and two co-authors wrote “Songwriting for Dummies” in 2003. An updated edition was released in 2010.