Survivor’s greatest hit was 1982’s “Eye of the Tiger”, which they recorded for the Rocky III soundtrack and earned the group a Grammy. But lead singer David Bickler was forced to leave the group not long after with a diagnosis of vocal polyps.
Just at their peak the band looked as if they could be headed for a fast fall. Then they discovered Jimi Jamison, who sang lead for the hard rock group Cobra. Although Mr. Jamison was wary of joining a “pop” band, he eventually replaced Bickler to the benefit of the group’s and his own career.
Survivor put together a string of hits in the mid-’80s, often for hit movies. He first sang lead for the Karate Kid theme song, “Moment of Truth" before recording Vital Signs (1984), the group’s fifth album, Vital Signs, which reached number 16 on the Billboard U.S. charts. From that album, Survivor had three top-fifteen hits: “I Can’t Hold Back" (peaked at #13), "High on You" (#8), and "The Search is Over" (#4).
The band’s most successful record came, once again, in collaboration with Sylvester Stallone. They contributed the song “Burning Heart” for the Rocky IV soundtrack. The song would reach #2 on the Billboard charts, falling just shy of matching “Eye of the Tiger.”
While with the group, Mr. Jamison recorded two more albums, When Seconds Count (1986) and Too Hot to Sleep (1988). The former was certified Gold and spawned the hit “Is This Love" but the latter album was a commercial failure.
Mr. Jamison also had a solo career, which most famously produced, “I’m Always Here” which was selected as the theme song for the 1990s hit television show Baywatch.
After the failure of the group’s most recent album Mr. Jamison left the group and the other members took a break from performing and recording. Mr. jamison continued to perform songs from the Survivor catalog as well as his own material. A problem developed, however, when David Bickler with original band members Frankie Sullivan (guitars, vocals) and Jim Peterik (keyboard, guitars, vocals) to tour as Survivor in 1993. The group sued Mr. Jamison and he counter-sued over the rights to market themselves as Survivor. Eventually the bandmates came to agreement giving Mr. Sullivan ownership of the name and touring with both Mr. Jamison and Mr. Bickler.
Jimi Jamison, who taught himself how to play guitar and piano, died on August 31, 2014 at the age of 63.
Josh Eisenberg from ObitOfTheDay.com joins The Morning AMp on Fridays to talk about history through the lives of people who have recently passed away. Today he tells the story of aviation pioneer Lattice Curtis first woman to be certified to fly four engine Bombers during World War II, and Navigator Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk who was the last surviving member of the crew who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Here are the links to the two amazing WWII vets I spoke about with Molly and Brian today:
The obituary Mr. Kevin McGroarty wrote for himself is sheer brilliance:
WEST PITTSTON, Pa.—McGroarty Achieves Room Temperature!
Kevin J. McGroarty, 53, of West Pittston, died Tuesday, July 22, 2014, after battling a long fight with mediocracy.
Born 1960 in the Nesbitt Hospital, he was the bouncing baby boy of the late Lt. Col. Edward M. McGroarty and Helen Jane (Hudson) McGroarty, whom the New York Times should have noted as extraordinary parents.
He was baptized at St. Cecilia Church, Exeter, which later burned to the ground, attended Butler Street Elementary, which was later torn down, and middle school at 6th Street in Wyoming, now an apartment building.
He enjoyed elaborate practical jokes, over-tipping in restaurants, sushi and Marx Brother’s movies. He led a crusade to promote area midget wrestling, and in his youth was noted for his many unsanctioned daredevil stunts.
He was preceded in death by brother, Airborne Ranger Lt. Michael F. McGroarty, and many beloved pets, Chainsaw, an English Mastiff in Spring 2009, Baron, an Irish Setter in August 1982, Peter Max, a turtle, Summer 1968; along with numerous house flies and bees, but they were only acquaintances.
McGroarty leaves behind no children (that he knows of), but if he did their names would be son, “Almighty Thor” McGroarty; and daughter, “Butter Cup Patchouli.”
McGroarty was a veteran of the advertising industry since 1983. McGroarty was a pioneer in Apple computing, purchasing one of the first in the Wyoming Valley in 1985. He would like to remind his friends: “Please, don’t email me, I’m dead.”
McGroarty was a founding partner of Pyramid Advertising, and finally principal owner of award-winning Rhino Media until 2006. He was also an adjunct instructor at Luzerne County Community College, from 2005-2009.
He will be laid to rest at Mount Olivet Cemetery, section 7N. He asks to please make note of his new address. McGroarty’s headstone reads: “I’ll Be Right Back,” one of his favorite sayings. He leaves this world with few regrets, one being told in grade school, his adult life would see the Hershey candy bar rise in cost to over a dollar. He maintained given the resources and initiative, he would rally the good citizens of the Commonwealth to a revolution that would force that price to its original 35-cent market value, a dream he was not able to fulfill, by his own admission the reason: “I was distracted by many beautiful women.”
In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to please give generously to the Pennsylvania State Police Troop “P” Camp Cadet Fund.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Cecilia Church of St. Barbara Parish, 1700 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, following a brief rant of how the government screwed up all of the Bugs Bunny cartoons trying to censor violence. This will be presented by his attorney, Bret Zankel, Esq. Friends may call from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday in the church.
McGroarty leaves behind a thought for all to ponder, given years of gathering wisdom from different religions and deep study of the Greek philosophers: “It costs nothing to be nice” and “Never stick a steak knife in an electrical outlet.”
Arrangements by the Metcalfe-Shaver-Kopcza Funeral Home Inc., 504 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming.
Forty years after The Ramones played together for the first time, their last original member has died. Tommy Ramone, who was born Thomas Erdelyi in Budapest, passed away on July 11, 2014 at the age of 65.
The Ramones came together in 1974. At the insistence of bass player Douglas Colvin the group all took the last name “Ramone”, a pseudonymous surname used by Paul McCartney when signing hotel registries. Thus were born Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman, vocals), Johnny Ramone (John Cummings, guitar), Tommy Ramone (Mr. Erdelyi, drums), and DeeDee Ramone (Mr. Colvin).
Performing together for the first time in March of ‘74, within months the band became mainstays at the legendary CBGB. They performed at the club for a year bringing to audiences a sound comprised of fast tempos, catchy melodies, and memorable lyrics. They pioneered the style called punk along with other New York artists including Patti Smith and the New York Dolls.
In 1975, the Ramones signed their first recording deal with Sire Records. For about $6400, they recorded their first album Ramones in April 1976. It was released the same month. Although it sold slowly, the 14-song album (with only one song longer than 2:30), was a critical success. Two of the albums hits “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyrfriend” were written by Mr. Erdelyi.)
They released two more albums, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, the following year. The second album was as big a hit as the Ramones would have, peaking at 48 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and receiving more glowing reviews. The group had also gained a strong following in the United Kingdom alongside the raunchier local punk band, The Sex Pistols.
Mr. Erdelyi left the group in 1978, replaced by Marc Bell (Marky Ramone). He remained with The Ramones as a songwriter and producer. (He had already co-produced the group’s last three albums including It’s Alive!, a concert recording.)
The Ramones would remain relatively intact until 1996 when the group finally split, playing their final show in August of that year. The original group would come together one more time in 1989 for an album signing in New York but never performed again.
Joey Ramone, the group’s lead singer, died on April 15, 2001 from cancer at age 49. Just months later the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (The induction named Joey, Johnny, DeeDee, Tommy, and Marky as The Ramones.) The ceremony was DeeDee’s last public appearance. He was found dead of a heroin overdose two months later on June 5, 2002. DeeDee was 50 years old. Johnny Ramone succumbed to prostate cancer at age 55 on September 15, 2004.
Mr. Erdelyi returned to the recording studio in 2006, releasing a bluegrass/folk album that he recorded with his partner Claudia Tiernan. The duo performed under the name Uncle Monk, and their album was self-titled.
He last recorded in 2011 at the Levon Helm Studios for a Chris Castle album.