Four words that Sylvester Stallone came up with in the early '80s permeated pop culture through the decades, landing (in very derivative fashion) in this song. When Perry sings about having the "eye of the tiger
," it's a mantra of courage and determination that Stallone's character, Rocky Balboa, used in the 1982 movie Rocky III
to defeat Mr. T's character Clubber Lang. Stallone saw the youth appeal in the phrase, and asked the band Survivor to write a song around the title. The first two Rocky movies were aimed at adults, but this third one, with a fresh, contemporary theme song, gained a whole new audience primed by MTV.
Perry's use of the phrase goes with the big-cat theme of her song, and falls under fair use; the "Eye Of The Tiger" songwriters did not get writer's credits on "Roar." This isn't the first time Perry has appropriated a distinctive hook line from a hit song - in 2010 she released "California Gurls."
When we asked Jim Peterik
, one of the writers of "Eye of the Tiger," about this appropriation, he said: "I was very conflicted with that. I called my publisher and we were checking out the options: 'Do we have a lawsuit here?' I thought her song was very good, but that's kind of beside the point. And bottom line is, it would have been a tough case to win. So instead, I embraced it, and I started looking at it as a positive thing."