Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan wrote this for their band Survivor, which had recently formed and signed a deal with the Scotti Brothers label, a subsidiary of Atlantic. Their A&R man was John Kalodner, who was also in charge of .38 Special.
Survivor recorded the song as part of their first album, which was released in 1979, but the band's producer, Ron Nevison, decided it wasn't right for the record since it was more bluesy and southern than the rest of the songs. Nevison had given Kalodner a rough mix of the song, and when it was deemed unsuitable for the album, he gave the song to .38 Special, who recorded it using the rough mix as a template and made it a last-minute addition to their third album.
Jim Peterik told us, "We were sitting there thinking, 'It would have been nice if it was us,' But I didn't personally begrudge .38 Special because the money was landing in my pocket."
Peterik's bandmate/co-writer Frankie Sullivan felt differently, believing the .38 Special's gain was Survivor's loss.
John Kalodner is known for having a great ear and launched the careers of many famous bands, including Aerosmith and Genesis. About a year after this became a hit, he had Jim Peterik write songs with .38 Special, which resulted in hit songs like "Hold On Loosely" and "Caught Up In You." Peterik was still a member of Survivor, and moonlighting as a songwriter for another band did not always go over well.
When .38 Special recorded the song, they made a few changes to the lyrics. The chorus line was written as "And we went rocking into the night," but became "And we were rocking into the night."
Also, the line, "And it's more than that, yeah, it's more than that" was originally "And in the morning light we'll be rolling."
Before .38 Special recorded this, it was a staple of Survivor's live shows, and often their encore. After it became a hit for .38 Special, Survivor stopped playing it since it was now associated with another band.
This was the first hit for .38 Special. Their accessible southern rock sound quickly caught on with a variety of radio formats and with MTV, and the band charted 13 more Hot 100 hits in the '80s.
The Survivor version of this song wasn't released until 2004 when it was included in the retrospective compilation Ultimate Survivor.
Dactar from Painsville, OhWow, I was just listening to a Survivor recording from last week and just realised that this was their song....
Pam from Taylor, Migreat song...poor video sound, but...one of my favorite groups of all time. Gotta love .38 Special
Sam from Lexington , KyYeah I agree, Mike from Hueyton, I was suprised to see only one comment. This is a great song, probabley 38 specials biggest hit except for "Hold on Loosely" of course. I'm actually kind of surprised that .38 special isnt a more popular southern rock band. They didn't have a bunch of number 1 hits or nothing, but had some pretty good songs that I think deserve a little more recognition, such as this one, "Wild Eyed Southern Boys", "Caught up in You", and several others.
Mike from Hueytown , AlGreat Song...can't believe there are no comments here