Survivor Artistfacts

  • 1978-1989, 1993-2014
    Frankie SullivanGuitar
    Jim PeterikKeyboards, guitar, vocals1978-1989, 1993-1996
    Dave BicklerLead vocals1978-1983, 1993-2000, 2013-2014
    Dennis JohnsonBass1978-1981
    Gary SmithDrums1978-1981
    Stephan EllisBass1981-1988, 1996-1999
    Marc DroubayDrums1981-1987, 1996-2014
    Jimi JamisonLead vocals1984-1989, 2000-2006, 2011-2014
  • The band formed in Chicago when Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan teamed up. Peterik was an established artist, having scored the #2 hit "Vehicle" in 1970 with his band The Ides of March. Sullivan was a rising star on the scene, performing in a band called Mariah. The pair formed the nucleus of the group and co-wrote most of their songs, but they got along like orange juice and milk. Peterik claimed that Sullivan took over the group, marginalizing Peterik to keyboards when he started out as a lead vocalist and guitarist. Their tenuous relationship led to a great deal of tension in the band, which went through a number of member changes over the years.
  • Bickler and Peterik both worked as jingle singers before forming the band. Peterik sang a popular Sunkist commercial that re-worked the Beach Boys song "Good Vibrations."
  • Survivor is one of the few bands to rack up hits with two different lead singers. Their early hits, including "Eye of the Tiger," were sung by original lead vocalist Dave Bickler. When Bickler had throat surgery in 1983, he was unable to sing, so the band dumped him and filled his spot with Jimi Jamison, who sang on their later hits, including "High on You" and "The Search Is Over."

    In 2013, the band began touring with both Jamison and Bickler, but in 2014 Jamison died of a heart attack at age 63.
  • Rights to the "Survivor" name took a long time to sort out. When they formed, none of the founders could trademark the name because there was another Chicago band called The Survivors. The band split up in 1989, but in 1992 Jamison (not an original member) assembled a new group and began touring as Survivor. When Peterik and Sullivan found out, they got their version of Survivor back together and hit the road in an attempt to protect their legacy. Peterik left in 1996, but various lineups led by Sullivan toured until 2014. Sullivan eventually won ownership of the Survivor name.
  • .38 Special's first hit was Survivor's live showstopper. Three members of Survivor wrote "Rockin' into the Night" and the band had been getting a great reaction to it when they played it live, but when it came time to record their first album, the song instead made its way to .38 Special, thanks in part to John Kalodner, who did A&R for both acts. Kalodner then had Peterik write some songs with .38 Special while also working with Survivor - something that didn't go over well with his bandmates but worked out well for .38 - the first song they wrote together was their next hit, "Hold on Loosely."
  • John Kalodner signed the band to Atlantic Records and assigned them to the Atlantic imprint Scotti Brothers, which was run by two well-connected men known for using aggressive tactics in promoting their artists.
  • Kim Basinger is the cover model on their first album.


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