This was written by Jim Peterik
and Frankie Sullivan, who were Survivor's primary songwriters. Peterik told us: "'The Search Is Over' started as a title in my notebook. A lot of times, I'll write down a phrase that just sounds like something. I may have gotten it from the news - the search is over for the missing whatever. A lot of times, you don't know what the title means until you live it or someone you know lives it. It wasn't about my life as much as a friend of mine who had a girlfriend - really a play pal throughout their growing up years - and never thought it could be anything more than that. It was looking him straight in the face that this was the girl of his destiny, and he looked everywhere to find that dream girl only to come back to the sandbox. This couple is still married and going strong. It became kind of an allegory to looking for what is obvious; having it in your hand and you being too close to even realize it."
Peterik added in our interview: "Mechanically, the whole thing kind of started in my head driving down the street. I turned on my tape recorder and I sang the whole melody top to bottom into my tape recorder. The way it modulated into the chorus was very unique. When I got to the piano a few hours later, I had to find out where it was going and what it was. I brought it to rehearsal, showed it to the guys and worked with Frank one on one on the song - he loved it. It was called The Search Is Over, but I still didn't know exactly what the hook of the song was going to be. I thought of this couple, and when we came up with the line, 'Then I touched your hand, I could hear you whisper, the search is over, love was right before my eyes,' we looked at each other's arms and we both had goose bumps. It was the magical turn of that phrase and realizing what this song was about. I think we discovered the song as we were writing it."
As a teenager, Peterik formed The Ides Of March and wrote their hit "Vehicle." While he was with Survivor, he also wrote several hit songs for .38 Special, including "Hold On Loosely" and "Caught Up In You." He left Survivor in 1996 and continues to record with The Ides Of March.
Jim Peterik told us: "I'm a sucker for a good title. To me, a good title is intriguing. It tells the story sometimes in and of itself, or at least it draws the person in enough to wonder, 'What search is it? What is he looking for?' Vehicle - boom, just a great word. I had that written in the margins of my high school notebook. I didn't know exactly what it was about, I just knew it had power to it. Other times, I'll start with a melody, then I'll search through a notebook to look for the mood of that melody: Is it dark? Is it happy? Sad? Bittersweet? I like to match up the mood of the lyric to what I'm noodling on."