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Rocky 3 And The Catchy Hit “Eye Of The Tiger”

You can’t look back at all-time favorite movies songs without adding “Eye Of The Tiger” to the list. Honored with Grammy and Oscar nominations, the theme song from Rocky III reached Billboard’s top spot in 1982.


On A Positive Note…

From the get-go, Sylvester Stallone, star of all the Rocky movies, knew a hit when he heard it. “Gonna Fly Now,”  the theme from the first Rocky movie became a #1 hit in 1977. When it came time to select music for the third Rocky installment, Tony Scotti, president of the band Survivor’s label, played Stallone a few songs from Survivor’s album Premonition. Jim Peterik and  Frankie Sullivan are credited with writing many of the band’s songs.

Stallone indicated that he wanted to distance himself from the original Rocky hit song and select music that conveyed a fresh, youthful vibe. The song “Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen was the first choice for underscoring the fight scenes of Rocky III, but the publishing rights couldn’t be secured.

Over the next several days, work commenced on writing the lyrics to “Eye Of The Tiger,” with Peterik incorporating snippets of movie dialogue such as “We went the distance,” a key phrase of the first Rocky movie. Stallone was impressed with the song, but wanted to add a few touches of his own, including some crucial notes, louder drums, and a third verse. The resulting song captured the fire, spirit, and will to succeed that permeated all of the Rocky movies, including Rocky III.

The rest, as they say, is (music) history.


The Success Of The Song Was Music To Their Ears

The success of “Eye Of The Tiger” may have come as a surprise, but its staying power was even more unexpected. According to Peterik, “People training for boxing matches, that’s natural, but in every sport, that song has crept into the motivational aspect of it. I never would have predicted it. It seems obvious now, but we just wrote a song for a movie. The fact that it was huge wasn’t a big surprise at the time, but what surprises me is that it’s still around. It’s still credible, it’s still not a joke.”

Over the years, the ubiquitous song has been featured in a long list of successful TV shows and movies, not to mention commercials. You may have heard “Eye Of The Tiger” in The Big Bang Theory, King Of Queens, Family Guy, Modern Family, New Girl, and Breaking Bad. The familiar tune also served as the backdrop for a frosted flakes commercial and a Starbucks commercial.

Peterik confessed that he felt “Eye Of The Tiger” had really made it when he “…went to a Pizza Hut restaurant in some godforsaken town in America. I was sitting there all alone, eating pizza when the song comes on the jukebox. This little five-year-old girl jumps up from her seat, hits the dance floor, and starts screaming, ‘They’re playing my song! They’re playing my song!’ and starts dancing to the song. I go, ‘Now I know we have something.’”

The widespread success of the beloved song proved to Peterik, one and for all, that keeping his eye on the prize really paid off.