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Vital Signs

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Album Review

Replacing singer Dave Bickler with former Cobra vocalist Jimi Jamison paid off for Survivor, giving them three Top 20 singles from Jamison's debut on 1984's Vital Signs. His high harmonies, added to the group's well-maintained keyboard/guitar style, threw them into the ring with bands like Styx and Foreigner. Both "High on You" and "I Can't Hold Back" are built on congenial rock charm with an AOR dressiness, using the synthesizer to guide Jamison's energetic singing. Along the same lines as Journey's "Open Arms," the delicate but sternly sung ballad "The Search Is Over" gave them a number four single in May of 1985, bettered only by the number two placing of "Burning Heart" from the Rocky IV soundtrack a year later. Outside of the singles, the other songs on Vital Signs keep up with the band's effective formula, a much better effort than 1983's Caught in the Game, which lacked both enthusiasm and rock magnetism. Though a hits package from Survivor would cover most essentials, Vital Signs works best as the band's most spirited studio release.

Biography

Formed: 1978 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Survivor's brand of melodic, hard, album-oriented rock netted the group several hits during the 1980s, including two smash themes from Rocky films, but never quite matched the success or consistency of contemporaries like Foreigner. Survivor was founded in 1978 by guitarist/keyboardist Jim Peterik (formerly the lead singer of the Ides of March) with guitarist Frankie Sullivan; the two recruited lead singer Dave Bickler and recorded a self-titled debut album as a trio with...
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Vital Signs, Survivor
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