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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.

Customer Reviews

Classic AOR at its best!

It's hard to wonder at times why Survivor was never held in a high of a regard as bands like Journey and Foreigner. A quick listen to this album might surprise you. While the band clearly headed in a more radio friendly direction with Jamison, this album is solid from top to bottom. Hits 'I Can't Hold Back' and 'High on You' (although one of the bands weaker songs). "The Serach is Over' is a classic, while 'Broken Promises' might be the best song on this album, with Frankie Sullivan's hard driving rifts. First Night, Everlasting and I see You in Everyone are all ear pleasing as well. This album is recomened for anyone with a heartbeat in 1985.

epitome of melodic rock

There is nothing quite like Vital Signs, really. Journey is a great band; Styx, Foreigner and Toto sold tons more records but there is this "singularity" that we call "vital signs." The piano blends with power chords, wailing solos, a zepplinesque-drum beat and the unmistakable tenor of singer jamison and "vital signs" lift you up. From the first crystal clear arpeggios of "i cant hold back" to the last notes of "i see you in everyone" it is all good. I am a Van Halen fan, and I can't say the same thing for any of their albums. The stars aligned in 1984 and Chicago piano-man Jim Peterik gave the rock world a masterpiece. A pure 40+ minute pounding, melodic delight. Also check out the band's "Premonition" for an album-length "Eye of the Tiger" experience.

Super 80's Album

One of the best Power Ballad Albums ever. If you like REO Speedwagon, hold onto your seat. Many magical memories and times spent listening to Vital Signs. Best when played while in the back seat of your car with members of the opposite sex.


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 studio musicians Dennis...
Full Bio
Vital Signs, Survivor
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Customer Ratings