June 22, 2007
Surviving the Survivor controversy
By JAMES GROB Courier sports editor
First of all, the rock band Survivor is not a “one-hit wonder.” Get that old myth out of your mind right now, because when you repeat it, you’re spreading untruth and exposing yourself for your ignorance.
For the record, Survivor had five top 10 hits. They had eight songs reach the top 40. They had no less than 18 songs hit the top 100 chart. The band has been honored with a Grammy, a People’s Choice Award and was even nominated for an Oscar.
Also, the band’s biggest hit, “Eye of The Tiger,” did more than simply top the charts. It was the biggest selling song of the year in 1982. Very few bands can claim to have the best-selling song of an entire year.
So that’s a band with a pretty solid portfolio. The folks over at Bridge View should be proud that they booked them. They certainly do not need to apologize for it.
I’ve never personally been a big fan of the group. I chuckled a little bit when I heard that they’d be playing here in Ottumwa on July 7. It sounded like it might be a fun thing to go to, if I didn’t have anything else going on that night.
Then I heard some of the comments from a few vocal, local young people, who claimed that everyone was “rolling their eyes” about Survivor.
These people want to see bands that they like, I guess, which is understandable. There’s a lot of other bands I’d rather see at Bridge View myself.
But how intelligent is it to insult and cut down a band coming to Ottumwa, just because it’s a band you don’t happen to like? Do you really think that Ted Nugent’s booking agent is going to want to send Uncle Ted to Ottumwa when it becomes known that some Ottumwans have been so negative toward other bands that have played here?
If you don’t like Survivor, by all means, don’t go see them. But if you waste all your time publicly making fun of them, well, you’re never going to get to see any band you like here in Ottumwa, because none of them are going to want to come.
And by the way, Survivor really isn’t all that bad of a booking. I know some folks around my age who were kind of looking forward to seeing them, that is, until the unsolicited sarcasm came dripping in.
Survivor was certainly not the “only band that mattered.” That was The Clash. The Clash mattered a lot. Survivor mattered very little.
Survivor was no Bob Dylan challenging the establishment, warning the powers-that-be that we’d “shake your windows and rattle your walls.”
Neither did Survivor gently encourage us to “Imagine,” like John Lennon.
And no, they never tried to caution us in our thirst for change, the way The Who warned us that the new boss would be the “same as the old boss.”
Heck, Survivor couldn’t even inspire us to “fight for our right to party.”
They were simply able to get us psyched up and ready to watch Stallone pound the tar out of Mr. T in the second fight of Rocky III.
Then, after that, the band became a group of cheesy 1980s rock balladeers. They wrote goofy love song after goofy love song, and they were all over the radio for about four years.
So what’s wrong with that?
Sure, we made fun of them. My friends and I were a bunch of “metalheads” at the time. We were weaned on Van Halen, cut our teeth on Judas Priest and AC/DC, and banged our heads to Iron Maiden. Eventually, we’d all come to love all genres of rock music, but we didn’t have any time for cheesy balladeers.
But for better or worse, some of those songs, rotated heavily on the radio, became part of our lives’ soundtrack.
And to be perfectly honest, most of us were quietly thankful for those songs. The fact of the matter was, if you were fortunate enough to be out on a date with a pretty girl when a cheesy love song by Survivor came on the radio, you were all but assured of getting a “make-out” opportunity before the night was over. It set the mood perfectly. “The Search is Over,” was a good song for that, as was “High on You.” My favorite, for reasons too personal to publish, was “I Can’t Hold Back.”
Those songs helped create a good night out.
By way of comparison, if one of today’s popular songs happens to come on the radio while you’re driving around, it’s all but certain that someone will be throwing up before the drive is over. Telling me the “chart-toppers” of today are “rockers” is very much like feeding me a fast food cheeseburger and telling me it’s prime rib. I’m not buying it.
Before those of you of the younger generation angrily attempt to rise to the defense of your favorite so-called “artists,” keep in mind that in about 20 years or so, some young punk is going to be making fun of the music from your era, and it might take a minute, but you’ll realize that the young punk is right. You’ll take solace in the fact that even though the young punk is right, your music is still better than the junk he will be listening to.
Oh, and also, if any of you younger generation people are still reading this, please pull those pants up. No one wants to see that.
Anyway, I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to go see Survivor here in Ottumwa. But if I do, I’ve no doubt that it will indeed be a smashing good time.
I’ll be enjoying myself, right here in Ottumwa, and I won’t apologize for it.
And I’ll warn the young punks — don’t mess with me afterwards. “Eye Of The Tiger,” will probably still be in my head, and if you’re not careful, I just might be inspired to give you the kind of whupin’ that Rocky gave Mr. T.