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Survivor - 1981 Premonition

ARTIST: Survivor
ALBUM: Premonition
LABEL: Scotti Bros
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1987, Pony Canyon (Jap), D32Y-0100 * 2010, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY082


LINEUP: Dave Bickler - vocals * Frankie Sullivan - guitars * Jim Peterik- keyboards * Stephan Ellis - bass * Marc Droubay - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Chevy Nights * 02 Summer Nights * 03 Poor Mans Son * 04 Runaway Lights * 05 Take You On A Saturday * 06 Light Of A Thousand Smiles * 07 Love Is On My Side * 08 Hearts A Lonely Hunter


The first two Survivor albums often fall under the radar when compared to their later material, but both are able to stand up with the best of their catalogue. The 1979 debut was a tough debut, more hard rock than AOR but didn't do the expected business. Counteracting this, Droubay and Ellis were bought into the fold and this is where the classic Survivor sound really found its feet. It would be a year later when the breakthrough occurred, but this is very much in keeping with 'Eye of the Tiger' itself.

The Songs
The opening pair of 'Chevy Nights' and 'Summer Nights' appear to be close in subject matter, but 'Chevy Nights' is the harder rocking of the pair. 'Summer Nights' was a minor hit and one of the bands trademark retrospective ballads. This great opening is maintained by 'Poor Man's Son', another hit for the band and characterized by Sullivan's heavy riffs and a quality chorus. The almost quaint 'Heart's A Lonely Hunter' is similar to the later 'Santa Ana Winds', especially Sullivan's guitar work, which gives this dramatic appeal. Pure AOR delights are easily found within 'Light Of A Thousand Smiles and it's amazing to me just how easily these guys developed such a unique sound so quickly. Keeping the style of the debut alive is the straight ahead hard rock of 'Take You On A Saturday,' which shows how heavy the band could be. The ever present nostalgia of the bands lyrics is noticeable on 'Runway Lights', where the much vaunted vocal harmonies are in full effect. 'Love Is On My Side' is nothing but melodic hard rock and the guitar work of Sullivan is simply superb throughout.

In Summary
This albums profile bought Survivor a greater audience, including good old Sylvester Stallone, who snapped up the band for 'Rocky III.' The rest is history of course, but until 'Reach' this was a band that barely made a bad step in the studio. 'Premonition' was a perfect set-up for future success and if there was ever a better band who captured the true essence of America's heartland better than Survivor in the early 80's then I'd love to know who they are.

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#1 | rkbluez on February 04 2010 11:40:49
Their best...a bonafide classic...nuff said.
#2 | Eric on February 04 2010 13:04:08
Their best album-period.
#3 | jeffrey343 on February 04 2010 15:00:25
This one is definitely the start of their trademark sound. I'll offer the dissenting opinion and say it's my least favorite of their albums ( except for 'Reach' ), but that's like saying it's the least attractive girl in the Miss USA beauty pageant. I still like the heck out of it, just not quite as much as their others.
#4 | Jez on February 04 2010 18:23:37
'Poor Mans Son' - One of the main reasons to enjoy this classic album. Definitely one of the best from their catologue and one of my desert island discs.
#5 | jeffrey343 on February 05 2010 04:35:35
"Take You On A Saturday" was the B-side for the "Eye Of The Tiger" 45. That's my favorite song on here.
#6 | sabace on February 16 2010 14:24:47
along with caught in the game their best!
#7 | super80boy on May 25 2014 16:58:49
They were really honing in on what would be their trademark sound on this album. 'Poor Man's Son' has that great keyboard work that instantly adds the catchiness vibe, as well as the emotive chorus vocal treatment. You can hear the future sound hallmarks of Eye Of The Tiger on 'Runway Lights'.
#8 | dangerzone on September 07 2016 22:44:11
How good were these guys in their prime? This album's simply magnificent.
#9 | rkbluez on March 04 2017 17:52:19
Their best album IMO as I said before the song writing on this one and the flow have never been bettered by this band...a desert island disc for sure.

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