Survivor: Jimi Jamison (vocals); Frankie Sullivan (guitar, background vocals); Jim Peterik (keyboards, background vocals); Stephan Ellis (bass); Marc Droubay (drums).
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. ~ Mike DeGagne