Episode 090–Dave Bickler “Eye of the Tiger” to New LP “Darklight” with Bruce Hilliard
In Dave's words: I saw The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. My course was set.
I started my musical career as lead singer of the 1970s rock group Jamestown Massacre (Billboard Top 100 Song 'Summer Sun') and doing commercial jingle work in Chicago. I was lead singer of the rock band Survivor from 1978-1983 and 1993-1999, and co-lead singer 2013-2014. I was the voice of 'Eye Of The Tiger' the theme song for the film Rocky III, and #1 on the Billboard charts for six weeks. The song won a Grammy Award for 'Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.' From 1999-2009 I was the singing voice behind the most award winning radio campaign in advertising history ('Real Men of Genius') for Bud Light beer.
Bickler was born in North Dakota, moved to Willmar, Minnesota, and then graduated from Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois. His career began in 1968 as one of two lead singers and a musician in the early 1970s American rock group Jamestown Massacre. The group's single "Summer Sun" was a Billboard Top 100 and Easy Listening chart entry in the summer of 1972. Bickler met Jim Peterik while doing commercial jingles in the mid-1970s, leading to their future partnership in the band Survivor.
In 2009, Dave Bickler posted several new songs he was writing and recording for a future solo project via his Twitter account and website. On September 28, 2018, he released his debut solo album, Darklight.
Dave Bickler is best known as an original member of Survivor from 1978 to 1983. He rejoined with co-founders Frankie Sullivan and Jim Peterik in 1993, staying until early 2000. He was a part of the group for their first four albums: Survivor, Premonition, Eye of The Tiger, and Caught in the Game. Although primarily serving as the band's lead vocalist during this time, he is also credited with playing keyboards on Survivor's first two albums (including being the sole keyboardist on their debut album, before rhythm guitarist Jim Peterik began to take over the role on Premonition, although future releases would see Peterik replaced in-studio by session musicians).
Survivor experienced their big breakthrough in 1982, when they were asked by Sylvester Stallone to provide the theme song for his movie Rocky III. The song, "Eye of the Tiger", soon turned into one of the biggest hits of the band's career. It had an enormous impact on the Billboard charts, soaring to #1 for seven weeks. The song won the band a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, was voted "Best New Song" by the People's Choice Awards and received an Academy Award nomination. Thanks to the song's success and another Top 20 single, "American Heartbeat", the album Eye of the Tiger peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. The song remains popular today. It came in at #18 on the "Top 100 Singles" chart in Billboard's 100th Anniversary issue and it is well over the 300,000 mark on the iTunes Store, where it once held #9 on their "Top Soundtrack" chart.
Bickler left the band in late 1983 after he developed polyps on his vocal cords and required surgery and voice rest, a condition that would take a year and a half to recuperate from. After leaving Survivor, Bickler continued recording with other groups in the Chicago area and doing commercial jingles and ads.
Dave Bickler's Homepage