-- Jimi Jamison, the lead singer of the rock band Survivor, has died, the band announced. Jamison was 63.
“Survivor is very shocked & saddened by the passing of our brother Jimi Jamison,” the band wrote on its Twitter page. “Our thoughts, love & prayers go out to his friends and family.”
Jamison grew up in Tennessee, meeting music icon Elvis Presley when he was 10, a chance encounter in a drug store. He later fronted a local band, Target, during the 1970s.
He first found national fame in the early 1980s as the lead singer of the band Cobra.
But his biggest successes came after joining Survivor. The group had drawn international acclaim for 1982’s “Eye of the Tiger” from the hit movie “Rocky III,” but struggled to replicate the song’s success. In 1983, lead singer Dave Bickler was forced to leave Survivor because of vocal issues.
Jamison initially wasn’t interested in joining Survivor because the group was more pop-focused than his previous acts.
“I really didn’t want to do it, because I was in a heavy band, I always played really heavy music, and their stuff was a little lighter than I was used to,” he said of Survivor in a 2008 interview with Living Legends Music.
But Jamison joined on, and a string of hits followed – “I Can’t Hold Back,” “High on You” and “The Search Is Over,” as well as “Burning Heart,” which was featured in the movie “Rocky IV.”
Jamison was one of the great power-ballad singers, a tour de force vocal presence that was perfect for energetic arena rock.
Jamison contributed that energy for the theme song of TV’s “Baywatch,” co-writing and singing “I’m Always Here” for the popular television series.
In recent years he returned to Survivor – that’s him pumping up office climber “Glen” in a popular 2005 Starbucks Doubleshot commercial – and also released his third solo album, 2012’s “Never Too Late.”