The Rocky franchise is one of the most iconic movie franchises of all time. Even its songs are still part of some people’s workout tracks. Did you know that The Eye of The Tiger wasn’t supposed to be part of the movie?
Sylvester Stallone asked Queen for the rights of “Another One Bites the Dust” for Rocky III but was declined. “Eye of the Tiger” was written by Survivor upon Stallone’s request and was eventually used in the film.
The Birth of Rocky
The first Rocky film debuted in New York on November 21, 1976. The movie paved the way for then-unknown actor Sylvester Stallone. Rocky depicts a washed-up, small-time Philadelphia boxer and loan collector who ends up getting a shot at winning the world heavyweight championship title.
The first film’s success brought Stallone fame and fortune and a golden seat as one of Hollywood’s most successful actors. Rocky was so successful that it created its franchise with eight films, including spin-off movies Creed and Creed II.
In the early seventies, Stallone, a struggling actor, was trying to make ends meet. In interviews, he claimed that he was so broke then that he had to sell his dog. One night, he decided to watch a boxing match between Muhamad Ali and a boxer named Chuck Wepner. (Source: History)
Stallone was so amazed at what he saw during the match. The Bayonne Bleeder took on the greatest fighter who ever lived and saw the fight through the last round. That match was the catalyst for Stallone’s screenplay.
It only took three days for him to finish the script for Rocky. Later on, he attended a casting call but soon realized he wasn’t fit for the part. Stallone took a shot and pitched his script to the producers. The producers liked the script but wanted a well-known actor, Burt Reynolds, to play Rocky.
Stallone was then offered $360,000 for the script with the condition that he wouldn’t take the lead role. He refused, and the producers finally agreed that Stallone would direct and play the lead, but there was a catch, the budget was only $900,000, and Stallone only had 28 days to film the movie.
Stallone was able to produce the movie under these conditions, and the rest was history. Rocky went on to receive nine Oscar nominations, won three, and grossed over $200 million. He went on to produce and star in several other franchises, including Rambo. (Source: Forbes)
How Did Survivor Get the Job?
In 1982, Stallone was producing and filming the third installation of the Rocky franchise, Rocky III. Stallone, known for his creative input in his films, approached the band Queen and asked for the rights of Another One Bites the Dust. He wanted to use the song in the training montage of the film. (Source: What a Fact)
Unfortunately, the producer/actor and the band’s management weren’t able to reach an agreement. Stallone then reached out to Toni Scotti of Scotti Bros record company, inquiring if Survivor would be interested in coming up with a song for the film as Stallone was impressed by the band’s first couple of hits.
Stallone and the band reached an agreement, with Stallone asking for a song that had a pulse to the song, which was perfect for the song’s punchy riff. On February 1, 1982, Survivor recorded the Eye of the Tiger and sent the demo to Stallone. Stallone loved it so much he used that version for the film.
Weeks after the debut of Rocky III, Survivor’s song reached and maintained the top spot in the weekly charts. (Source: Louder Sound)