Jim Peternik recalls the day some 20 years ago when he came home to find a message from Sylvester Stallone waiting for him on his answering machine. “Answering machines were still something of a novelty back then,” the singer/guitarist told Songcrafts.com. “When I pressed the playback button I heard, ‘Hey, yo, Jim, that’s a nice message you got there. This is Sylvester Stallone.’ It was too thick to be really him, but it was him. That’s really the way he talks.”
Stallone was calling to commission Peternik and his band Survivor to write and record the theme song to his upcoming blockbuster movie Rocky III.
“He wanted something to get to the youth market, the cutting edge,” continues Peternik. “Looking back at age 53, it’s hilarious to think I was once part of the cutting edge.”
“Eye of the Tiger,” which Peternik co-wrote with Survivor bandmate Frankie Sullivan, immediately went platinum, and went on to sell 9 million copies in the intervening years.
This week, Peternik finishes his multi-day stint on stage at The Big E in West Springfield with his original band, Ides of March. Ides was on a 10-year hiatus at the time Stallone came calling. But Big E concertgoers can look forward to hearing all Peternik’s material, from “Eye of the Tiger” to “Vehicle” and “Finally Next Year,” which was written for the 2003 Chicago Cubs, in performance.•