As the voice of Survivor between 1984 and 1989, Jimi Jamison (1951-2014) introduced such powerful rock staples as "I Can't Hold Back," "Is This Love," and "The Search is Over." Formerly of the bands Target and Cobra, Jamison melded a fiery, powerful tone with raw emotion to become one of the defining voices of his generation. With Survivor having gone on hiatus following the release of 1988's Too Hot to Sleep, Jamison pursued a solo career which bore fruit on the 1991 Scotti Bros. release When Love Comes Down. However, that wasn't the album originally intended to be the Survivor frontman's solo debut. On August 12, the Iconoclassic Records label will release Jimi Jamison's Rock Hard, his previously unreleased 1990 album, in a deluxe, expanded CD edition.
Jamison entered the studio for Rock Hard with producer-engineer Jim Gaines (Santana, Journey, Stevie Ray Vaughan) and producer-songwriter Kenny Mims (Kenny Rogers, Paul Davis, Mac Davis). Its material touched on every era of the singer's career, including southern rockers in the style of Target, hard rock and metal reminiscent of Cobra, and soaring AOR in the Survivor mold. Jamison was joined by a host of musicians such as Mims (guitars, bass, keyboards), John Roth and Hal McCormack (electric guitar), David Cochran (bass), Scott Trammell (drums, percussion), Randy Cantor and Tony Thomas (keyboards), and others, and the 10-song album was completed by the end of 1989. It was ready for release when the decision was made to take Jamison's solo career in a different direction.
Shel Talmy (The Who, The Kinks) was brought in to helm the album that became When Love Comes Down. The elder statesman of rock kept a couple of the Gaines/Mims productions ("Rock Hard" and "Cry Alone") and reworked other tracks from Rock Hard ("True Lovers," "I Believe in Love") in addition to recording additional material for the new album. When Love Comes Down was released in July 1991; the album was well-received by fans and its songs "Rock Hard" and "Taste of Love" found their way onto episodes of Baywatch. But it would be Jamison's only solo album for most of the decade. A sophomore album would arrive in 1999; Jimi later returned to Survivor for two further stints with the band. By the time of his passing in 2014, he had released six solo sets.
Iconoclassic's world premiere release of Rock Hard features its original 10-song line-up including three previously unreleased compositions, three previously unreleased recordings, and a pair of previously unreleased mixes/arrangements. Jimi's non-LP solo single (issued in Germany, Japan, and promotionally in the U.S.) of his Survivor bandmates Jim Peterik and Frankie Sullivan's "Ever Since the World Began" - written for the Sylvester Stallone film Lock Up and first recorded by Survivor - has been added as a bonus track.
The first posthumous release to arrive from the Jimi Jamison archives, Rock Hard has been mastered by engineer-musician Patrick W. Engel from the original tapes. The 20-page booklet designed by John Sellards features a 6,000-word essay on the history of the album including commentary from a dozen key players in the Rock Hard story. Look for this landmark, never-before-heard release from the incendiary voice of Jimi Jamison on August 12 from Iconoclassic. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below!
- Rock Hard
- Girls Like... (*)
- First Day of Love (**)
- Cry Alone
- I Believe in Love (***)
- True Lovers (***)
- Something Every Heart Should Know (*)
- Cry Tough (**)
- A Dream Too Far (**)
- Is It True What They Say About Love (*)
- Ever Since the World Began (From the Sylvester Stallone movie Lock Up) (Scotti Bros. promo single ZS4 69074, 1989)
(*) previously unreleased song
(**) previously unreleased recording
(***) previously unreleased mix/alternate arrangement