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Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Motivator: Yo, Adrian!

Nothing motivates me quite as much as a good piece of music, and say what you will about the Rocky films, but they have given us some of the best tunes to get you pumped up: whether it be for a marathon or an important sales meeting. I like to listen to "Eye of the Tiger" right before I go out on a date - especially if it's likely that my date will have a mohawk.
Even if you've never seen a Rocky film, you've probably heard Bill Conti's iconic theme from the films, "Gonna Fly Now," at least in in part. (I once heard it as hold music. Probably not the best choice for angry customers waiting for technical support.)
Here it is featured in the classic scene from Rocky II - my personal favorite in the series.

On a side note: Those steps he runs up in that scene (and in a number of the films) are in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I highly recommend visiting there if you're ever in Philly. They have a great Van Gogh collection. (There's also a "Rocky" statue out in front of those stairs now.)
Okay, back to the Italian Stallion, in the third Rocky film, Sylvester Stallone directed himself and - it being the 80s - he was looking to put a bit more rock in the movie soundtrack. The rumor is that he wanted to use Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" but could not obtain permission. (I find this curious given Queen's willingness to provide songs to the soundtracks of Flash Gordon, Highlander, and even Revenge of the Nerds.) Whatever the case, Stallone commissioned a song from up-and-coming Chicago rock band Survivor. The song was originally going to be called "Survival" as that was the word initially used in the chorus to rhyme with "rival," but the band decided that the hook was strong enough on its own and that rhyming wasn't quite as  important. The song became "Eye of the Tiger" and factored heavily into both the third and fourth films.
(There are a few spoilers in this fan video, but, come on, if you haven't seen Rocky 2, 3, or 4 yet, you probably have your reasons, and it's just not gonna happen.)

Stallone also directed the fourth Rocky, bringing Survivor in again to write another hit, "Burning Heart," for a soundtrack that is listed on many internet favorite lists for motivational songs. From Robert Tepper's driving "No Easy Way Out" to James Brown's lively "Living in America," the Rocky IV soundtrack is pure 80s adrenaline. My favorite piece on the album, however, is not a rock anthem, but rather one of two pieces from Vince DiCola's inspiring score: called simply "Training Montage."

Happy Monday, cherubs. Go for the knockout this week.

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