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Eye of the Tiger: Hardest song ever to sing LIVE?

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analog
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Well...I've been properly put in my place :D Holy hell this song is a killer to sing in the original key. I remember messing around with this song years ago, but only for fun(with zero intention of ever performing live.) But lately, my voice feels like it is on steroids, so I've been looking for some fun songs to throw together. I've always felt like Tiger would be great in a set, so I found a karaoke track and started singing(thinking I would sail through it with no problems.)

I was dead wrong :P

Man, after 2nd chorus, my support was locking up and I couldn't catch my breath like I had just done 100 crunches or something. THIS SONG NEVER LETS UP!!!! I recorded probably 5 takes in a row, and no matter how light I tried to sing(relative of course, still modal voice) I still had blips and pitch issues along with almost passing out by the time I hit the High C after second chorus(this to me is the hardest part of the song, because there is no let up until after 2nd chorus.) Did I mention: THIS SONG NEVER LETS UP!!!

{I'm exaggerating of course, but man, after a few run throughs, it is very taxing and would be pretty brutal at the end of the night or last set or something.}

So, after this, I of course ran to youtube to find live recordings...and thankfully this song is old enough so people actually sang this shit live back then. ***All of the recent versions with Dave and Jimi both have it down 3 half steps(the song is certainly manageable here.)***

But the older versions, in the original key, well...let's just say it's pretty damn funny(And I can laugh at this because I've been there many times so...I've earned it :lol: )

Live in Japan 1985 w/ Jimi Jamison: The first chorus he makes it through but can tell he's struggling, and then the 2nd chorus gets him (lead up to high c around 2:22.) Also, he's wisely re-spaced the chorus a bit dropping the "and"/running it together with the "the" in order to buy more time and catch his breath. This is a HUGE help btw, I re-sang after watching these clips and it offers decent amount of relief.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucXGNy57Mbg

and then the only other old version I found was Japan 1987: Again, Jimi struggles on the first chorus(lead-up around 1:36) and then bails out and drops an octave on the 2nd chorus @ 2:15(of course, he sounds brilliant when he does it cause he's a bad-ass.)

But talk about EMPATHY...I know EXACTLY what he's going through and it's brutal.

I did find a version w/ Arnel Pineda covering it(doing a great job,) and although he doesn't crack, he definitely fights for breath and strains/runs a bit flat on the High C especially last chorus @ 2:54. Again, not a knock on him at all because, well, it's way better than I could do and also because it's a bit murderous live and these guys are singing in "full-metal" for the most part up there, so it's very taxing physically.

Anyways, just thought I would share an observation and maybe get some feedback from anyone who has sung this LIVE in the original key?

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I think Jimi fails because he's putting too much volume and muscularity on the lower notes. You can only sing this song if you're simply a master with the mix voice/master at the passagio/master pop/rock tenor, really.

Another very hard song to sing is Locked out of heaven by Bruno Mars, btw.

Now I'm tempted to record Eye of the tiger myself and post here and/or add it to my live set list to see just how tough it is :)

Btw. it's cool how even Arnel struggles with the high Cs (perhaps he's having a hard time hearing the other guys, being so loud himself in the chorus, but I suspect he could let go of some tension) - but at the end of the song he goes even higher with very intense phrases. I have to try those myself - why stop at the high C? ;)

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? Its actually quite light in character, and you can pretty much use head on the whole chorus, not hard at all, and certainly not something that would use that much support.

Felipe, that would've been MY response until I started singing all the way through. But maybe my post was too long or I didn't explain clearly: not saying the chorus by itself is hard, and not saying it's sung heavy by any means because its very light sound color obviously and not saying that I'm fatiguing the throat or any of that, it's the cumulative effect of the entire thing that physically wears me out. It's clear as day in the videos I posted, but of course could be due to other factors.

Also, I've been dieting like crazy last few weeks, so maybe I'm just a lot weaker right now? Might very well be, but right now, I wouldn't classify as not hard at all(at least in the state I'm in.)

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I

Now I'm tempted to record Eye of the tiger myself and post here and/or add it to my live set list to see just how tough it is :)

Make sure it's live one take. I think Felipe's teacher Chris could nail it in his sleep, but still curious to hear it with same amount of metal and NAILED! Of course, if you lighten up all to hell/modify vowels too much you can sing it easier, but I like the approaches Arnel and Jimi take.

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hey buddy! i've done that song live, and you are so right. it is very challenging. it is very physically demanding, i agree. i found a little more relief when i added additional quick breaths between phrases.

haven't touched it in a while, but i'm sure i'd have a hard time with that one.

there's an 11-part interview on youtube (not sure which part) where he discusses how much he feared the high c on that song, and how many times he missed it. then he goes on to say... but someone told be how to do it, and it was solid from then on, or something to that effect.

that part "went the distance" always gave me trouble to. support and stamina play such a role in that song.

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hey buddy! i've done that song live, and you are so right. it is very challenging. it is very physically demanding, i agree. i found a little more relief when i added additional quick breaths between phrases.

haven't touched it in a while, but i'm sure i'd have a hard time with that one.

there's an 11-part interview on youtube (not sure which part) where he discusses how much he feared the high c on that song, and how many times he missed it. then he goes on to say... but someone told be how to do it, and it was solid from then on, or something to that effect.

that part "went the distance" always gave me trouble to. support and stamina play such a role in that song.

Bob,

yeah the quick breaths or laying out a bit like Jimi does is helpful.

Also, on a side note, I know that you and I are basically twins when it comes to what we like vocally(meaning more beef:D) and it really frustrates me sometimes when people on this forum just "brush off" the impact of POWERFUL SINGING IN A LIVE SITUATION!!! You can lie to yourself and everyone else in a recording...but in a live situation, NOTHING will raise the hairs and stop people dead in their tracks like powerful vocals(and we all know what is meant by that.) {edit: I'm NOT referring to training the voice}

I was in Austin last weekend and saw this band South Austin Moonlighters, and damn it fired me up. It's a 4 piece and all the guys are virtuosos on their instruments but they're also all GREAT SINGERS! They sang their balls off every song(I only stayed for 2 sets) and by the time I left, they had received 4-5 standing ovations. It was very re-affirming to me after being beaten down by Party Band singing for so long. Man...go big or go home.

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This is a very cool thread. I might add that if you listen to the original STUDIO version of this song, it isn't as beefy sounding as f.ex. Jimi sings it live in the first youtube clip in this thread. Still it sounds great. IMO, there is such a thing as TOO much beef (and too little, for big songs like this).

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This is a very cool thread. I might add that if you listen to the original STUDIO version of this song, it isn't as beefy sounding as f.ex. Jimi sings it live in the first youtube clip in this thread. Still it sounds great. IMO, there is such a thing as TOO much beef (and too little, for big songs like this).

Yeah the studio version is very held back but it gets back to CVT's assertion that you gotta step it up for live singing. Otherwise, it just comes off flat. And also, let me just state that I'm talking about being GREAT, not just another hack cover singer. I think anyone who puts in as much time as a lot of us do should be striving for that. I don't just wanna get through a gig without dying, I wanna blow the doors off. So yeah, it's one hell of a razors edge between too much beef and being "safe."

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Jonpall, for sure. Especially if you're in one of the Metal Shop type bands where you're all over the map and singing a lot of very high 80's screamer type stuff. Again, my problem with the local bands(we have all the pwe/costume bands here in Dallas) is that all of the songs come off incredibly generic, but of course, the whole point is to throw a SERIOUS PARTY, and to that end they certainly deliver! On the flip side, Daniel Formica sounds great doing all his stuff, so there's middle ground in there for sure.

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I think jonpall is right. If you approach this song too heavy, you will crash and burn. And it's easy to want to start out belting because the crunchy guitars are thumping out the thrill of the fight.

I could probably sing this song but I would end up sounding like ronws, instead of Jamie. And who wants that? Yech. Better to wear myself out trying to sound like a carbon copy of the original. And the original can't even sound like himself, live.

I think I said that in my outside voice. Oops ....

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Well I must say I dont agree, associating effort with how interesting a performance is, is a false premise. Neither presuming that something that sounds boring and "lazy", is in that way because of "technique".

Actually what I am used to see is people trying to brute force these songs and doing the same old, "almost good" thing, so concerned in not braking and lasting to the end of the song, that the person almost forget the audience. Or the pseudo-technical singing, forcing vibrato and resonance in an attempt to "sound cool".

I think that whenever you are sacrificing comfort, you are sacrificing the one thing that everybody wants from you, to have fun.

Back to the subject, analog, I mentioned the chorus because the lines "Its the eye of the tiger..." up to the high C you mentioned, is probably the place where the tension accumulates.

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I also think that with the lyrics "it's in the eye of the tiger," you can carry the phrase in ah formation. But if you haven't worked on going through passaggio in one unaltered pure vowel, this could be tough. The reason I think that is because a singer might be in the habit of using breath support differently on different vowels and not realizing it. But if you work each vowel until breath support has the same effect in every vowel. Ah is a tall vowel and suitable for high notes and one would theoretically think this should be easier. I can hear Jamie tilting the a back to cat. Because he is dipthonging.

Whereas, if you pick one vowel and work that through the passaggio, you learn to adjust the breath support and other mechanical things for resonance, rather than your throat.

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analog - Although I haven't tried this song I know exactly what you mean. This song starts out on G4 right in the middle of the passagio - and stays up there just pounding the passagio. So much of the song lies right in the passagio making it a real pain - just like a lot of Journey songs.

Arnel navigates it pretty well and at the end shows it's no big deal for him as he goes up to Eb5 a few times - just to rub it in.

Jimi's tone is the coolest on this song - really nice to hear again - but to get that tone and distortion takes a lot of muscularity (like jonpall said).

I keep on being reminded of Dante's comment about the IR's - which are working hard to keep those folds closed in high chest voice - they fatigue very fast. That's why Jimi can nail the C5's at the beginning, but toward the end he can't even hit them. The IR's are worn out. Now, if he were to lighten up to take some strain off them he'd be ok - but - he would NOT deliver that signature tone. Or - if he were on some sort of endurance program to strengthen them (like a weight lifter would) maybe he would last. Or - space the songs out such that the IR's can recouperate so they are fully rested by this song....

When he pulls the song down a couple steps - it drops 70% of the notes down out of the passagio making the song so much easier. The IR's are working way less.

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Alright guys,

I've jacked up an intercostal muscle on my left side so that explains the breathing issues I was having. Wasn't feeling any pain yesterday, but woke up with soreness today. I'm an avid weightlifter and have been dieting hard last few weeks so probably got sloppy somewhere in a lift.

Id pick this song anyday before bon jovi livin on a prayer

I don't know man...I've sung this song live a million times and that end part is the real bitch but 99.9999% of people(myself included) just cheat to MLN at the end when it modulates. I agree if you try to sing it full voice after the change and all the way through would be a real bitch. Also, by that point in the song I'm out in the crowd getting chicks to sing along so...that's how I cheat it :P

The Tiger doesn't really let up/give you any breaks until after 2nd chorus and you better be on your toes because that High C is exposed all to shit so...to each his own I guess.

Actually what I am used to see is people trying to brute force these songs and doing the same old, "almost good" thing, so concerned in not braking and lasting to the end of the song, that the person almost forget the audience.

Not me. I'm used to professional singers singing perfectly all the time. It bores me to tears...but, that's just my personal twist I guess...

And actually there IS a primal response to primal phonations(which would translate to belting/screaming.) I'll search for the study but the bottom line is there a spike in adrenaline when confronted with it...I think it was skewed towards Broadway belting/stage singing...but certainly rock n roll, blues, black gospel any other more primal genres would apply. I would think the same would apply to heavy crying mechanism(opera) but the point is that a primal connection exists beyond words/music/timing/phrasing blah blah blah. It's lizard brain not logical.

Anyways, we have plenty of gurus on this forum that can explain away anything and everything but I think there are only 2-3 with the same or more LIVE experience than me, so, maybe you can appreciate why my mind wanders sometimes(not trying to be a tool, just honest.)

peace

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analog - Although I haven't tried this song I know exactly what you mean. This song starts out on G4 right in the middle of the passagio - and stays up there just pounding the passagio. So much of the song lies right in the passagio making it a real pain - just like a lot of Journey songs.

Arnel navigates it pretty well and at the end shows it's no big deal for him as he goes up to Eb5 a few times - just to rub it in.

Jimi's tone is the coolest on this song - really nice to hear again - but to get that tone and distortion takes a lot of muscularity (like jonpall said).

I keep on being reminded of Dante's comment about the IR's - which are working hard to keep those folds closed in high chest voice - they fatigue very fast. That's why Jimi can nail the C5's at the beginning, but toward the end he can't even hit them. The IR's are worn out. Now, if he were to lighten up to take some strain off them he'd be ok - but - he would NOT deliver that signature tone. Or - if he were on some sort of endurance program to strengthen them (like a weight lifter would) maybe he would last. Or - space the songs out such that the IR's can recouperate so they are fully rested by this song....

When he pulls the song down a couple steps - it drops 70% of the notes down out of the passagio making the song so much easier. The IR's are working way less.

Geno, you posted while I was posting....yes...I've thought the same thing for sure...especially on the more twanged/distorted stuff for sure. I wonder if that's why I couldn't sustain distortion for long periods of time when I first started working it? And now over however long it's been, I can last for hours on end(but I definitely feel i workout in that area? I think this would be a great research topic.

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analog, can you now do several sustained distorted tenor songs live and couldn't before? If so, what do you think you did to get that skill? Was it lots of scales or something else?

Btw. the Baywatch theme song is also another very difficult rock tenor song :)

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analog, can you now do several sustained distorted tenor songs live and couldn't before? If so, what do you think you did to get that skill? Was it lots of scales or something else?

Btw. the Baywatch theme song is also another very difficult rock tenor song :)

Jonpall,

I've been working on old blues rock/soul tunes(think Faces) so yeah all tenor tunes, all distorted to some degree, but nothing over High C/maybe High D. But lying right in F-C range tessitura wise.

I still run my old Ken Tamplin workout that I've been doing for years, just like brushing my teeth actually. I started adding distortion to each exercise one by one and built up to be able to run the whole workout with distortion(of course, out of boredom, I've switched up a million things to keep it interesting, changing vowels volume all over the place adding distortion taking it off ...just whatever I can imagine really. It definitely fatigued me initially, and quite honestly, still does sometimes, but I also think that's because I'm singing in-between modes on a lot of stuff to get the sound I want.

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Analog, so your main practise in Tamplin's exercises, and also done with a smile/open throat like he suggests?

More or less, yeah. The majority of my time is spent on songs, the tamplin stuff is probably more security blanket/habit than anything...but who knows? It works for me.

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