BenBella BooksJim Peterik has found success as a member of two popular rock bands, The Ides of March and Survivor, and also is responsible for co-writing memorable songs for a number of other well-known music acts. The 64-year-old musician shares a variety of fascinating, amusing and touching stories from throughout his life and his nearly half-century music career in his recently published autobiography, Through the Eye of the Tiger.

Peterik recently chatted with ABC News Radio and singled out a few of the many highlights he included in the book.

The memoir begins with the singer/songwriter recalling receiving “the phone call that changed my life,” when Sylvester Stallone rang him up to see if he wanted to write a theme song for his then-upcoming Rocky sequel, 1982’s Rocky III. Stallone initially left a message on Peterik’s answering, and Jim admitted that he thought someone was pranking him at first. When he did get in touch with the Hollywood star, he told Peterik he liked Survivor and was hoping the band could come up with tune that would appeal to “the kids, something with a pulse.”

Peterik teamed up with his Survivor band mate Frankie Sullivan and the song they came up with was, of course, “Eye of the Tiger.”

Jim told ABC News Radio that the song’s title and theme came directly from the movie. Stallone had allowed Peterik and Sullivan to view a rough cut of the film, and while watching it, he noted, “that’s when we got the thread of the underdog rising up…and Burgess Meredith‘s character saying, ‘Rocky, you gotta get back the eye of the tiger. You’re losing it.'”

“Eye of the Tiger” became a #1 hit and went on to sell millions of copies.

Peterik also recounted the story behind “Vehicle,” the first and biggest hit he had with The Ides of March, a band he and some high school buddies formed when they were just teenagers.

He got the idea for the song’s title from an ex-girlfriend who, after they broke up, would ask him to drive her around to various places.

“I figured, well, at least I could be close to her, right? Even if I didn’t, you know, score, as they say,” he explained to ABC News Radio. “So, I kept driving her places and pretty soon I realized that she was kind of using me as her vehicle, you know?”

The song wound up becoming a #2 hit in 1970, which must have impressed the ex-girlfriend, who Peterik ended up marrying. They’ve now been together for more than 40 years.

One of the more outlandish anecdotes Peterik shares is the time The Ides of March opened for Led Zeppelin and was invited to a party in Robert Plant‘s hotel suite afterward.

“Robert Plant opens the door in his little bikini briefs and his little silk robe…and] past him we see an orgy,” Jim recalled. “And there was every kind of drug in the world being ingested, groupies doing a pillow fight, things I can’t even talk about happening in the bathtub with [drummer John Bonham].”

As it turned out, the wild party didn’t appeal to Peterik and his band mates. As he explained, they politely excused themselves and “went ‘cross the street to Dunkin’ Donuts and we ordered milk and doughnuts, and we were back in our comfort zone and very happy guys.”

Peter has been promoting Through the Eye of the Tiger with a series of book-store appearances and storytellers-style solo performances. He has a few of the latter gigs scheduled in the coming month, and he also has a number of concerts with The Ides of March. You can check out his full itinerary at JimPeterik.com.

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