Article Lead Image

Photo via Iain A. Wanless/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Survivor guitarist slams unauthorized use of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ at Kim Davis freedom rally

'I would not grant her the rights to use Charmin.'


Mary Emily O'Hara


Posted on Sep 8, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 12:35 am CDT

When Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was released from jail on Tuesday, she was met with a crowd of supporters that included two Republican presidential candidates.

As Davis walked out on stage, hands held high by her attorney and 2016 GOP candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (Sen. Ted Cruz was also in attendance), the 1982 Survivor hit “Eye of the Tiger” blared from the speakers.

There’s just one problem: The guys who wrote the song are horrified.

“Eye of the Tiger” is a classic anthem of resilience and overcoming adversity, commissioned by Sylvester Stallone for the film Rocky III.

I reached out to Survivor lead guitarist (and the only consistent, surviving member of the band since 1977) Frankie Sullivan on Facebook and Twitter, and he quickly responded with a public Facebook post decrying Davis’s use of his song to contribute to her newfound image as a Christian-rights hero.

Sullivan said firmly that he did not grant anyone the rights to use the anthem at the rally. “I would not grant her the rights to use Charmin [toilet paper],” Sullivan added.

[Placeholder for embed.]

The use of “Eye of the Tiger” almost certainly qualifies as a public performance under copyright law, meaning a failure to secure permission to play the song would likely be a violation. 

Davis, who went to jail last week after being found in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, may have been freed from her cell today after a judge confirmed that her office was issuing marriage licenses again, but if she tries to block same-sex couples from being married, she may end up in trouble again.

Photo via Iain A. Wanless/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Share this article
*First Published: Sep 8, 2015, 6:06 pm CDT