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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

“You’re the Best”, the cursed song that had its revenge: Sylvester Stallone rejected it in Rocky, but the Karate Kid took it to fame

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World Champion. Rocky Balboa he had achieved glory emerging from nowhere. And then he suffered the right blow, more ferocious than any of those received throughout his career as a boxer: he gave it to himself, intoxicated with success, and then fell defeated in the fists of a younger and more vigorous aspirant. Lost. And in turn he was lost, with the death of the beloved Micky

His old rival proposes to train him. That is how Apollo Creed ends up understanding that Italian stallion he no longer had the most valuable thing: his Tiger’s Eye. More than seeing is believing, now Rocky had to believe to see. Believe in yourself from failure, and see that glory is fleeting: the only permanent thing is your search.

Perhaps none of this – the argument of Rocky iii, released in 1982- it would have been without the emblematic “Eye of the Tiger”. And yet that song was the second choice in the selection of music, since it came to displace another theme that had also been composed for the film: “You’re the Best”.

Discarded by own Sylvester Stallone After its initial acceptance, this song seemed to fall into oblivion until it spread its mystique to another classic linked to sport, to overcoming, to faith, to blows in combat and in life: karate Kid.

Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), in the final scene of Karate Kid


After two first installments whose soundtracks had been based on existing songs, Stallone was looking for one of his own that would serve to reinforce the spirit of the fight of Balboa against adversity. The lyricist Allee willis He wrote: “Fight to the end, because your life will depend on the strength you have within you”. And also: “Nothing will keep you down, you’re the best!”. Bill Conti -In charge of the soundtrack of Rocky iii he put music on it, and Joe esposito lent his voice. Thus was born “You’re the Best”, which Sylvester – star, director and even screenwriter of the film – accepted, although devoid of certain enthusiasm.

The beginning of the 80s, a time of extravagance, fluo colors, loose clothing. And also, answering machines: Stallone left a message there for Jim Peterik, of the group Survivor. Because “You’re the Best” was fine with him, yes, but it wasn’t enough. He tried another attempt, one more round, although the agenda was pressing: Rocky iii He was already in post-production and the days lurked, like the count to 10 that a referee makes with the boxer on the canvas.

The actor met with Peterik and showed him the images on which the song would be used: that sequence in which Rocky enjoy the honeys of success, amid simple matches and sumptuous advertisements, while Clubber lang (Mr. T) destroy rivals to search for them. Shortly after, he had Peterik’s answer: Stallone had to listen to just one demo of “Eye of the Tiger” – that is, “Eye of the Tiger” – to be captivated. With the premiere of the film -in May 1982- the song reached the first place on the list for six weeks. Billboard Hot 100.

The rush paid off, but the change of plans left “You’re the Best” ringing in the void. AND Rocky It was the first KO, but not the only one. The producers of the remembered Flashdance -the story of the Pittsburgh welder who dreams of entering a ballet school- they also dismissed the topic: Giorgio moroder – in charge of the soundtrack, who would win a Oscar– leaned by “Maniac”, sung by Michael Sembello. And “You’re the Best” was on its way to being a cursed song, a composition for the big screen orphan celluloid.

Revenge time

Released in 1976 and with an original script by Stallone, Rocky I it won the Hollywood Academy statuette for best film, grossing $ 1.4 billion at the box office. It was directed by John G. Avildsen, who also received an Oscar for his work. A decade later, the filmmaker would embark on a new project: The karate kid.

When evaluating the songs for the film that deals with the adventures of the young man Daniel LaRusso (Ralph macchio) and his sensei, Mr. Miyagi, who would train him in karate to face the tough boys of Cobra Kai, Avildsen met a “You’re the Best” who wandered without pain or glory. And unlike Stallone with his Rocky and Giorgio Moroder in Flashdance, nor did he doubt it: he included it in his film, giving it the propitious framework for the confrontation between Daniel and Johnny lawrence (William Zabka).

The kick of the crane at the end of the film made history: “You’re the Best” would represent the spirit of karate Kid and Avildsen, once again at the top of the film industry, would be at the forefront of the sequels of the saga.

The years passed. Rocky would prove its validity in new installments: Avildsen would direct Syvester in the fifth film of Balboa. And a couple of decades later Daniel LaRusso and Johnny lawrence they would see their faces again in Cobra Kai, the spin-off of karate Kid which is already in its third season in Neftlix, with a notable success: in Argentina, it even caused a resurgence of this sporting discipline.

I know you: Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence in Cobra Kai

But Rocky iii and karate Kid they are not linked only to “You’re the Best”, both in the rejection of one and in the acceptance of the other, and even in the lyrics, which were inspired by the exploits of the Philadelphia boxer. In Cobra Kai, Johnny Lawrence tells in a scene that his first adolescent date occurred when Rocky iii it reached the North American theaters. And what seemed like a passing comment acquires another meaning.

Because they are two still-valid film classics. Although the song is not the same.



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