Does anyone know why eye of the tiger has a weird timing in the intro riff but doesn't have this in the outro?

Basically the repeat(bars 9-12 with timing change at bar 10) is delayed by an 8th instead of coming like it does every other time this riff repeats.

It's a pretty weird thing to do I think and I'm curious if there is any logic because surely it isn't a mistake or a "Just leave it in, it sounds cool".

Eye of the Tiger Riff

The blue is the rhymic motive used throughout the song for the riff. The red is delayed by an 8th and it occurs only once in the entire song.

I'm not trying to be critical or post a nonsense question. I'm genuinely curious to the possible logic that is involved in that decision. Part of the reason is that, while I like to play things like the record, It's just a minute thing to remember and I feel it is more distracting than helpful in this case. I'd rather play it consistent unless there is a good reason why I shouldn't... I'm hoping there is a good reason besides "That's how they did it".

  • 1
    after listening… it doesn't break 4/4. Yes, it moves the emphasis, it tries to throw you by pushing the 8's, but it's in 4/4 from the first guitar 'chunk' There's not even an anacrusis. let's call the 2nd time round the intro riff an 'interest', nothing more. [this is likely to be closed as off-topic, as the only answer can be "because they wrote it that way"]
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 19, 2016 at 20:09
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    There's the one delayed 8th - you might find some obscure reference like "well, the guitarist got it wrong but we loved it so made it part of the intro" but it's not beyond scope that it was just 'for interest'.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 19, 2016 at 20:16
  • @Tetsujin Well, if it's for interest, wouldn't it be used when the the theme is repeated at the end of the song? My main issue is that it doesn't seem like a logical thing to do and requires memorizing a trivial piece of information that seems to serve no purpose. But, since they did this to a movie and I read they watched the clips that they were composing this song for, I started to think maybe they did it to sync up with the movie, which would provide a logical reason. (Since they represent jabs and such, and wanted it to "fit"... but I haven't watched the movie in a long time to know)
    – AbstractDissonance
    Feb 19, 2016 at 20:25
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    Here Jim Peterik (one of the songwriters) says: "I started doing that now-famous dead string guitar riff and started slashing those chords to the punches we saw on the screen". So I guess they were trying to synchronize the timing of the chords to the timing of the punches.
    – cyco130
    Feb 20, 2016 at 21:15
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    @AbstractDissonance The final cut isn't. But it is quite possible that an earlier cut was, as reported by Peterik.
    – cyco130
    Feb 20, 2016 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


According to this page, Jim Peterik, one of the songwriters, said:

I [...] started slashing those chords to the punches we saw on the screen.

So, apparently, they were trying to synchronize the timing of the chords to the timing of the punches in a certain scene. Even though the final cut of the scene where the song is being played doesn't show any such synchronization, it makes sense to think that they were working on a different cut when they wrote the song.

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