The Canadian hard-rock power trio Triumph epitomized arena rock in the 1980s. Their virtuoso musicianship, soaring melodies, exceptional songs and outstanding live shows made them superstars and an enormous influence on stage and on record.
Vocalist/guitarist Rik Emmett, bass guitarist/keyboardist Mike Levine and vocalist/drummer Gil Moore met in Toronto in 1975. Their commercial breakthrough came in 1979 with their third album, Just a Game. It generated the band’s first Billboard Top 40 hit single, “Hold On.” Another notable single was “Lay It on the Line,” which was a rock radio smash. The album was certified Gold, their first to sell 500,000 copies in the U.S.
Their follow-up, 1980′s Progressions of Power, included the hit single “I Can Survive.” The album also contained the anthem “I Live for the Weekend,” which became a big hit in the U.K. and U.S.
The release of Allied Forces the following year saw Triumph explode into the mainstream. The album quickly went Gold and eventually Platinum. It was a critical and commercial smash, reaching No. 23 on the Billboard charts. Its standout songs, “Magic Power” and “Fight the Good Fight,” are still in rotation on rock radio today.
Thunder Seven, the band’s seventh album, was released in 1984. Triumph co-produced the record with legendary engineer Eddie Kramer, famed for his work with Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss and others. The album became another Gold seller, with popular singles “Follow Your Heart” and “Spellbound.” The supporting tour was a sold-out success that applied the intricate lighting and lasers of the era’s top arena headliners. The band’s decade of touring resulted in the double live album Stages, issued in 1985.
In 1988, Emmett left Triumph to pursue a solo career. The best-of album Classics was released in 1989, going Gold. Levine and Moore recruited a new vocalist and guitarist – fellow Canadian Phil Xenidis, known as Phil X. In 1993, the new line-up released Edge of Excess, which featured the songs “Troublemaker” and “Child of the City.” In 1995, the entire Triumph catalogue was remastered and reissued on CD, including In the Beginning (the first Triumph album, from 1975) and 1977’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine.
The classic Emmett-Levine-Moore line-up reunited in June 2008 to play at the Sweden Rock Festival, and then headlined the mammoth Rocklahoma Festival in July. Celebrated for their instrumental prowess, the band members excelled in other outlets as well. Levine co-produced some of the band’s early work. Emmett became a cartoonist for Hit Parader magazine. And Moore designed Triumph’s phenomenal live shows, which consistently evolved over the years and always used state-of-the-art lighting, laser and pyrotechnic effects. In fact, Triumph received the influential Performance Magazine “Innovators of the Year” award in 1981 for the unique way they changed the arena-rock landscape.
Triumph’s music reached a new generation of fans when “Lay It on the Line” was included in the Guitar Hero 5 video game in late 2009.
Form in Toronto
Release their commercial breakthrough, the Gold record Just a Game
Allied Forces reaches No. 23 on the Billboard charts.
Rik Emmett leaves the band for a solo career.
Band replaces Emmett with singer/guitarist Phil X.
The original trio reunites to headline a pair of summer festivals.