I Will Survive
|"I Will Survive"|
|Single by Gloria Gaynor|
|from the album Love Tracks|
|Format||7-inch, 12-inch single|
|Length||4:53 (album version)
3:15 (single version)
|Songwriter(s)||Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris|
|Gloria Gaynor singles chronology|
1993 Edition Cover
"I Will Survive" is a hit song first performed by American singer Gloria Gaynor, released in October 1978. It was written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris. A top-selling song after its initial release, it has remained a popular disco anthem, as well as being certified platinum by the RIAA.
The song's lyrics describe the narrator's discovery of personal strength following an initially devastating breakup. It received heavy airplay in 1979, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the UK Singles Chart on consecutive weeks. The song is also frequently recalled as a symbol of female strength and as a gay anthem. In 2016, the Library of Congress deemed Gaynor's original recording to be "culturally, historically, or artistically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Recording Registry.
- 1 Releases
- 2 Impact and legacy
- 3 Personnel
- 4 Official versions
- 5 Charts and certifications
- 6 Cover versions
- 7 Popular culture
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Originally released as the B-side to a cover version of the Righteous Brothers song "Substitute", "I Will Survive" became a worldwide hit for Gaynor when disc jockeys played that side of the record instead. "Substitute" appeared on the Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart for four weeks in October–November 1978, peaking at No. 107. "I Will Survive" then entered the Billboard Hot 100 in December and reached No. 1 on the chart in March 1979.
As a disco number, the song was unique for its time by virtue of Gaynor's having no background singers. And, unlike her first disco hits, the track was not pitched up to make it faster and to render Gaynor's recorded voice in a higher register than that in which she actually sang. Most disco hits at the time were heavily produced, with multiple voices, overdubs, and adjustments to pitch and speed. "I Will Survive" had a much more spare and "clean" sound.
The song received the Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording in 1980, the only year the award was given. It is ranked #492 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", and ranked at #97 on Billboard magazine's "All-Time Hot 100". In 2000, the song was ranked #1 in VH1's list of the 100 greatest dance songs.
A promotional video was filmed in 1979 at the New York discothèque called Xenon. Sheila Reid-Pender of Harlem, NY is the featured skater in the video from the skating group, The Village Wizards. Although three videos were filmed that day, the "I Will Survive" video was the only one to survive. Ms. Gaynor was not present during the taping of the rollerskating segment of the video. Ms. Gaynor and Ms. Pender met for the first time on July 7, 2014 in New York at the 92nd St. Y after Ms. Gaynor's lecture and promotional signing of her book 'We Will Survive'. In this book, Gaynor said, "I wanted everybody—including myself—to believe that we could survive".
Following the success of fellow 1970s disco stars Sister Sledge with remixed singles in the UK in 1993, "I Will Survive" was also remixed and released that summer. This remix reached number five on the UK Singles Chart.
In November 2013, Gaynor released a gospel album entitled We Will Survive, which includes a new, updated remix of "I Will Survive" by DJ Shpank in both extended and radio edit formats.
It was during the FIFA World Cup 1998 the un-official anthem of the French team, who went on to win the competition.
Impact and legacy
- Vocals: Gloria Gaynor
- Drums: James Gadson
- Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa
- Bass guitar: Scott Edwards
- Keyboards: Freddie Perren
- Guitars: Bob "Boogie" Bowles, Robert White
- Strings and horns: arranged and conducted by Dave Blumberg
- Backing vocals: Julia Tillman Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Stephanie Spruill
Recorded by Gloria Gaynor
- "I Will Survive" (1978 single version) – 3.15
- "I Will Survive" (1978 album version) – 4.54
- "I Will Survive" (1993 Phil Kelsey Classic 12" Mix) – 7.52
- "I Will Survive" (1993 Phil Kelsey Classic 7" Mix) – 3.45
- "I Will Survive" (2009 re-recording) – 3.17
- "I Will Survive" (2013 Shpank's Pink Ribbon Radio Mix) – 3.37
- "I Will Survive" (2013 Shpank's Pink Ribbon Club Mix) – 7.38
Charts and certifications
Sales and certifications
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Billie Jo Spears' version from her 1979 album, I Will Survive, peaked at #21 in the U.S. Country Chart, #9 in the Canadian Country Chart, and #47 in the UK Singles Chart. Hermes House Band covered the song in 1994. Diana Ross' version from her 1995 album, Take Me Higher, peaked at #14 on the UK and European charts. In the United States, it peaked at #37 on the Billboard Dance Music Charts. Ross also performed it during her celebrated Super Bowl XXX halftime show in 1996. However, the song has also been covered by many other musicians. Conan O'Brien has covered this song at some of his live shows, with lyrics altered to take shots at NBC. Filipino rock group Parokya Ni Edgar released a parody entitled "Picha Pie" in their 1999 album Gulong Itlog Gulong. British recording artist Robbie Williams incorporated the string-laden instrumental bridge in a section of his 2000 song "Supreme," which became a major hit in several European markets. Cuban Salsa performer Celia Cruz covered the song in Spanish under the title "Yo Viviré" in her 2000 album "Siempre Viviré." British group Erasure also incorporated the string bridge in a section of their 1991 song "Love to Hate You". The Puppini Sisters covered the song in their 2007 debut album Betcha Bottom Dollar. A cover of the song by Filipina singer Jona was used as the opening theme for ABS-CBN's drama series We Will Survive, along with instrumental versions of the cover serving as incidental music. The Pussycat Dolls do a little feature of some of the lyrics in their hit single Hush Hush; Hush Hush. The song was featured on hit tv show Glee as part of a mash-up with Destiny's Child's hit single Survivor during season 3 episode Hold on to Sixteen, the song is performed by Amber Riley, Naya Rivera and Vanessa Lengies. Demi Lovato covered the song for the soundtrack of The Angry Birds Movie in 2016.
|"I Will Survive"|
|Single by Cake|
|from the album Fashion Nugget|
|B-side||"Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle"|
|Songwriter(s)||Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris|
|Cake singles chronology|
Cake covered the song rock-style in 1996, on their album Fashion Nugget. In addition to many subtle changes, lead singer John McCrea altered the lyrics (leading Gaynor to describe the cover as her least favorite version of the song, due to the presence of "profanity"). The music video of Cake's version features McCrea as a city parking enforcement officer driving around in a Cushman three-wheeled scooter as he leaves tickets on various cars.
Wu-Tang Clan members Method Man and U-God have both interpolated the song on separate solo albums. Method Man on "Release Yo' Delf" from "Tical" and U-God on "Enter U-God" from "Golden Arms Redemption"
- CD single
- "I Will Survive" (Radio Edit) – 4:14
- "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle" – 4:12
- Promo CD single
- "I Will Survive" (Radio Edit) – 3:52
- "I Will Survive" (Long Radio Edit) – 5:11
|U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||28|
Hermes House Band version
Hermes House Band from The Netherlands, covered the song la la la-style in 1994, and scored several number 1 hits in The Netherlands, Belgium and France with this version. They sold more than 2.5 million copies of I Will Survive-la-la-la worldwide.
Chantay Savage version
|"I Will Survive"|
|Single by Chantay Savage|
|from the album I Will Survive (Doin' It My Way)|
|Released||January 23, 1996|
|Format||CD single, 12"|
|Songwriter(s)||Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris|
|Chantay Savage singles chronology|
- 12" single
- "I Will Survive" (Puff Daddy "Bad Boy Mix")
- "I Will Survive" (Silk's Old Skool Extended Mix with Clean Rap)
- "I Will Survive" (Original LP version – edit)
- "I Will Survive" (Silk's Classic House Mix)
- "I Will Survive" (Rhythm Radio version)
|UK Singles Chart||12|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||24|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||35|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales||10|
|U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs||5|
Leah McFall version
The Voice UK contestant, Leah McFall, performed the song on the first live show in the style of Chantay Savage. Following the programme, the studio recording of the performance was released and reached number three on UK iTunes. The song debuted at number sixteen on the UK Singles Chart on 9 June 2013, and in the following week it reached number eight.
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||13|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||8|
The same year, the song became an anthem and gained more popularity in France when the France national football team won the 1998 World Cup.
In 1999, Gaynor performs the song at the school Prom on That 70's Show episode 19 "Prom Night" to cheer up a disheartened, lovelorn, Fez, who disco dances and bumps with her as the song is performed.
In the second episode of Season 2 of the television drama Medium which aired on September 26, 2005, the song plays repeatedly in Alison's head, leading her to the MP3 player of a missing student.
It is featured in the 2012 movie Zero Dark Thirty, bringing out the sensation of the female CIA agents who worked in the dangerous environments.
The song is one of the selections available to riders on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket Roller coaster in Universal Studios Florida
It is featured during the ending credits of the 2015 movie The Martian in which the protagonist left behind on Mars must find a way to survive.
"I Will Survive" had a particularly large influence within the LGBT community at the time of its release. This was mostly attributed to the lack of acceptance of LGBT individuals at the time. Because of this, the song is often referred to as the Queer Anthem. The LGBT community is said to have identified with "I Will Survive" because the "textual message of defiant and enduring presence was already well tailored to queer identification needs, but this message and the song's titular statement took on even deeper meaning with the dawn of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s".
- Garfield, Bob (31 January 2012). "'I Will Survive': the ridiculous and the sublime". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
- Elizabeth Kaminski and Verta Taylor. "We're Not Just Lip-synching Here: Music and Collective Identity in Drag Performances". Identity Work in Social Movements, p. 58. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Nadine Hubbs. "‘I Will Survive’: musical mappings of queer social space in a disco anthem". Popular Music, 26 , pp. 231–244. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "‘I Will Survive’: Radio 4 celebrates the enduring success of Gloria Gaynor's classic song". BBC. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
- "I Will Survive". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- Whitburn, Joel (1998). Bubbling Under Singles & Albums. Menonomee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 84. ISBN 0-89820-128-4.
- "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (100-91)". Archived from the original on 2008-09-13.
- S. Pender
- "Rock On The Net: VH1: 100 Greatest Dance Songs". www.rockonthenet.com.
- "Readers' Poll: The Best Disco Songs of All Time". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
- "The 100 greatest songs of all time". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
- Danyel Smith, ed. (1979). Billboard 12 May 1979. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
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38. I will survive - Gloria Gaynor [#9]
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- "Super Bowl XXX Halftime Show: Diana Ross (1996) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT". Dianarossproject.wordpress.com. 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
- "Conan to Fans: 'They Kinda Tried to Kill Me'". TMZ.
- "'UKG' hosts dance as Jona sings 'I Will Survive'". ABS-CBN News. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
- Anarcon, James Patrick. "Ex-Kapuso Jonalyn Viray sings OST of ABS-CBN's new show". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
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- "The Voice UK Favourite Leah McFall Storms iTunes Chart Despite Ratings Hitting New Low". Entertainmentwise. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2014-03-28.
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Fly Away (all cuts) by Voyage
|Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
(with "Substitute", "Anybody Wanna Party?" and "I Said Yes")
January 27, 1979 – February 10, 1979
"Keep on Dancin'" / "Do It at the Disco" / "Let's Lovedance Tonight" by Gary's Gang
"Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
First run: March 10, 1979 – March 17, 1979
Second run: April 7, 1979
"Tragedy" by Bee Gees
"Tragedy" by Bee Gees
|UK number-one single
17 March 1979 – 7 April 1979
"Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel