I Will Survive

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"I Will Survive"
Substitute I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor US 12-inch vinyl.jpg
Sleeve for one of US 12-inch vinyl pressings of "Substitute / I Will Survive", later reprinted as "I Will Survive / Substitute"
Single by Gloria Gaynor
from the album Love Tracks
B-side"Substitute"
ReleasedOctober 1978 (1978-10)
Format7-inch, 12-inch single
Recorded1978
StudioMom & Pop’s Company Store
(Los Angeles, California)
GenreDisco
Length4:56 (album version)
3:15 (single version)
8:01 (12" version)
LabelPolydor
Songwriter(s)Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Producer(s)Dino Fekaris
Gloria Gaynor singles chronology
"Let's Make a Deal"
(1976)
"I Will Survive"
(1978)
"Anybody Wanna Party"
(1979)
Audio sample
1993 Cover
1993 Edition Cover The file above's purpose is being discussed and/or is being considered for deletion. See files for discussion to help reach a consensus on what to do.
1993 Edition Cover

The file above's purpose is being discussed and/or is being considered for deletion. See files for discussion to help reach a consensus on what to do.

"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 sold 14 million copies worldwide and has remained a popular disco anthem, as well as being certified platinum by the RIAA.[1]

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.[2][3][4] 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.

Releases[edit]

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.[5] "Substitute" appeared on the Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart for four weeks in October–November 1978, peaking at No. 107.[6] "I Will Survive" then entered the Billboard Hot 100 in December that year and reached No. 1 on the chart in March 1979.

Gloria Gaynor performed the song "I Will Survive", which becomes one of her signature songs.[7][8]

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.[citation needed]

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".[9] In 2000, the song was ranked #1 in VH1's list of the 100 greatest dance songs.[5]

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'.[10] In this book, Gaynor said, "I wanted everybody—including myself—to believe that we could survive".[10]

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.

Impact and legacy[edit]

VH1 placed "I Will Survive" at #1 in their list of 100 Greatest Dance Songs in 2000.[11]

In 2012, "I Will Survive" was ranked at #2 in Rolling Stone poll of The Best Disco Songs of All Time.[12]

The Daily Telegraph ranked "I Will Survive" #48 in their The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time list in November 2016.[13]

In 2017 the song was ranked number 7 in Paste Magazine's The 60 Best Dancefloor Classics list.[14]

Personnel[edit]

Official versions[edit]

Recorded by Gloria Gaynor

  • "I Will Survive" (1978 single version) – 3.15
  • "I Will Survive" (1978 album version) – 4.56
  • "I Will Survive" (1978 12" Mix) – 8.02
  • "Yo Viviré (I Will Survive Spanish 12" Mix) – 7.55
  • "I Will Survive" (2009 re-recording) – 5.35
  • "I Will Survive" (2009 re-recording Spanish version) - 5.37

Charts and certifications[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

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, which resulted in a no.1 hit position in The Netherlands and No.2 in Belgium. In 1997 and 1998 their version reached the top ten position in France. In 2018 the band reached No.1 in France hitlist after the win from FIFA World Cup French Team.[56]

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.[citation needed][57]

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.[58]

Brazilian countertenor, pop and jazz singer Edson Cordeiro covered in his 1998 album Disco Clubbing ao Vivo.

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.

British group Erasure also incorporated the string bridge in a section of their 1991 song Love to Hate You.

Cuban Salsa performer Celia Cruz covered the song in Spanish under the title Yo Viviré in her 2000 album Siempre Viviré.

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.[59][60]

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.[citation needed]

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.

Cake version[edit]

"I Will Survive"
I will survive CAKE.jpg
Single by Cake
from the album Fashion Nugget
B-side"Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle"
Released1996
FormatCD single
Recorded1996
GenreAlternative rock
Length5:10
LabelCapricorn
Songwriter(s)Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Producer(s)Cake
Cake singles chronology
"Ruby Sees All"
(1995)
"I Will Survive"
(1996)
"The Distance"
(1997)
Music video
"I Will Survive" on YouTube

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").[61] 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.

Track listing[edit]

CD single
  1. "I Will Survive" (Radio Edit) – 4:14
  2. "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle" – 4:12
Promo CD single
  1. "I Will Survive" (Radio Edit) – 3:52
  2. "I Will Survive" (Long Radio Edit) – 5:11

Chantay Savage version[edit]

"I Will Survive"
I Will Survive Chantay Survive.jpg
Single by Chantay Savage
from the album I Will Survive (Doin' It My Way)
ReleasedJanuary 23, 1996
FormatCD single, 12"
GenreR&B
LabelRCA
Songwriter(s)Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Chantay Savage singles chronology
"Give It to Ya"
(1994)
"I Will Survive"
(1996)
"Baby: Drive Me Crazy"
(1996)
Music video
"I Will Survive" on YouTube

R&B singer Chantay Savage covered the song in 1996 as a ballad. Her version peaked at #24 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and was certified Gold by the RIAA.

Track listing[edit]

12" single

Side A

  1. "I Will Survive" (Puff Daddy "Bad Boy Mix")
  2. "I Will Survive" (Silk's Old Skool Extended Mix with Clean Rap)
  3. "I Will Survive" (Original LP version – edit)

Side B

  1. "I Will Survive" (Silk's Classic House Mix)
  2. "I Will Survive" (Rhythm Radio version)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
position
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

Diana Ross version[edit]

"I Will Survive"
Diana Ross-I Will Survive.jpg
Single by Diana Ross
from the album Take Me Higher
Released1996
FormatCD single
Recorded1996
GenreDisco
Songwriter(s)
Music video
"I Will Survive" on YouTube

Diana Ross' version from her 1995 album, Take Me Higher, peaked at #14 on the UK and at #3 in Iceland. 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.[citation needed][62]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[63] 57
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)[64] 3
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[65] 16
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 14
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 37

Hermes House Band version[edit]

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.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
France (SNEP) 1[66]

Leah McFall version[edit]

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.[67] The song debuted at number sixteen on the UK Singles Chart on 9 June 2013, and in the following week it reached number eight.[68]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
Ireland (IRMA)[69] 39
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[70] 13
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[71] 8

Popular culture[edit]

In 1998, Victor Navone used the opening sequence of this song as the soundtrack of an animated video "Alien Song," which was virally distributed, primarily by e-mail. Navone went on to work for Pixar.

Also in 1998, the song became an anthem and gained more popularity in France when the France national football team won the 1998 FIFA World Cup.[72]

In 1999, Gaynor performed the song at the school prom on That '70s Show episode 19 "Prom Night" to cheer up a disheartened, lovelorn Fez, who disco-dances and bumps with her as the song is performed.[73]

In 1992, Khadijiah performed the song at a nightclub during an episode of Living Single.

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.

The song was ranked number 23 out of the top 76 songs of the 1970s by internet radio station WDDF Radio in its 2016 countdown.[74]

It is featured in the 1994 Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as a lip sync song performed by drag queens Mitzi Del Bra, Bernadette Bassinger, and Felicia Jollygoodfellow at an Australian Aboriginal corroboree. The song proves to be a symbol of the vitality and resistance in the face of discrimination exhibited by the two groups: the LGBTQ+ community and the Aboriginal Australian community.

It was featured in the closing for the 2000 movie The Replacements.

It was the main theme for the 2005 Jesus Christ: The Musical parody music video.

It appears in the 2006 video game Happy Feet.

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.

It appears in the video game Just Dance 2014, by Ubisoft

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.

In the French film One Man and His Cow (La Vache, 2016), the protagonist sings a Raï-style version of the song at a village festival.[75]

It was used in the lip sync between Dax ExclamationPoint and Laila McQueen in episode 2, Season 8 of RuPaul's Drag Race. The lip sync has become famous due to its double elimination following a lacklustre performance from both queens.

A lyric from the song, "At first I was afraid, I was petrified," is a name of an Achievement on the 2016 video game Gears of War 4.

It appears in a 2017 TV commercial for Capital One, which features Gaynor and Charles Barkley.

It appears in a 2017 TV ad for the PS4 game Let It Die[76]

"I Will Survive" has been covered in several animated films. In Rio 2, it was sung by Nigel the cockatoo, played by Jemaine Clement. The 2008 Danish-German film Disco Ormene (known in English as Sunshine Barry & the Disco Worms) features the song performed by Gloria the earthworm (Trine Dyrholm). In 2007's Noah's Ark, an Argentine-Italian animated comedy adventure film, a version of the song is performed by a panther named Panthy.

The song is used in a 2018 anti-smoking public service announcement by the New York State Department of Health.

LGBT community[edit]

"I Will Survive" had a particularly large influence within the LGBT community. This is mostly attributed to the lack of acceptance of LGBT individuals, especially at the time of the song's release. The song is often referred to as a gay anthem because of this. People in the LGBT community have said they 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".[77]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]