I Will Survive

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"I Will Survive"
I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor.jpg
Single by Gloria Gaynor
from the album Love Tracks
B-side "Substitute"
Released October 1978 (1978-10)
Format 7-inch, 12-inch single
Recorded 1978
Genre Disco
Length 4:53 (album version)
3:15 (single version)
Label Polydor
Songwriter(s) Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Producer(s) Dino Fekaris
Gloria Gaynor singles chronology
"Let's Make a Deal"
"I Will Survive"
"Anybody Wanna Party"
"Let's Make a Deal"
"I Will Survive"
"Anybody Wanna Party"
Audio sample
1993 Cover
1993 Edition Cover
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.[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.


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 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.[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".[7] 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'.[8] In this book, Gaynor said, "I wanted everybody—including myself—to believe that we could survive".[8]

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[edit]

VH1 placed "I Will Survive" at #1 in their list of 100 Greatest Dance Songs in 2000[9]

In 2012 "I Will Survive" was ranked at #2 in Rolling Stone poll of The Best Disco Songs of All Time.[10]

The Daily Telegraph ranked "I Will Survive" #48 in their The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time list in November 2016.[11]


Official versions[edit]

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[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. 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][42] 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.[43] 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.[44][45] 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]

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"
Released 1996
Format CD single
Recorded 1996
Genre Alternative rock
Length 5:10
Label Capricorn
Songwriter(s) Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Producer(s) Cake
Cake singles chronology
"Ruby Sees All"
"I Will Survive"
"The Distance"
"Ruby Sees All"
"I Will Survive"
"The Distance"

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").[46] 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"

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

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1996) Peak
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 28

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.

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)
Released January 23, 1996
Format CD single, 12"
Genre R&B
Label RCA
Songwriter(s) Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Chantay Savage singles chronology
"Give It to Ya"
"I Will Survive"
"Baby: Drive Me Crazy"
"Give It to Ya"
"I Will Survive"
"Baby: Drive Me Crazy"
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
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[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.[47] The song debuted at number sixteen on the UK Singles Chart on 9 June 2013, and in the following week it reached number eight.[48]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[49] 39
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[50] 13
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[51] 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.

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.[52]

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.[53]

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 their 2016 countdown.[54]

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.[55]

In the 2016 movie The Angry Birds Movie, a cover version was sung by Demi Lovato.

It was used in the lip sync between Dax ExclamationPoint and Laila McQueen in episode 2, Season 8 of RuPaul's Drag Race.

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

It appears in a 2017 TV spot for the PS4 game Let It Die[56]

LGBT community[edit]

"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".[57]


  1. ^ Garfield, Bob (31 January 2012). "'I Will Survive': the ridiculous and the sublime". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "‘I Will Survive’: Radio 4 celebrates the enduring success of Gloria Gaynor's classic song". BBC. Retrieved 2016-03-19. 
  5. ^ a b "I Will Survive". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1998). Bubbling Under Singles & Albums. Menonomee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 84. ISBN 0-89820-128-4. 
  7. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (100-91)". Archived from the original on 2008-09-13. 
  8. ^ a b S. Pender
  9. ^ "Rock On The Net: VH1: 100 Greatest Dance Songs". www.rockonthenet.com. 
  10. ^ "Readers' Poll: The Best Disco Songs of All Time". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
  11. ^ "The 100 greatest songs of all time". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-03-07. 
  12. ^ Danyel Smith, ed. (1979). Billboard 12 May 1979. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  14. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "I will survive in Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "I will survive in Canadian Disco Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "I will survive in Canadian Top 15 12inch Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "I will survive in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "I will survive in French Chart". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.  You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Gloria Gaynor"
  20. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  21. ^ "I will survive in Irish Chart". IRMA. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2013.  3rd result when searching "I will survive"
  22. ^ "The best-selling singles of 1979 in Italy". HitParadeItalia (it). Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
    38. I will survive - Gloria Gaynor [#9]
  23. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – Gloria Gaynor search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  24. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". VG-lista.
  27. ^ John Samson. "I will survive in South African Chart". Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". Singles Top 100.
  29. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". Swiss Singles Chart.
  30. ^ a b "Gloria Gaynor". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  31. ^ a b c "Love Tracks awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  32. ^ "I will survive (remix) in Belgian Chart". Ultratop and Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  33. ^ "Lescharts.com – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive '98" (in French). Les classement single.
  34. ^ "I will survive in French Chart". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  35. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 21 February 2017. 
  36. ^ "Chart Archive – 1970s Singles". everyHit.com. Retrieved October 10, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1979/Top 100 Songs of 1979". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  38. ^ "Canadian certifications – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". Music Canada. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  39. ^ "British certifications – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 March 2012.  Enter I Will Survive in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  40. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  41. ^ "American certifications – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  42. ^ "Super Bowl XXX Halftime Show: Diana Ross (1996) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT". Dianarossproject.wordpress.com. 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  43. ^ "Conan to Fans: 'They Kinda Tried to Kill Me'". TMZ. 
  44. ^ "'UKG' hosts dance as Jona sings 'I Will Survive'". ABS-CBN News. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  45. ^ Anarcon, James Patrick. "Ex-Kapuso Jonalyn Viray sings OST of ABS-CBN's new show". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  46. ^ 'I Will Survive' is disco queen's mantra for hope, by Kevin C. Johnson, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via archive.org); published February 14, 2008; retrieved April 11, 2016
  47. ^ "The Voice UK Favourite Leah McFall Storms iTunes Chart Despite Ratings Hitting New Low". Entertainmentwise. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  48. ^ "The Voice's Leah McFall scores Official Chart Top 20 hit". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  49. ^ "Chart Track: Week 25, 2013". Irish Singles Chart.
  50. ^ "Archive Chart: 2013-06-22". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  51. ^ "Archive Chart: 2013-06-22" UK Singles Chart.
  52. ^ (in French) "I Will Survive, hymne de l'équipe de France à la Coupe du Monde 1998". Gentside Sport. Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  53. ^ "That 70's Show: Prom Night: Plot Summary". 
  54. ^ "WDDF Radio". 
  55. ^ "La Vache (One Man and His Cow) – Mohamed Hamidi". French Cinema Review. Judith Prescott. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
  56. ^ "LET IT DIE – TV Spot - PS4". YouTube. 
  57. ^ Hubbs, Nadine (2007-05-01). "‘I Will Survive’: musical mappings of queer social space in a disco anthem". Popular Music. 26 (02): 231–244. ISSN 1474-0095. doi:10.1017/S0261143007001250. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
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
Succeeded by
"Keep on Dancin'" / "Do It at the Disco" / "Let's Lovedance Tonight" by Gary's Gang
Preceded by
"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
Succeeded by
"Tragedy" by Bee Gees
Preceded by
"Tragedy" by Bee Gees
UK number-one single
17 March 1979 – 7 April 1979
Succeeded by
"Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel