I Will Survive
|"I Will Survive"|
Sleeve for one of the 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|
|Released||October 23, 1978|
|Format||7-inch, 12-inch single|
|Studio||Mom & Pop’s Company Store|
(Los Angeles, California)
|Length||4:56 (album version)|
3:15 (single version)
8:01 (12" version)
|Songwriter(s)||Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris|
|Gloria Gaynor singles chronology|
"I Will Survive"
Artwork for German and French vinyl releases
"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 (within first two years of release alone, not counting the numerous re-recordings and 200+ cover versions released in 20+ different languages world-wide) and 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 empowerment. 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 (kick-started by legendary Studio 54 DJ Richie Kaczor). "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 that year and reached No. 1 on the chart in March 1979.
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 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.
Impact and legacy
"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. Because of this the song is often referred to as a gay anthem. 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".
- Vocals: Gloria Gaynor
- Drums: James Gadson
- Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa
- Bass guitar: Scott Edwards
- Keyboards: Freddie Perren
- Guitars: Bob "Boogie" Bowles, Melvin "Wah Wah Watson" Ragin 
- Strings and horns: arranged and conducted by Dave Blumberg
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
Sales and certifications
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||150,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||1,020,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||2,000,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|"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. This version was a top 30 hit for the band in March 1997 on the US Modern Rock Tracks, peaking at #28.
- 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
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|
Diana Ross version
|"I Will Survive"|
|Single by Diana Ross|
|from the album Take Me Higher|
|Producer(s)||Narada Michael Walden|
|Diana Ross singles chronology|
In 1996, American singer Diana Ross released a cover of "I Will Survive". It was released on her 1995 album, Take Me Higher. The song is produced by Narada Michael Walden and peaked at number 14 in the United Kingdom. It also reached number 3 in Iceland and number 16 in Scotland. In the United States, it peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Dance Music Charts. Ross also performed it during her celebrated Super Bowl XXX halftime show in 1996.
- CD single, United Kingdom (1996)
- "I Will Survive" - 4:48
- "I Will Survive" (Roger Sanchez Atmospheric Mix) - 4:31
- "I Will Survive" (Motiv 8 Radio Mix) - 3:58
4 "Voice Of The Heart" - 4:55
- CD maxi, Europe (1996)
- "I Will Survive" (Album Version) - 4:46
- "I Will Survive" (Roger Sanchez Radio Edit) - 4:02
- "I Will Survive" (Motiv 8 Radio Edit) - 3:56
- "I Will Survive" (Sure Is Pure Vocal) - 8:58
|Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)||57|
|Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)||3|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||16|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||14|
|US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||37|
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. In 2018 the band reached No.1 in French hitlist after the win from FIFA World Cup French Team.
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|
Other cover versions
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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. Her version earned her a Grammy Award nomination for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.
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[which?] European markets.
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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.
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 jail scene and closing for the 2000 movie The Replacements.
It is featured on the video game Just Dance 2014, released in 2013.
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" 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.
"I Will Survive" has been featured as welcome back return song for broadcasting legend Tony Blackburn to BBC Radio on New Year's Eve 2016 after his temporary departure.
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