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I Will Survive

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Title: I Will Survive  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Gloria Gaynor, 1979 in music, 22nd Annual Grammy Awards, Leah McFall, Take Me Higher
Collection: 1978 Singles, 1978 Songs, 1996 Singles, Billboard Dance Club Songs Number-One Singles, Billboard Hot 100 Number-One Singles, Billie Jo Spears Songs, Cake (Band) Songs, Celia Cruz Songs, Chantay Savage Songs, Diana Ross Songs, Disco Songs, Gloria Gaynor Songs, Lgbt-Related Songs, Million-Selling Singles in the United Kingdom, Polydor Records Singles, Shirley Bassey Songs, Singles Certified Platinum by the Syndicat National De L'Édition Phonographique, Songs with Feminist Themes, Songs Written by Freddie Perren, Uk Singles Chart Number-One Singles
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I Will Survive

"I Will Survive"
Single by Gloria Gaynor
from the album Love Tracks
B-side "Substitute", "Anybody Wanna Party"
Released October 23, 1978
Format 7", 12"
Genre Disco
Length 8:01 (Album Version)
3:18 (Radio Edit)
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Producer(s) Dino Fekaris
Certification 2x Platinum (RIAA)
Gloria Gaynor singles chronology
"Let's Make a Deal"
"I Will Survive"
Music sample

"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 double 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]


  • Releases 1
  • Official versions 2
  • Charts and certifications 3
    • Chart performance 3.1
    • Year-end charts 3.2
    • Sales and certifications 3.3
  • Cover versions 4
    • Cake version 4.1
      • Track listing 4.1.1
      • Chart positions 4.1.2
    • Chantay Savage version 4.2
      • Track listing 4.2.1
      • Chart positions 4.2.2
    • Leah McFall version 4.3
      • Chart positions 4.3.1
  • References 5
  • External links 6


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.[4] New copies of the record were eventually pressed with "I Will Survive" as the A-side ("Substitute" itself peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart in October 1978, equaling to number 107 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart).

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".[5] In 2000, the song was ranked #1 in VH1's list of the 100 greatest dance songs.[4]

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'.[6]

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.

Official versions

Recorded by Gloria Gaynor

  • "I Will Survive" (1978 single version) – 3.15
  • "I Will Survive" (1978 album version) – 8.01
  • "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

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.[35]

Cover versions

The song has been covered by musicians such as Diana Ross, Shirley Bassey, Billie Jo Spears, Selena, Melanie, Chantay Savage, Antony and the Johnsons, The Puppini Sisters, Hermes House Band, and the bands Cake and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

A new disco version was released in 1981 by Creme d'Cocoa featuring lyrics re-written from the perspective of the man Gloria Gaynor referred to in her version.

Conan O'Brien has covered this song at some of his live shows, with some lyrics altered to take shots at NBC.[36]

Jemaine Clement and Kristin Chenoweth covered the song in the 2014 animated film Rio 2.[37][38]

The song is performed by the cast of the satire comedy film Meet The Spartans at the end of the movie, where they are performing for a satire cast of judges from American Idol

The song was covered by J2 and Blu Holiday for a trailer of the video game Far Cry 4.

Pet Shop Boys in their live shows typically incorporate the song into a medley with their related song "It's a Sin".

Actresses Amber Riley & Naya Rivera covered this song in a mash-up with Destiny's Child's Survivor on the show Glee.

Cuban artist, Celia Cruz recorded a Spanish salsa version of the song, called "Yo Viviré".[39]

Turkish singer Ajda Pekkan also covered this song in Turkish under the name "Bambaşka Biri".

U. K. 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. Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris are credited as co-writers of this song, along with Williams and his songwriting partner Guy Chambers. Williams said he was inspired to do this when hearing "I Will Survive" hummed by tourists in Switzerland who spoke different languages.

Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla Perez sang this as part of a disco medley at her last live concert at the Houston Astrodome shortly before she was murdered by Yolanda Saldívar.[40]

MC Sean & Randy recorded a house cover in 1990 entitled "I Will Survive (Or Maybe Not)". [41] in 1989, Hong Kong singer Sarah Wong covered this song in Cantonese.

Cake version

"I Will Survive"
Single by Cake
from the album Fashion Nugget
B-side "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle"
Format CD single
Recorded 1996
Genre Alternative rock
Length 5:10
Label Capricorn
Writer(s) Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Producer(s) Cake
Cake singles chronology
"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.

Track listing

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

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

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"
Genre R&B
Label RCA
Writer(s) Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Chantay Savage singles chronology
"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

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

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

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.[42] The song debuted at number sixteen on the UK Singles Chart on 9 June 2013, and in the following week it reached number eight.[43]

Chart positions

Chart (2013) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[44] 39
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[45] 13
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[46] 8


  1. ^ Garfield, Bob (31 January 2012). I Will Survive': the ridiculous and the sublime"'".  
  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. ^ a b "I Will Survive". Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  5. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (100-91)". Archived from the original on 2008-09-13. 
  6. ^ S. Pender
  7. ^ Danyel Smith, ed. (1979). Billboard 12 May 1979. Nielsen Business Media, Inc.  
  8. ^ " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  9. ^ " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ "I will survive in Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "I will survive in Canadian Disco Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "I will survive in Canadian Top 15 12inch Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "I will survive in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "I will survive in French Chart". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. Retrieved 15 June 2013.  You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Gloria Gaynor"
  15. ^ " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". GfK Entertainment.
  16. ^ "I will survive in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 15 June 2013.  3rd result when searching "I will survive"
  17. ^ "The best-selling singles of 1979 in Italy". HitParadeItalia (it). Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
    38. I will survive - Gloria Gaynor [#9]
  18. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – Gloria Gaynor search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  19. ^ a b " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". Top 40 Singles.
  21. ^ " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". VG-lista.
  22. ^ John Samson. "I will survive in South African Chart". Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  23. ^ " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". Singles Top 60.
  24. ^ " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive". Swiss Singles Chart.
  25. ^ a b "Gloria Gaynor". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  26. ^ a b c "Love Tracks awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "I will survive (remix) in Belgian Chart". Ultratop and Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  28. ^ " – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive '98" (in French). Les classement single.
  29. ^ "I will survive in French Chart". Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1979/Top 100 Songs of 1979". Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  31. ^ "Canadian certifications – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive".  
  32. ^ "British certifications – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive".   Enter I Will Survive in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  33. ^ Ami Sedghi (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  34. ^ "American certifications – Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive".  
  35. ^ "Super Bowl XXX Halftime Show: Diana Ross (1996) | THE DIANA ROSS PROJECT". 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  36. ^ Conan to Fans: They Kinda Tried to Kill Me
  37. ^ "‘Rio 2′ Soundtrack Details". Film Music Reporter. February 13, 2014. Retrieved July 26, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Rio 2 (Music From the Motion Picture)".  
  39. ^ Yo viviré', el homenaje a Celia Cruz en Sábado Gigante"'" (in Español). July 14, 2013. 
  40. ^ Selena Live: The Last Concert
  41. ^ " MC Sean & Randy - I Will Survive (Or Maybe Not)" on YouTube
  42. ^ "The Voice UK Favourite Leah McFall Storms iTunes Chart Despite Ratings Hitting New Low". Entertainmentwise. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  43. ^ "The Voice’s Leah McFall scores Official Chart Top 20 hit". Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  44. ^ "Chart Track: Week 25, 2013". Irish Singles Chart.
  45. ^ "Archive Chart: 2013-06-22". Scottish Singles Top 40.
  46. ^ "Archive Chart: 2013-06-22" UK Singles Chart.

External links

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
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