On January 20, 1979 Gloria Gaynor’s recording of I Will Survive was released and started its way up the music charts.
“I Will Survive” became one of the quintessential anthems for the Gay Pride that year and has held strong as a favorite of gay men everywhere.
But did you also know………
1. The song was released as a B-side
Gaynor originally released “I Will Survive” as the B-side to her cover of the Righteous Brothers’ “Substitute” in 1978. It wasn’t until radio DJs around the country took notice of “I Will Survive” and began giving the song airplay that the song quickly rocketed to the top of the charts and became a dance club staple.
2. Gaynor won the only Disco Grammy
Gloria Gaynor won the Grammy award for Best Disco Recording in 1980 for “I Will Survive.” This was the first and only time the Grammys offered this category at the awards and soon eliminated it after the fall of disco.
3. It doesn’t feature any background singers
Unlike many disco hits recorded at the time, “I Will Survive” is recorded without any background singers adding to the sound. Gaynor also recorded the song at a higher vocal register than she normally sings and the track wasn’t overproduced like her earlier hits.
4. The song has charted in every decade
Dozens of artists have covered Gaynor’s hit anthem, helping it achieve a timeless status on the charts. Since its release in the ’70s, “I Will Survive” has re-surfaced on the Hot 100 chart every decade in a variety of forms. In the ’80s, R&B singer Safire released her version that peaked at #53 in 1989. Singer Chantay Savage’s jazzy ballad peaked at #23 on the Hot 100 in 1996. In 2009, pop group the Pussycat Dolls sampled “I Will Survive” in their hit “Hush Hush; Hush Hush” that peaked at #73 and the hit show Glee helped bring the song back in 2011 with its Destiny’s Child mashup with “Survivor” that peaked at #51 on the chart.
5. “I Will Survive” has become a source of empowerment
The song has played an important part in many people’s lives as a source of inspiration and empowerment to overcome any obstacle in life. It not only serves as a break-up anthem for women that rouses up strength and power to move on from a relationship, but as the quintessential empowerment song in the gay community to those who leave them behind, and even to Gaynor herself.
Just before recording “I Will Survive,” Gaynor spent six months in the hospital from a back injury and the song served as her own source of motivation to survive and overcome the injury. Since its release, “I Will Survive” has been translated in 20 different languages all over the world, and remains one of the most popular karaoke songs to this day.
Now that you know a little more behind the tune, watch and sing along with Gloria Gaynor’s timeless PRIDE anthem below.