About

This song was given a lucky break when a Studio 54 DJ flipped to the B-side of “Substitute”, a Righteous Brothers cover. During a time when most disco hits were heavily produced, this track stood out for it’s clean and minimalistic approach.

A couple years before this song came out, Gaynor had been propelled into the blossoming disco genre thanks to the success of her 1975 album The “Substitute” record was meant to be capitalize on that success. Popular disco songs of that era relied on their production—pitched up vocals, background singers, and a sped-up tempo. This song was minimalist by comparison and that unique quality helped the song succeed.

The song was written and produced by Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren. Perren had traded in his Motown credentials for disco (he was a successful songwriter that worked along Motown legend Berry Gordy.). By the late seventies Perren and Fekaris (who’d also racked up some notable Motown credits ) teamed up to create this song. There is a rumor that Fekaris wrote this song after being fired from Motown Records. He saw one of his songs on TV, and felt reinvigorated.

Gaynor herself had a reason to sing a song about survival. She suffered a major fall on stage which left her with a broken back and spent six months in the hospital recovering. She was recording this song in a back brace. Gaynor said it changed her perspective and gave her a new reason to sing an anthem like this:

I began to have a spiritual awakening and decided that I wanted to have more purpose to my singing than people just having a good time… That’s why I chose ‘I Will Survive’ and I wanted to continue as often as possible to give them songs that would have positive impact on their lives.

This became the definitive song of Gaynor’s career, and she named her autobiography after it. It’s been covered over 200 times (and in different languages). The song was inducted into the Library of Congress for its enduring cultural significance—an honor only awarded to 25 songs in history. It was the first and only disco song to win a Grammy. When people ask Gloria if she’s bothered that her name is forever tied to this song, she responded to Billboard by saying:

From the beginning I recognized it was a timeless lyric that everyone could relate to, so I don’t get tired of singing it. I’m always freshening it up; changing the beat, the lyrics, modernizing the arrangement – I’ve even stuck a hip-hop section in the middle of it. I become 295% grade A ham when I do this song because people still love it.

if you can’t feel this song you just can’t feel anything…

Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive Lyrics

At first I was afraid, I was petrifiedKept thinking I could never liveWithout you by my sideBut then I spent so many nightsThinking how you did me wrongAnd I grew strongAnd I learned how to get along And so you’re back from outer spaceI just walked in to find you hereWith that sad look upon your faceI should have changed that stupid lockI should have made you leave your keyIf I had known for just one secondYou’d be back to bother me Go on now go, walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I, I will surviveOh, as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveAnd I’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll survive, I will survive, hey hey It took all the strength I had not to fall apartKept trying hard to mendThe pieces of my broken heartAnd I spent oh so many nightsJust feeling sorry for myselfI used to cryBut now I hold my head up high And you see me, somebody newI’m not that chained up little personStill in love with youAnd so you felt like dropping inAnd just expect me to be freeBut now I’m saving all my lovingFor someone who’s loving me Go on now go, walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I, I will surviveOh, as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveAnd I’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll survive, I will survive, oh Go on now go, walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I, I will surviveOh, as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveAnd I’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll survive, I will surviveI will survive At first I was afraid, I was petrifiedKept thinking I could never liveWithout you by my sideBut then I spent so many nightsThinking how you did me wrongAnd I grew strongAnd I learned how to get along And so you’re back from outer spaceI just walked in to find you hereWith that sad look upon your faceI should have changed that stupid lockI should have made you leave your keyIf I had known for just one secondYou’d be back to bother me Go on now go, walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I, I will surviveOh, as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveAnd I’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll survive, I will surviveI will survive It took all the strength I had not to fall apartKept trying hard to mendThe pieces of my broken heartAnd I spent oh so many nightsJust feeling sorry for myselfI used to cryBut now I hold my head up high And you see me, somebody newI’m not that chained up little personStill in love with youAnd so you felt like dropping inAnd just expect me to be freeNow I’m saving all my lovingFor someone who’s loving me Go on now go, walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I, I will surviveOh, as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveAnd I’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll survive, I will surviveI will survive Go on now go, walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die? Oh no, not I, I will surviveOh, as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveAnd I’ve got so much love to giveAnd I’ll survive, I will surviveI will survive Go on now go, walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye?Did I crumble?Yes, did I lay down and die? Oh no, not I, I will surviveOh, as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveAnd I’ve got so much love to giveAnd I’ll survive, yes I’ll surviveYeah, I’ll survive

Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive Lyrics

Gloria Gaynor – I Will Survive (1978) Lyrics

At first I was afraidI was petrifiedKept thinking I could never liveWithout you by my sideBut then I spent so many nightsThinking how you did me wrongI grew strongI learned how to get along And so you’re backFrom outer spaceI just walked in to find you hereWith that sad look upon your faceI should have changed that stupid lockI should have made you leave your keyIf I had known for just one secondYou’d be back to bother me Go on now go walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbyeYou think I’d crumbleYou think I’d lay down and die Oh no, not II will surviveAs long as I know how to loveI know I will stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveI’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll surviveI will survive (hey hey) It took all the strength I hadNot to fall apartKept trying hard to mendThe pieces of my broken heart And I spent oh so many nightsJust feeling sorry for myselfI used to cryNow I hold my head up highAnd you see me Somebody newI’m not that chained up little girlWho fell in love with youAnd so you felt like dropping inAnd just expect me to be freeNow I’m saving all my lovingFor someone who’s loving meGo on now go walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymore Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbyeYou think I’d crumbleYou think I’d lay down and dieOh no, not II will surviveAs long as I know how to loveI know I will stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveI’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll surviveI will survive (oh) Go on now go walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbyeYou think I’d crumbleYou think I’d lay down and dieOh no, not II will surviveAs long as I know how to loveI know I will stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveI’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll surviveI will surviveI will survive…! At first I was afraidI was petrifiedKept thinking I could never liveWithout you by my sideBut then I spent so many nightsThinking how you did me wrongI grew strongI learned how to get along And so you’re backFrom outer spaceI just walked in to find you hereWith that sad look upon your faceI should have changed that stupid lockI should have made you leave your keyIf I had known for just one secondYou’d be back to bother me Go on now go walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymoreWeren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbyeYou think I’d crumbleYou think I’d lay down and die Oh no, not II will surviveAs long as I know how to loveI know I will stay aliveI’ve got all my life to liveI’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll surviveI will survive (hey hey) It took all the strength I hadNot to fall apartKept trying hard to mendThe pieces of my broken heart And I spent oh so many nightsJust feeling sorry for myselfI used to cryNow I hold my head up highAnd you see me Somebody newI’m not that chained up little girlWho fell in love with youAnd so you felt like dropping inAnd just expect me to be freeNow I’m saving all my lovingFor someone who’s loving meGo on now go walk out the doorJust turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymore

Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive (1978) Lyrics

How People Interpreted ‚I Will Survive‘

„I Will Survive“ became an anthem for many groups ()

Almost immediately the song became empowering to women and the LGBT community. People trying to come back from a tough break-up also found themselves singing their own comeback song, “I Will Survive” indeed! Amazingly, this declaration of perseverance was actually the B-side when it was initially released.

Perren and Fekaris, already had written “I Will Survive” but they didn’t have a diva to belt out the tune. Eventually, Gloria Gaynor came along looking for production work on her song, “Substitute.” The writing duo took the gig, with an agreement that “I Will Survive” would be the B-Side. 

How People Interpreted 'I Will Survive'

A Massive Hit

Even today Gaynor play „I Will Survive“ with stars like Kacey Musgrave (musicfeeds)

Everyone working on “I Will Survive” knew that it was a superior song to “Substitute” but the president of Gaynor’s record company insisted that “Substitute” take top billing. “Substitute” peaked at #107 in ‘78 but radio DJs all over the country were giving “I Will Survive” plenty of run. Eventually, the record company flipped the sides and Gaynor’s shout to survival hit number 1 in March of ‘79.

A Massive Hit

The First And Last Disco Grammy

Gloria Gaynor knew the power of the song from the first moment she sang it. „I love the empowering effect, I love the encouraging effect. It’s a timeless lyric that addresses a timeless concern.“ That everlasting message helped “I Will Survive” beat out „Don’t Stop ‚Til You Get Enough,“ „Bad Girls,“ „Boogie Wonderland“ and „Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?“ for the only Disco Grammy ever given. (By the time the award was created, Disco was already on its way out.)

Unlike many singers who come to detest their signature song, Gaynor’s love for the hit never diminishes, “From the beginning, I recognized it was a timeless lyric that everyone could relate to, so I don’t get tired of singing it. I’m always freshening it up; changing the beat, the lyrics, modernizing the arrangement – I’ve even stuck a hip-hop section in the middle of it. I become 295% grade A ham when I do this song because people still love it.“

Gloria Gaynor

At first, I was afraid, I was petrifiedKept thinkin‘ I could never liveWithout you by my sideBut then I spent so many nightsThinkin‘ how you did me wrongAnd I grew strongAnd I learned how to get along

And so you’re back from outer spaceI just walked in to find you hereWith that sad look upon your faceI should’ve changed that stupid lockI should’ve made you leave your keyIf I had known, for just one secondYou’d be back to bother me

Well, now go! Walk out the door!Just turn around now’Cause you’re not welcome anymore!Weren’t you the oneWho tried to hurt me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no, not I! I will survive!Oh, as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay alive!I’ve got all my life to liveI’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll survive! I will survive!Hey, hey!

It took all the strength I hadNot to fall apartAnd trying hard to mend the piecesOf my broken heart

And I spent, oh, so many nightsJust feeling sorry for myselfI used to cryBut now I hold my head up high!

And you’ll see me, somebody newI’m not that chained up little personStill in love with you

And so you felt like droppin‘ inAnd just expect me to be freeBut now I’m savin‘ all my lovin’For someone who’s lovin‘ me!

Go on now! Go! Walk out the door!Just turn around now!’Cause you’re not welcome anymore!Weren’t you the oneWho tried to break me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no, not I! I will survive!And as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay alive!I’ve got all my life to liveI’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll survive! I will survive!Oh

Go on now! Go! Walk out the door!Just turn around now!’Cause you’re not welcome anymore!Weren’t you the oneWho tried to break me with goodbye?Did you think I’d crumble?Did you think I’d lay down and die?

No, no, not I! I will survive!And as long as I know how to loveI know I’ll stay alive!And I’ve got all my life to liveAnd I’ve got all my love to giveAnd I’ll surviveI will survive!I will survive!

Gloria Gaynor

I Will Survive Lyrics as written by Frederick J. Perren Dino Fekaris

About I Will Survive

„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. 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. more »

Gloria Gaynor

Gloria Gaynor (born September 7, 1949) is an American singer, best known for the disco era hits; „I Will Survive“ (Hot 100 number 1, 1979), „Never Can Say Goodbye“ (Hot 100 number 9, 1974), „Let Me Know (I Have a Right)“ (Hot 100 number 42, 1980) and „I Am What I Am“ (R&B number 82, 1983). more »

About I Will Survive

„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. 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. more »

Gloria Gaynor

Gloria Gaynor (born September 7, 1949) is an American singer, best known for the disco era hits; „I Will Survive“ (Hot 100 number 1, 1979), „Never Can Say Goodbye“ (Hot 100 number 9, 1974), „Let Me Know (I Have a Right)“ (Hot 100 number 42, 1980) and „I Am What I Am“ (R&B number 82, 1983). more »

Music | March 10, 2020

Gloria Gaynor (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Gloria Gaynor’s hit „I Will Survive,“ released in 1978 and a #1 hit in 1979, is dramatic from the get-go — those opening words of „At first I was afraid, I was petrified“ set up the relentless statement of perseverance that follows. Like so many relatable pop songs, „I Will Survive“ is full of raw emotion, and much of it is directed at a specific person who has done the singer wrong. But this isn’t a song of victimhood or heartbreak — far from it. „Go on now go, walk out the door,“ Gaynor sings. „Just turn around now, ‚cause you’re not welcome anymore.“ „I Will Survive“ captures the feeling of moving on with even a hint of revenge (the revenge of living well, as they say), and because it’s a disco anthem, you can dance right through the pain and triumph. There’s a reason why this song was the only one to win a Grammy Award (in 1980) for Best Disco Recording.

In the days of afros and bell-bottom jeans, disco ruled over the music landscape, whether you liked it or not. Of all the disco hits that played at clubs, “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor not only survived but thrived. The empowering message of “I Will Survive” made it a karaoke hit that was belted out all across America and still gets lots of play with anyone wanting to shout at their own adversities.

VH1 ranked the survivalist anthem in the top spot of their 100 greatest dance songs. Just about everyone has hummed along to “I Will Survive” at one time or another, even if you hate disco.