(Dino Fekaris/Freddie Perren)
for Gloria Gaynor that reached #1 on the Billboard chart in 1979 and #1 in
the United Kingdom a day later.
It was not
intended to be a hit, as it was released on the B side of “Substitute”,
an old Righteous Brothers song (Gloria did like her remakes) but savvy DJs
flipped the record over and helped turn it into a radio staple. Soon, Polydor
was rushing copies with “I Will Survive” on the A side. It was a smart move, because
“Substitute” didn’t even manage to break into the
Billboard Hot 100 Singles.
Survive” was covered four times in 1979 alone, including a country
version by Billie Jo Spears, which is more of a polka or Texas two-step
than its original disco incarnation.
In 1980, Gloria Gaynor’s original version won the first and
only Best Disco Recording at the Grammy Awards.
It has been
translated into and performed in several languages, including Czech,
French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Russian, and Turkish.
The song has
been covered by groups ranging from the Brotherhood of Man to Cake to
Gladys Knight & The Pips to R.E.M.
Cake’s rendition is played when Turkey’s Galatasaray SK football team scores a goal. In 1998, it was also the theme tune
for the France’s World Cup Champion soccer club.
featured in several movies, including The
Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Men in Black II.
(Frank the Pug does an inimitable rendition.)
This song has
pervaded just about every facet of our modern, multi-media culture,
including amusement park rides, TV shows, and video games. There was even an e-card version
featuring a cartoon turkey who clucks her way through a parody of the song,
claiming she will survive Thanksgiving. It is the #1 e-card ever featured on
American Greetings, garnering over 30 million hits.
have covered the song, including Crazy Frog and Runt of the Litter in the
2005 animated film, Chicken Little. As recently as 2009, The Pussycat
Dolls used some of its lyrics in their song “Hush Hush”.
Survive”, a song that people seem to either love or hate, has
delivered on the self-fulfilling prophecy in its title.
Billie Jo Spears recordings
Records UA-X1292-Y (UAST-20397)