I Will Survive Song Meaning by Gloria Gaynor

The famous I Will Survive (“I will survive”) is considered their anthem by feminists, HIV-infected people, representatives of non-traditional sexual orientation and, of course, half of the women on the planet who broke up with men against their will. The song is Gloria Gaynor’s most famous work and one of the really cool tracks that the disco era gave us.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song I Will Survive

This composition simply could not be unsuccessful, because the feelings that it conveys were very close to both the talented songwriters and its incomparable performer.

Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perrin composed it while out of work, while Gloria Gaynor performed it after a brief high followed by a sudden downfall.

The history of the song I Will Survive began with the fact that Fekaris and Perrin were fired from Motown Records in 1978, where they worked not without success as full-time songwriters.

Here’s what Dino had to say about the situation:

They fired me after almost seven years. I became an unemployed author, contemplating my future destiny. I turned on the TV, and here it is: right then they were broadcasting the song Generation, which I wrote for one film. I took it as an omen that I would succeed. I remember how I started jumping on the bed saying, “I will do it. I will be a songwriter. I will Survive!”.

So, when Perrin and Fekaris were working on the song, they had plenty of inspiration, and the result turned out to be appropriate. But what do the text and notes mean without a performer who can feel the atmosphere and convey it to the listener.

I must say, the search for a suitable candidate dragged on, and the guys have already decided to give I Will Survive to the first famous singer who wants to sing a song. It was at this moment (how can one not believe in the intervention of higher powers!) They were approached by representatives of the company in which Gloria Gaynor was recording, with an offer to produce her track Substitute.

And now a little about why Gaynor was perfect for the performance of I Will Survive.

Success came to Gloria in 1975, when she released the album Never Can Say Goodbye, and a couple of years later she was already called the “Queen of Disco”. But suddenly, one after another, troubles rained down on her. She buried her mother. She had to undergo a severe operation, after which she was confined to a wheelchair for several months.

The former manager deceived Gloria, leaving her with a bunch of debts. And the fickle audience had already forgotten her and admired other stars. Is it any wonder that Gloria Gaynor was immediately imbued with the song and agreed to sing it without hesitation.

I Will Survive is sung from the perspective of an abandoned woman who has learned to get along without an abusive man, but Gaynor has always viewed it as a song about overcoming hardships in the broadest sense. In particular, she said:

I like that she supports, I like that she encourages. These are eternal words that tell about an eternal problem.

Clip I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor

Check out the music video for “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.


Release and achievements

For the first time I Will Survive was released on the back of a single, the main track of which was, as planned, the song Substitute. But DJs in clubs and on the radio played I Will Survive much more often, so the single was soon re-released, and the compositions in the new version were reversed.

In March 1979, I Will Survive went to number one on the US charts. It later won a Grammy for Best Disco Recording (the only one of its kind, as it was only awarded once in this category).

According to Gloria Gaynor herself, she is not at all worried about the fact that I Will Survive has overshadowed all the other songs that she has ever sung. On this occasion, she expressed herself as follows:

… I do not get tired of singing it. I always refresh it: I change the rhythm, the words, I update the arrangement. I even inserted a hip-hop piece in the middle. I give 295% to the audience when I sing this song because people still love it.

I Will Survive is ranked #492 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.

I Will Survive cover versions

The song was performed by dozens of musicians. Gloria Gaynor named her most disliked I Will Survive cover version of Cake.

Interesting Facts

  • Shortly after the recording of I Will Survive, Gaynor became a devout Christian and at concerts inserted an additional verse into the song’s lyrics in which she glorified God.
  • In 1998, the French football team made I Will Survive their anthem for the World Cup.

I Will Survive Lyrics

At first I was afraid I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
Thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
And now you’re back
from outside space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I’ve known for just one second you’d back to bother me

Go on now, go walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Do 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 love
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive

It took all the strength I had not to fall apart
Kept trying’ hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart
And I spent oh so many nights
Just feeling sorry for myself, I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high
And you see me, somebody new
I’m not that chained up little girl who’s still in love with you
And so you felt like dropping in
And just expect me to be free
Now I’m saving all my lovin’ for someone who’s loving me

I Will Survive Lyrics Gloria Gaynor

At first I was scared, I was numb
Everyone thought that she could not live if you were not around.
But then night after night
I thought how unfair you treated me
And I got stronger
And I learned to live on
And now you’re back
From somewhere out of space
I just walked in and saw you there with such a sad expression on your face
I’d change that stupid lock
I would make you hand over your key
If I knew that you would come back to pester me

Come on, go out the door
Turn around and leave
‘Cause you’re not welcome here anymore
Weren’t you trying to hurt me with your goodbyes
Do you think I should lose heart?
Do you think I should lay down and die?
Oh no, just not me. I will Survive
Oh as long as I remember how to love
I know I will live
I have my whole life ahead of me
I have to give someone all my love, I will survive
I will Survive

I had to gather my will into a fist so as not to fall apart
I’ve been struggling to pick up my broken heart
And I’m all night long
I only felt sorry for myself and constantly cried
But now I hold my head up high
And you see me – brand new
I’m not that shackled girl who still loves you
And you thought you might show up here
And see me still relationship free
But I am saving my love for the one who loves me.

Song quote

From the very beginning, I was aware that this is a timeless song that can be relevant to any person.

Gloria Gaynor

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