I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop(#1), R&B(#4 ), and Dance(#1); 1979

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

One of disco’s most enduring anthems could also stand in as the theme song to its singer’s life story. Starting with a three week gig fronting a band when she was 18, Gloria Gaynor eventually formed her own group, City Life, in 1971.

Her recording debut, Honey Bee, sputtered to #55 on the R&B chart in 1974, followed quickly by the dance classic, Never Can Say Goodbye. Then Gloria’s recording career stalled.

A fall during a European concert put a monthslong halt to performing, she spent most of 1978 recovering from spinal surgery, and her mother passed away. So when Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris offered her I Will Survive, Gloria knew this was her song.

I Will Survive‘s inspirational lyrics immediately struck a chord with record buyers. Thirteen weeks into its chart run, Survive gave Gloria her a long-awaited #1 hit and (later on) a Best Disco Recording Grammy to boot. Gloria and her hit were revived in 1993 when a remixed version hit #5 in England.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Freddie Perren
  • Dino Fekaris

Lyrics Written by:

  • Freddie Perren
  • Dino Fekaris


  • Won Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording (1980)
  • Won Grammy Hall of Fame Award (2016)
  • Top 40 Weekly Top Songs of the 70s Chart Position: #12