I Will Survive: Song Lyrics & Meaning To The Disco Anthem That's Still Around Today

By | March 7, 2020

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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.

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Gaynor not only survived she thrived (Billboard)

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.