What can you add to the story of “I will Survive?” It’s an anthem that started out as a B side of the song “Substitute.” Gloria Gaynor recorded it in a while in a back brace after having spent 6 months in the hospital. The record company didn’t have any plans to support the song so Gloria’s team took it directly to DJs at dance clubs, where the song took on a life of its own.
“I Will Survive” comes in at 492 on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs of all time, (or number 2 on its list of best disco songs of all time). While some people place it as merely the story of a lover who’s been done wrong finding strength and empowerment, Gloria thinks of it as about strength and empowerment more broadly. She says “I love the empowering effect, I love the encouraging effect. It’s a timeless lyric that addresses a timeless concern.” What keeps “I Will Survive” going? Find out in the sheet below.
The Musical Idea:
Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:
One thought on “Saturday Songwriting: I Will Survive”
On the flipside, I think there is brilliance in taking such a powerful song and making it about depression and helplessness in the cover by Cake.
Which is better? The original — the original is almost always better because of the spark of creativity. But the clever cover is something of note.
LikeLiked by 1 person