Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive - 1978


I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, released in 1978, is not just a song but a cultural phenomenon that has inspired countless individuals through its empowering message. This course will explore the song's history, its impact, and its enduring legacy.


I Will Survive was first released in October 1978 as the B-side to a cover of the Righteous Brothers' song "Substitute." However, the disco song soon overshadowed the A-side, propelling Gloria Gaynor to international stardom. The song's lyrics speak of personal strength, liberation, and resilience, making it an anthem for those overcoming adversity.

Musical Composition

The song is notable for its catchy disco melody, underpinned by a steady four-on-the-floor beat. Its arrangement includes string sections, a bass guitar, and a defining brass sound. These elements combined to make it a dance-floor favorite during the disco era.

Cultural Impact

"I Will Survive" quickly became an anthem for the disco movement and later, for various other social movements. It resonated particularly with the LGBTQ+ community and is often hailed as an anthem of female empowerment. The song's message of resilience in the face of adversity has made it a timeless classic.

Gloria Gaynor

Gloria Gaynor, born in 1943, rose to prominence in the 1970s disco era. Her career spans several decades, with "I Will Survive" being her most iconic hit. Gaynor's contributions to music and culture have been recognized with numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Disco Recording in 1980.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What was the original B-side to "I Will Survive"? ("Substitute") (!"I Am What I Am") (!"Never Can Say Goodbye") (!"Reach Out, I'll Be There")

In what year was "I Will Survive" released? (1978) (!1976) (!1980) (!1974)

Which music genre does "I Will Survive" primarily belong to? (Disco) (!Rock) (!Soul) (!Pop)

What musical feature is prominent in "I Will Survive"? (Four-on-the-floor beat) (!Heavy guitar riffs) (!Synthesized keyboard) (!Orchestral strings)

Which award did Gloria Gaynor win for "I Will Survive"? (Grammy for Best Disco Recording) (!MTV Music Award) (!Billboard Music Award) (!American Music Award)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

In what year was Gloria Gaynor born? (1943) (!1948) (!1950) (!1940)

What is another popular song by Gloria Gaynor? ("Never Can Say Goodbye") (!"Dancing Queen") (!"Hot Stuff") (!"Boogie Wonderland")

How has "I Will Survive" been recognized beyond the music charts? (Anthem for various social movements) (!Featured in a major film) (!Used in a political campaign) (!Theme song for a sports event)

What genre of music is Gloria Gaynor primarily associated with? (Disco) (!Rock) (!Jazz) (!Country)

Which community has "I Will Survive" become a particularly iconic anthem for? (LGBTQ+ community) (!Environmentalists) (!Civil Rights Movement) (!Feminist Movement)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is a key theme in the lyrics of "I Will Survive"? (Personal resilience) (!Romantic love) (!Social injustice) (!Party and celebration)

How does the song start lyrically? ("At first, I was afraid, I was petrified") (!"Just dance, gonna be okay") (!"I need a hero, I'm holding out for a hero") (!"You can dance, you can jive")

What does the song emphasize about the narrator's past relationship? (Overcoming and moving on) (!Regret and longing) (!Anger and betrayal) (!Gratitude and reminiscence)

Which of the following lines is from "I Will Survive"? ("I've got all my life to live, I've got all my love to give") (!"You're the one that I want, you are the one I want") (!"I'm every woman, it's all in me") (!"Where the night falls, my lonely heart calls")

What emotion does the song predominantly convey? (Empowerment) (!Sadness) (!Nostalgia) (!Anger)


Gloria Gaynor 1943
Original B-side to "I Will Survive" "Substitute"
Grammy Award Best Disco Recording
Song's key theme Personal resilience
Main genre Disco

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Compile a playlist of disco songs from the 1970s that capture the same empowering spirit as "I Will Survive."
  2. Analyze the Lyrics: Write a brief analysis of the lyrics of "I Will Survive," focusing on its themes of strength and resilience.
  3. Dance Routine: Learn or choreograph a dance routine to "I Will Survive" and perform it.


  1. Research Paper: Write a short essay on the impact of "I Will Survive" on the LGBTQ+ community.
  2. Interview Project: Conduct interviews with people who lived through the disco era about their memories of "I Will Survive."
  3. Music Comparison: Compare "I Will Survive" to another empowerment anthem from a different era or genre.


  1. Multimedia Presentation: Create a video presentation on the cultural significance of "I Will Survive" across different decades.
  2. Music Analysis: Analyze the musical composition of "I Will Survive" and its contribution to the disco genre.
  3. Social Movement Study: Research and present on how "I Will Survive" has been used in various social movements.
  4. Cover Version: Record your own cover of "I Will Survive," experimenting with a different musical style.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the Evolution: Discuss how "I Will Survive" has evolved from a disco hit to a cultural anthem over the years.
  2. Impact Analysis: Analyze the impact of Gloria Gaynor's music, particularly "I Will Survive," on modern pop culture.
  3. Comparative Study: Compare and contrast "I Will Survive" with another iconic song of the 1970s in terms of musical style and cultural impact.
  4. Song Interpretation: Discuss your personal interpretation of "I Will Survive" and how it relates to the theme of resilience.
  5. Music Genre Study: Examine the role of disco music in the 1970s and its influence on subsequent musical genres.

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