The anthem of determination and self-respect known as “I Will Survive” has taken on a life of its own since it was a No. 1 hit for Newark native Gloria Gaynor in 1979. It’s been featured in movies such as “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” “The First Wives Club” and “In & Out,” and countless artists have covered it — including Diana Ross, who recorded it on her 1995 album Take Me Higher and also performed it at the 1996 Super Bowl halftime show.
In the summer of 2013, Ross was performing at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, and called up Gaynor herself to duet on the song. As the video below shows, it was an explosive moment. I mean, more explosive than usual. “I Will Survive” is almost always explosive, no matter who sings it.
“The first time I sang it,” Gaynor told me in a 1997 interview for The Star-Ledger, “the ladies had their fists up in the air.”
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.