This year marks the 40th anniversary of “I Will Survive,” a No. 1 hit for Newark’s Gloria Gaynor in 1978. To celebrate, I’ve put together videos of 20 cool versions of this eternally inspirational song.
Co-written by the late Englewood native Freddie Perren (whose other credits included the Jackson 5 hits “ABC,” “I Want You Back” and “The Love You Save”) and Dino Fekaris (who also co-wrote the Rare Earth hit “I Just Want to Celebrate”), “I Will Survive has been covered by pop, R&B, rock, classical and dance musicians, as you can see below, and also has been featured in many movies.
Some covers, including alternative-rock group Cake’s offbeat version, and Chantay Savage’s achingly slow take, have even become minor hits in their own right. Many of the covers echo the original’s lush arrangement, though some, including Canadian singer-songwriter Sophie Bijjani’s charming ukulele-and-vocals version, are more basic.
Here are the 20 videos, starting with Gaynor’s definitive version but otherwise in no particular order, and with bonus videos at the end.
The Puppini Sisters
Habanera String Quartet
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Hermes House Band
The Pussycat Dolls
Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Amy Adams, Matthew McConaughey, Taraji P. Henson and others
Bonus Video: Kevin Kline dancing to “I Will Survive” in the movie “In & Out”
Bonus Video 2: Gaynor duets with Kacey Musgraves at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Oct. 15, 2019
Bonus Video 3: Gaynor and her band perform “I Will Survive” in a socially distanced manner and as a mashup with the Destiny’s Child hit, “Survivor.”
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