‘I Will Survive’ survives: 20 great versions of the pop classic (WATCH VIDEOS)

I Will Survive covers

Gloria Gaynor, in a vintage photograph.

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.

Gloria Gaynor

Gladys Knight

Aretha Franklin

Diana Ross

Cake

Chantay Savage

The Puppini Sisters

Habanera String Quartet

R.E.M.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Demi Lovato

Hermes House Band

Leah McFall

The Pussycat Dolls

Snuff

Johnny Mathis

k.d. lang

Sophie Bijjani

The Go-Katz

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.”

CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET

Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence, though, depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of $10, or any other amount, to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJ Arts Daily to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

3 thoughts on “‘I Will Survive’ survives: 20 great versions of the pop classic (WATCH VIDEOS)

  1. Pingback: Grammy Museum Experience in Newark to celebrate Grammy month with Gloria Gaynor and others - NJArts.netNJArts.net

  2. Pingback: Gloria Gaynor is not just surviving, but thriving - NJArts.net

Leave a Review or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *