Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!
It was 36 years ago today when Gloria Gaynor reached the top of the charts with her disco anthem, “I Will Survive“, in 1979.
I remember well. This was an anthem for me and many of my friends.
This female-empowerment anthem is about moving on after a bad relationship. Over the years, it has taken on meaning for people who have overcome just about any difficult situation, but for the song’s lyricist, Dino Fekaris, it was about getting fired by Motown Records, where he was a staff writer.
Says Fekaris: “They let me go after almost seven years. I was an unemployed songwriter contemplating my fate. I turned the TV on, and there it was: a song I had written for a movie theme titled Generation was playing right then (the song was performed by Rare Earth).
I took that as an omen that things were going to work out for me. I remember jumping up and down on the bed saying, ‘I’m going to make it. I’m going to be a songwriter. I will survive!”
Gloria Gaynor (born September 7, 1949) is an American singer, best known for the disco era hits “I Will Survive” (Hot 100 number 1, 1979), “Never Can Say Goodbye” (Hot 100 number 9, 1974), “Let Me Know (I Have a Right)” (Hot 100 number 42, 1980) and “I Am What I Am” (R&B number 82, 1983).
Gloria Fowles was born in Newark, New Jersey, to Queenie May Proctor and Daniel Fowles. Her grandmother lived nearby and was involved in her upbringing. “There was always music in our house”, Gaynor wrote in her autobiography “I Will Survive”. She enjoyed listening to the radio, and to records by Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughan.
Her father played the ukulele and guitar and sang professionally in nightclubs with a group called Step ‘n’ Fetchit. Her brothers sang gospel and formed a quartet with a friend. Gaynor was not allowed to sing with the all-male group, nor was her younger brother, Arthur, because he was too young. Arthur later acted as a tour manager for Gaynor.
The family was relatively poor, but Gaynor recalls the house being filled with laughter and happiness, and the dinner table being open to neighborhood friends. They moved to a housing project in 1960 and Gloria grew up as a tomboy. “All through my young life I wanted to sing, although nobody in my family knew it”, Gaynor wrote in her autobiography.
This won the 1979 Grammy for Best Disco Recording.
It was the first and last time that the Grammys offered this category.
Gaynor sees this song as just a simple song about survival, regardless of what you have to overcome. She said: “I love the empowering effect, I love the encouraging effect. It’s a timeless lyric that addresses a timeless concern.”
In June 1998, the French football team (or as Americans call it, soccer) made this their World Cup anthem.
This song became an anthem in the gay community, but its reach extends much farther – it has been reproduced in 20 languages, including Arabic. Predictably, it is also one of the most popular songs to be sung on Karaoke.
Gaynor is far and away most famous for this song (her autobiography is even called I Will Survive), but she was a formidable Dance singer before she recorded it. She made #9 in 1975 with “Never Can Say Goodbye” and cracked the Hot 100 with her covers of “Walk On By” and “Reach Out, I’ll Be There.”