One of the most popular female disco artists from the ‘70s, Gloria Gaynor is
well-remembered for the enduring success of her monster hit, and subsequent
“woman’s anthem,” “I Will Survive” (1979), a single that handed her a Grammy
Award in 1980, and the disco hit “Never Can Say Goodbye” (1976). In 2002, she
released a comeback album titled I Wish You Love, which has such hits as “Just
Keep Thinking About You” and “I Never Knew.”
Gaynor was praised twice when she and her music were introduced into the Dance
Music Hall of Fame on September 19, 2005. Her classic anthem, “I Will Survive,”
was inducted in the Records Inductees category and she was inducted under the
Artist Inductees category together with fellow disco legends Sylvester and Chic.
First Lady of Disco
Childhood and Family:
In Newark, New Jersey, Gloria Fowles, who would later be prominent as Gloria
Gaynor, was born on September 7, 1949. Her singing career took place in the
1960s, when she joined the obscure R&B group named the Soul Satisfiers.
Gloria earned the nickname of “First Lady of Disco.” She married Linwood Simon
in 1979, and they remain together until now.
I Wish You Love
Gloria Gaynor made her debut as a singer with the Soul Satisfiers, an R&B band,
in the 1960s, and emerged as a solo artist with her single, ”She’ll Be Sorry /
Let Me Go Baby, in 1965. Her talents caught the attention of MGM Records leader
honcho Mike Curb (ultimate boss of the Curb label and Lieutenant Governor of
California), who finally signed Gaynor to his label following many auditions.
In 1975, Gaynor started issuing albums on a normal basis and with the release of
Never Can Say Goodbye in 1976, she made a reputation for herself as one of the
first-ever dance artists to concern an album mostly for club utilize. Moreover,
the title track marked Gaynor’s first single to reach No. 1 on Billboard
magazine’s dance chart.
Gaynor followed that up with a few moderate hits, but the singer did not make
phenomenal sensation until 1979 with the ample disco hit “I Will Survive.” The
song, which was once named the No. 1 song on VH1’s 100 Greatest Dance Songs,
brought her the first and only Grammy for Best Disco Recording in 1980. Written
from the point of view of a woman, “I Will Survive” has become impressive of an
anthem of female emancipation, and is still a staple of office parties and
Unfortunately after “I Will Survive,” Gaynor failed to create another large hit.
She went on to focus records on play shows (mostly in Europe) and during the
late 1990s, she dipped into acting for a while by guest starring in “The Wayans
Bros,” “That’s 70’s Show” as well as “Ally McBeal.” Also, she had a two-week run
on Broadway hit musical “Smokey Joe’s Café.” In the meantime, Gaynor launched an
autobiography titled “I Will Survive.”
Following 20 years hiatus, Gaynor made her return to the recording studio with
2002’s album I Wish You Love. It spawned the Billboard Dance chart-topping
singles, “I Never Knew” and “Just Keep Thinking About You.” The first song even
peaked at No. 30 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.
Over more than two and a half decades of its release, Gaynor keeps on riding the
triumph of “I Will Survive.” She has toured the country and the world over and
performed her signature song on dozens of TV shows.
Grammy: Best Disco Recording, “I Will Survive,” 1980