I write about songs.

Archive for the ‘Gloria Gaynor’ Category

Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”

My review of Hot Stuff, Alice Echols’s terrific study of disco music and culture, appears in today’s Los Angeles Times, here. My childhood was concurrent with disco’s heyday, so it was a struggle not to stuff the piece with my own vivid memories of the music, which I loved, and which, since I lived in the suburbs, I experienced primarily through car radios, television variety shows, and dated 45s that my older cousin passed along to me. I heard Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” for the second or third time while riding in the back of my aunt’s car—my dad and I were on some kind of shopping outing with his sister and my cousin, and I remember moving along an industrial stretch of Broadway in Albany, past Montgomery Ward and Two Guys, when the song came on the radio. I recognized it instantly. This is that special song that makes me feel so good, I thought. “Can you turn this up?” I asked, and my aunt did. (Everyone in my family liked disco, bearing out the criticism that it was music even parents could love.) “I Will Survive” has disco’s build-and-release structure, and that was part of the pleasure. But the lyrics truly stirred me. There was already so much to overcome, even (especially?) at the age of 11.

Written by peterterzian

April 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Posted in Gloria Gaynor


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