Gloria Gaynor (born Gloria Fowles on 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).
Gaynor was a singer with the Soul Satisfiers, a jazz/pop band, in the 1960s. Her first solo single was "She'll Be Sorry/Let Me Go Baby" (1965).
Her first real success came in 1975 with the release of her album Never Can Say Goodbye, which established her as a disco artist. The first side of this album consisted of three disco songs ("Honey Bee", "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Reach Out, I'll Be There"), with no breaks in between the songs. This 19-minute dance marathon proved to be enormously popular, especially at dance clubs. All three songs were released as singles via radio edits, and all of them became hits. The album was instrumental in introducing disco music to the public, "Never Can Say Goodbye" becoming the first song to top Billboard magazine's dance chart. Capitalizing on the success of her first album, Gloria Gaynor quickly released her second album, Experience Gloria Gaynor, later that same year. While this album was also successful, it was not quite as popular as her previous album in the mainstream.
Some of her lesser-known singles, due to lack of recurrent airplay — including "Honey Bee" (1974), "Casanova Brown" (1975), and "Let's Make A Deal" (1976) — became hits in the clubs and reached the Top 5 on Billboard's disco charts. After her 1976 album, I've Got You, Gaynor shifted from her hit production team, to work with other productions. While it seemed like a good move, her subsequent producers did not seem to match Gaynor's vocal approach and style as well.
Major mainstream breakthrough
In the next few years, Gloria Gaynor released the albums Glorious and Park Avenue Sound, but would only enjoy a few moderate hits. However, in late 1978, with the release of her album Love Tracks, she climbed the pop charts again because of her song "I Will Survive". The lyrics of this song are written from the point of view of a woman, recently dumped, telling her former lover that she can cope without him and does not want anything more to do with him. The song has become something of an anthem of female emancipation, and is still a staple of office parties and karaoke nights. Interestingly, "I Will Survive" was originally the B-side when Polydor Records released it in late 1978. The A-side, a song called "Substitute", then a recent worldwide hit for South African girl-group Clout, was considered more "radio friendly". Boston Disco Radio DJ Jack King turned the record over and recalls being stunned by what he heard. "I couldn't believe they were burying this monster hit on the B-side", says King. "I played it and played it and my listeners went nuts." This audience response forced the record company to flip the songs, so that subsequent copies of the single listed the more popular song on the A-side. King was honored at New York's "Disco Masters Awards Show" for 3 consecutive years (1979–1981) in recognition of his relentless push of the song. The song was awarded the only Grammy Award ever for Best Disco Recording in 1980.
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