Gloria Gaynor (real name Gloria Fowles September 7, 1949 was born in Newark, New Jersey) and is an American singer, best-known for the disco hits "I Will Survive" (Hot 100 #1, 1979), "Never Can Say Goodbye" (Hot 100 #9, 1974), and I Am What I Am (Hot 100 #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. This album was so instrumental in introducing disco music to the public, that many later believed that Gloria Gaynor had been the first artist to record disco music. Never Can Say Goodbye became 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 as popular as her previous album.
Some of her lesser-known Pop/R&B songs including, Honey Bee (1974), Casanova Brown (1975), and Let's Make A Deal (1976), were huge hits in the clubs and reached the top 5 on Billboard's Disco charts.
For the next few years, Gloria Gaynor would only enjoy a few moderate hits. It wasn't until late 1978, with the release of her album Love Tracks that she would climb the charts again due to a song called 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. The song was awarded the first and only Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording in 1980 (the category was discontinued upon disco's fall from favor shortly afterward). In 1999, Pixar animator Victor Navoneused this song to create an alien music video which for a time was a minor Internet phenomenon.
An interesting piece of trivia about I Will Survive is that it was originally the B-side when Polydor Records released it in late 1978. The A-side, a song called Substitute, a recent worldwide hit for South African girl-group Clout, was considered to be more "radio friendly." Radio DJs flipped the record over and audience response forced the record company to flip the songs and subsequent copies of the single listed the more popular song on the A-side. In late 1979, she released her next disco hit, Let Me Know (I Have The Right), which featured Doc Severinsen of The Tonight Show fame, on trumpet solo.
In 1980 and again in 1981, Gloria Gaynor released two disco albums which were virtually ignored due to the disco backlash which began late in 1979. In 1982, Gloria Gaynor became a Christian and she began to distance herself from a past she now considered to be sinful. She would not release an album in 1982. In 1983, she released an album entitled Gloria Gaynor in which she rejected disco for mid-tempo R&B and pop style songs. The album contained a patriotic song called "America" as well as a new version of I Will Survive. In this new version of I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor changed the lyrics of the song in order to advertise her new conversion to Christianity. The words It took all the strength I had not to fall apart were changed to Only the Lord could give me strength not to fall apart. The album was not a success as she had turned back on her fan base by her drastic change in style. Gloria Gaynor would achieve her final success in the 80's with the release of her album I Am Gloria Gaynor in 1984. This was mainly due to the song I Am What I Am which became a hit at dance clubs. I Am What I Am made Gaynor an gay icon. Gloria Gaynor's career went into sharp decline following this, only to be revived just as sharply with the revival of disco in the mid 1990's.
During the late 1990s she dabbled in acting for a while, guest starring on The Wayans Bros, That '70s Show, and Ally McBeal before doing a limited engagement performance in Broadway's Smokey Joe's Cafe.
She returned to the recording studio in 2002, releasing her first album in 20 years entitled, I Wish You Love. The two singles released from the album, Just Keep Thinking About You and I Never Knew, both topped Billboard's dance chart. The latter song also charted #30 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.
Over 25 years after its release, Gaynor continues to ride the success of I Will Survive, touring the country and the world over and performing her signature song on dozens of TV shows.
On September 19, 2005, Gaynor was honored twice when she and her music were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame. She was inducted in the Artist Inductees category along with fellow disco legends CHIC and Sylvester and her classic anthem, I Will Survive, was inducted under the Records Inductees category.
* Never Can Say Goodbye (1975)
* Experience Gloria Gaynor (1975)
* I've Got You (1976)
* Glorious (1977)
* Park Avenue Sound (1978)
* Love Tracks (1978)
* I Have A Right (1979)
* Stories (1980)
* I Kinda Like Me (1981)
* Gloria Gaynor (Gloria Gaynor album) (1983)
* I Am Gloria Gaynor (1984)
* The Power of Gloria Gaynor (1986)
* I Wish You Love (2002)
* The Best of Gloria Gaynor (1977)
* Greatest Hits (1982)