Hold Your Head Up High: 10 Covers To Remind You That You Will Survive No Matter What

Gloria Gaynors I Will Survive became, without a doubt, the international disco anthem. So, we salute her by making a compilation of some of the best covers of one of the greatest songs of empowerment and independence.

“I Will Survive,” the most representative song from the disco era, turns 40 this year. It is interesting to see how this disco anthem has endured over time and retained a place in pop culture. The multi-platinum track has spoken to many generations all over the world: from children doing clumsy yet charming choreographies, to drag queens at underground nightclubs, or to the office coworker who couldn’t hold his liquor at the karaoke. But, why do we make the dramatic lyrics of the song ours? Do we all share a common ground? I’d say yes, we share a very universal experience: adversity. We've all had moments where life has been tougher than we thought we could handle. Still, when you feel like you've hit rock bottom, you hold on to that something that reminds you of who you are and gives you the strength you need to overcome any problem and survive.

Back in 1978, when the song came out, it became an anthem of personal strength and female empowerment. However, for the LGBT+ community, who was actively fighting for their rights, it became an anthem that tackled one of the biggest struggles of the last century: the HIV pandemic. As a result, the song acquired an even more literal meaning and was immortalized as an anthem of endurance, courage, and bravery. Now, the song works as a place of connection among people from different contexts as it part of, for example, the moving campaign for an association that supports children who have cancer.

“I Will Survive” is no longer just a gay anthem. It is an anthem for anyone who is facing a breaking point that’s pushing them to seek independence and strength. I knew this song as a kid, but now as a grown up, the lyrics have become a sort of gospel that makes me proud of the beauty of my scars as they are the reminder of how I’ve endured adversity. Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris composed the lyrics that became a mantra, one that reminds us that, as long as we know how to love (ourselves), we shall hold our heads up high because we will survive.

“I Will Survive” (Jazz Version) by Postmodern Jukebox JazzVersion

“I Will Survive” (Pop/Rock version) by The Orange Constant

“I Will Survive” (Pop version) by Demi Lovato

“I Will Survive” (Rock version) by Cake

“Je Survivrai" ("I will Survive" French version) by Regine

“I Will Survive” (Pop/Rock version) by RNCM Session Orchestra

“Yo Viviré” ("I Will Survive" Spanish version) by Celia Cruz

“I Will Survive” (Piano version) by Abi Alton

“I Will Survive” (Rock/Pop) by Daniel Boaventura

“I Will Survive/Survivor” by Gloria Gaynor


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Additional Sources:

Identity Work In Social Movements