“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
The Story of the Song: If phoenixes rising from the ashes had a theme song, it would be this disco-era dance hit. The lyrics tell the story of a person overcoming their fear of being jilted to finding the confidence to tell their hurtful lover to “go…walk out the door…just turn around now…” Well, you know how it goes.
The Story Behind the Song: The urban legend* it that the song is actually about co-songwriter Dino Fekaris getting fired from Motown Records. Apparently, he had worked for seven years at the label as a staff writer when he got the boot. Upset and unsure of himself, Fekaris went home, turned on the television and heard one of his songs. He reportedly started jumping up and down on his bed and screamed, “I’m going to make it. I’m going to be a songwriter. I will survive!” And that, my friends, is how you turn getting fired into a break up anthem.
*By “urban legend”, I mean it’s an unsourced story on a music website, but you know, it makes sense. The song was written by Fekaris and his songwriting partner, Freddie Perren, immediately after they were canned by Motown. They waited years to find a voice like Gaynor’s to make the track soar.