Disco queen Gloria Gaynor will perform at Crocus City Hall on Wednesday — and yes, she will sing that song — but the 63-year-old singer has plenty more hits for a Russian audience that has taken her to its heart.
“It’s wonderful that I have become so popular in Russia in the last few years,” Gaynor told The Moscow Times in an interview on the eve of her concert in Russia. “I have performed for Russians in America, in Italy and in Germany. It’s a kind of love affair going on.”
Gaynor is best known for her disco anthem “I Will Survive,” a Grammy Award-winning song that Rolling Stone magazine named one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
The song has been covered by many other artists including Diana Ross and “The Muppet Show’s” Miss Piggy, but it is most associated with Gaynor.
The original is about a woman surviving a painful breakup and finding the strength to go on. It is this story that has made it a favorite of hen nights and karaoke squawking, but the one audiences will hear Tuesday is one that has a new line, reflecting Gaynor’s conversion to Christianity in the early 1980s.
“I will survive; He gave me life; I stand beside the Crucified One,” Gaynor sings now.
“I always sing that line because I always want people to know there is my strength to survive and that power is available to them as well,” Gaynor said.
The song was actually a B-side when released in 1978 until a DJ in Boston noticed its power and quickly made it a hit.
One of her most memorable performances of the song was at a concert for Michael Jackson in 2001 to celebrate 30 years in show business.
“I found Michael to be very warm and generous human being and a very dedicated person,” she said. “I was very sad by what happened to him, and I think this guy should have gotten the maximum.”
Gaynor was referring to Jackson’s doctor Conrad Murray, who was sentenced to four years for involuntary manslaughter last week.
Gaynor has been to Russia a number of times and even duetted with pop singer Larisa Dolina on Russian television singing, what else, “I Will Survive.”
“The song has definitely taken on a life of its own, and people use it to get through all of life’s difficulties — deaths, illnesses, job problems, family issues,” she said.
Gaynor has admitted that she “feels sad,” though, when people can only recall “I Will Survive” as one of her songs. “‘Never Can Say Goodbye,’ ‘Reach Out, I’ll Be There’ — there are many other great songs that I want people to remember,” she said.