Saturday, December 16, 1978

Gloria Gaynor charts with “I Will Survive”

image from onemusic.ph


Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive”


Writer(s): Dino Fekaris, Freddie Perren (see lyrics here)

First charted: 12/16/1978

Peak: 13 US, 9 AC, 4 RB, 14 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 1.0 UK, 14.0 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): 144.8


Review: With its message of “of defiance and freedom,” BR1-498 “I Will Survive” became an anthem for both feminism and gay rights, AMG but for Gloria Gaynor it was a personal statement. Unlike the song’s narrator, she was happily married, SF but she was overcoming major obstacles, including the death of her mother, a career in freefall, and a literal fall from the stage. AMG

Gaynor was crowned the Queen of Disco in the wake of her 1974 hit “Never Can Say Goodbye,” but subsequent failed singles left her career fighting for survival. In the spring of 1978, a tumble off the stage left her bedridden for nine months with a severe spinal injury. AMG Once out of the hospital, this declaration of resilience was just the kind of recovery she needed. The song is “equal parts dancefloor juggernaut and Broadway show-stopper,” AMG so full of “attitude and sass that it veers dangerously close to pure camp” AMG but Gaynor gives it an authenticity that lifts it above its melodramatic qualities.

Originally this was a B-side for what Gaynor said was “the company president’s pet project so there was no way I could get the record flipped.” KL-246 She persuaded club DJs to play the song and it became a favorite of the famed Studio 54 in New York. TB-179 Polydor Records then promoted the song as “More than a hit – it’s a way of life.” AMG

The song gained new life when it emerged as a hit again fifteen years after its original release. In 1994, it was featured in the drag-queen comedy The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and topped the charts in Australia, AMG showing that it was truly a song built to survive.


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Saturday, December 9, 1978

Chic’s “Le Freak” hit #1

First posted 10/31/2019.

Le Freak

Chic

Writer(s): Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards (see lyrics here)


Released: September 21, 1978


First Charted: October 21, 1978


Peak: 16 US, 17 CB, 17 HR, 12 RR, 48 AC, 15 RB, 7 UK, 12 CN, 15 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 4.0 US, 0.5 UK, 13.0 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: --


Video Airplay *: 1.15


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

Guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards formed Chic in 1976 after meeting six years earlier as session musicians in New York City. They brought in drummer Tony Thompson and singer Norma Jean Wright and in 1977 released their debut album, Chic, which was fueled by the top 10 hit “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah).” Wright left the group and was replaced by Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin. The change didn’t hurt as Chic did even better the next time out with “Le Freak,” the first single from sophomore album C’est Chic.

The song came about from an incident at New York City’s famed disco club Studio 54. Rodgers and Edwards were invited to the club by Grace Jones on New Year’s Eve in 1977. However, she forgot to notify the nightclub staff and the pair were refused entry WK despite the fact that their music was often played in the club. SF The doorman told them to “fuck off” as he slammed the door on them. They used it in a song, eventually changing it to “freak out” after realizing radio would never play it otherwise. WK

“Le Freak” had an unusual chart run. It moved to #1 in just its seventh week on the chart, but then was replaced by Barbra Steisand and Neil Diamond’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” the song it had knocked from the top. However, “Le Freak” was back the next week – only to be knocked out again by the Bee Gees’ “Too Much Heaven.” However, after two weeks, “Le Freak” was back again for another three weeks. There’s was the first song in Billboard history to hit #1 three times. WK It went on to become the best-selling single in the history of Atlantic Records. BR1

The record company was not sold on the song when they first heard it. Rodgers said he and Edwards sat with their lawyer in a conference room after playing a seven-and-a-half minute version of the song. The executives had cleared out of the room and were, as Rodgers said, “trying to figure out how to tell us how much the song sucked.” SF


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