Maybe the first disco diva (but Sylvester will always be #1 in our hearts). First hit: a cover of The Jackson Five's "Never Can Say Goodbye", but her "theme song" is that diva-vehicle "I Will Survive". (She has survived much, to judge by her "poignant" Behind the Music profile). Became born-again, and has had times in which she'd only "sing for Jesus", halted by long, hard looks at her checkbook. She's surely wailing That Song, somewhere on the nostalgia circuit.

Gloria Gaynor, best known for disco hit I Will Survive, was born in Newark, New Jersey, USA on the 7th September 1949. Named Gloria Fowles at birth, she was raised in a strong family unit in Brooklyn which was led by her mother, due to the lack of a constant father figure.

By grade school, Gaynor had decided that she wanted to become a professional singer and had listened to many recordings of popular musical artists. After high school, she worked as an accountant but eventually resigned in 1971 when she joined band called the Soul Satisfiers in Canada, and later played songs with City Life.

She was eventually discovered by Clive Davis who was at the time head of MGM Records. She auditioned three times before he actually signed her, which meant that it took her until 1973 to become a signed solo artist. From then on she released a new album every year until 1981, all of which went into the top 40 chart in America. 1973 turned out to be a very successful year for Gaynor as she was responsible for the Billboard chart to create a new music category due to Gaynor's new music style named the Disco Action Chart.

Disco Diva

Gaynor was the first disco diva, and released the first big disco hit. Amongst her list of "firsts" was the fact that she was the first person to record an album for exclusive use in clubs. This was done in 1975 and was called Never Can Say Goodbye. Never Can Say Goodbye, the title track and also a cover of a Jackson Five song, has also been referred to as the first number one dance song. This achievement was followed up the next year when the The American National Association of Discotheque DJs crowned her the Official Queen of Disco.

Gaynor's most well known hit, I Will Survive was recorded in 1979. Since its original recording it has been recorded in over 20 languages, which has included Arabic. It was so popular that she recieved a Grammy award for the song in 1980 for Best Disco Recording, an award which hadn't been given out before, and hasn't been given out since. Since it's release it has sold over 14 million copies and has touched the hearts of many lovesick people. The French World Cup football team adopted the song as its anthem during the World cup which they won, and took Gaynor to their hearts proclaiming her their Godmother. They even recorded a version of the song themselves which was released on Gaynor's double platinum album, It's My Time in 1999. The original version of the song was also used in the soundtrack to the film Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as well as on more than half a dozen other movies in the year 2000.

Gloria has had numerous achievements. At the top of this list is when she headlined the first east-west German reunification concert. She still performs in more that 80 countries per year and at many international events. She also appeared for two weeks in Smokey Joe's Cafe, the longest running musical on Broadway in 1999. Guest appearances in Ally McBeal and That 70's Show followed the next year, as well as being spotlighted in VH-1's Behind the Music.

Amonst the list of famous people who have seen Gaynor perform are

As well as these people, she has performed for millions of people in her singing career. Many of these people have heard her sing at the numerous charity events which she supports.

These include

Gloria has also undertaken humanitarian mission work in many different countries including Lebanon, Israel and Bosnia.

Presently, Gaynor lives in New Jersey with her husband Simon Linwood who she married in 1979. They never had children, but Gaynor is reputed to dote on her nieces and nephews of which there are over 30. Her marriage hasn't been without controversy, but it still remains alive and is now happy. There have been rumours in the past about his infidelity, and how they separated at one point. Much of this can be read about in her autobiography entitled I Will Survive. Gaynor and her husband were finally reunited with the help of Gaynor religious leader who is called Pastor Bernard. Religion is a big part of Gaynor life, and she believes that God is responsible for the path in life she has taken. Her favourite music she listens to is contemporary gospel music.


Television and Film Credits


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