Aretha Franklin – “I Will Survive” (Gloria Gaynor Cover) (Stereogum Premiere)

Tom Breihan | October 7, 2014 - 9:13 am

Later this month, Aretha Franklin will release Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics, a covers album that she worked on with André 3000 and Babyface. We posted her explosive take on Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep,” and now she’s let us hear her take on Gloria Gaynor’s disco classic “I Will Survive.” It’s dubbed “I Will Survive (The Aretha Version)” on the tracklist. Aretha is probably one of the few singers on earth who, if she wanted to, could sing “I Will Survive” straight-up and match Gaynor’s power. That’s not what she does here, though. Instead, she sings a jazz-informed version, dancing around the track’s rhythm rather than bulldozing straight through it. (She still shows plenty of power, though.) Late in the song, there’s an unexpected drop-the-bass moment, as the song incorporates a bit of Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor.” Check out the Aretha version, and read a few words about it from Aretha, below.

Aretha gave us a quote about it:

Just before I knew I would record “I Will Survive,” I brought Gloria Gaynor’s book We Will Survive and enjoyed the inspiring stories from the various sections. “I Will Survive” is a great song and one of the terrific party songs of an era. I had a ball doing it! It also spans generations as it’s my granddaughter Victorie and my favorite song! We’re survivors for sure. Love it!!!

Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics is out 10/21 on RCA. Pre-order it here.