This Day in Black History: Sept. 7, 1949

Singer Gloria Gaynor was born in Newark, New Jersey.

Posted: 09/07/2013 12:00 AM EDT

(Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Gloria Gaynor set dance floors on fire with her classic ‘70s hits “I Will Survive” and “Never Can Say Goodbye.” She was born on Sept. 7, 1949, in Newark, New Jersey. Destined to be a singer, she was raised in a home filled with music. Her father played the ukulele and guitar and sang professionally in nightclubs with a group called Step 'n' Fetchit. Her brothers were in a gospel singing quartet.

Gaynor got her start in business in 1975. At 19 years old, she signed a contract with Columbia Records. That same year, she made history when “Never Can Say GoodBye” became the first dance song to reach No. 1 on the newly created Billboard “Disco Action Charts.”

Gaynor’s contributions to music and African-American entertainment continue to resonate 30 years later. On Sept. 19, 2005, Gloria, along with her hit song “I Will Survive,” was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame. The song was re-recorded more than 200 times by accomplished artists such as Gladys Knight, Chante Moore and Diana Ross.

She continues to add to her legacy. She has released 19 albums since Never Can Say Goodbye in 1975.

In 2013, she penned a memoir appropriately titled I Will Survive. Additionally she continues to tour and lends her support to numerous charities.

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