http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/13606676 click to hear the song
In the early to mid-80's, we really hit our stride in so many ways. Mike and I had really melded our styles, songs and arrangements; we had a great pattern as a group of arranging our "witnesses", skits, dances, themes and patterns into a pretty coherent message to which people could relate. From what people told us, I think we were getting real spiritual results: an increase of faith, hope and love like we ask for in every Rosary. During this time, there was one of Mike's songs that became a standard toward the end of every concert: "I'll Survive". For this one, everyone that could would go up front and stand in a line together and sway and then clap at the right moments. It had the feel of a old time church Gospel song. The song fit in especially well both when we were doing Covenant House stuff for runaways and, also, when we were doing the whole "Prodigal Daughter" theme.
Strangely, I have to admit that, back then, I didn't like this song! I even told Mike one time, 'you've done better' – not nice of me! I think I preferred more poppy or classical-toned songs from him, like "Lonely Dancer". But, you know what, I've been listening to this version I'm posting here as I worked on getting it ready and, I've got to say, I fell in love with this song for the first time. This version is pretty faithful to the way we always did it. The song really conveys a feeling from being way down in poverty and despair to going WAY up in hope, determination and love of neighbor. We've all been far down and this conveys the courage that comes from total trust in the Lord. The one line that shines out is "But who will change the bad to good and who will give the love that will change tomorrow." I've got to learn to love like God and I will. That's a GOOD reason to all sway, hold hands, clap together in a line, and belt out some strong tunes.
That's why I think it's always a mistake to get bogged down in "useless disputes about words", as Paul says, or to think purely human solutions can solve our enormous problems. Alexis de Toqueville saw the roots of our nation's greatness in the positive yet practical religious and spiritual energy lived out among us. "America is great because she is good; when she is no longer good, she will no longer be great." This song holds the key to our survival as a nation: faith in our Lord, unconquerable hope and agape love lived out in power.