The Summer Sky Music Festival has just acquired a new headliner…
On 17 May 2012, LaDonna Adrian Gaines, better known as Donna Summer, left this mortal coil at the age of 63 due to cancer, silencing the Queen of Disco. This edition of Music Monday is in tribute to Summer’s career.
“Love to Love You Baby” – 1975: Prior to the release of the single from her second studio album of the same name, Summer once fronted a psychedelic rock band called Crow, relocated to West Germany, and paired up with the songwriting duo of Pete Bellotte and Giorgio Moroder. “Love to Love You Baby” was originally intended to be a demo for other singers, but Moroder insisted Summer’s “demo” be released. The rest became history once the trio brought an extended cut of the song to Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart, reaching the #2 position on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1976.
“I Feel Love” – 1977: A few albums later, the former B-side to “Can’t We Just Sit Down (And Talk About It)” from Summer’s concept album I Remember Yesterday — propelled by Moroder’s analogue synthesizers — took the dance floor and the whole of electronic music by force, becoming a #1 in the United Kingdom, and an anthem for the gay community around the world.
“Hot Stuff” – 1979: While disco was still popular, heavy metal and punk were making more noise in the mainstream. Thus, Moroder and Bellotte incorporated hard rock into a few of the songs from Summer’s seventh studio disc Bad Girls, notably in the title track and in “Hot Stuff.” The album became her best-selling work of her long career, helping Summer to win a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance as well.
“Cold Love” – 1980: A year later, disco finally began to wane in a dramatic backlash not seen since John Lennon stated his band were “bigger than Jesus.” Wanting to leave disco behind herself, Summer released the New Wave/rock-inspired The Wanderer, netting her three Top 40 singles in the United States and a Grammy nomination.
“She Works Hard for the Money” – 1983: Though she had been signed to Geffen a couple of years prior — and having to part ways with Bellotte/Moroder in the process — Summer owed her former label (now owned by Mercury) an album as part of her contractual obligation. While the album of the same name produced her biggest hit in the new decade and netted her a couple more Grammy nods, her output with Geffen could not top her work elsewhere; the label let Summer go in 1989 prior to the release of her fourteenth disc, Another Place and Time.
I leave you all with “The Queen is Back” from what would be her final studio album, 2008′s Crayons. Rest in peace, Mme Summer.