Tribute to the late, Great Queen of Disco Donna Summer

DonnaS

Best known for energetic pulsating dance hits such as “Hot Stuff”, “ I Feel Love, Bad Girls” and “Last Dance”. Donna Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on 31st December 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts. Summer’s performance debut occurred at church when she was ten years old when she replaced a vocalist who failed to show up.Summer’s pastor invited her to perform, judging from her small frame and speaking voice that she would be an “amusing spectacle”, but instead Summer’s voice recalled a voice older than her years and frame. Summer later attended Boston’s Jeremiah E. Burke High School where she performed in school musicals and was considered popular. She was also something of a troublemaker, skipping home to attend parties, circumventing her parents’ strict curfew. In 1967, just weeks before graduation, Summer left for New York where she was a member of the blues rock band Crow. After they were passed by every record label, the band agreed to break up. Summer stayed in New York and auditioned for a role in thecounterculture musical, Hair. When Melba Moore was cast in the part, Summer agreed to take the role in the Munich production of the show. She moved to Munich, Germany after getting her parents’ reluctant approval. She achieved fame after signing as a solo artist to the pioneering disco label, Casablanca, in 1975 and her soaring voice and effervescent stage presence  helped to propel her first single “Love to Love You Baby” to No 4 in the UK charts and ignited the disco craze of the 1970s,  providing the soundtrack to a dance movement defined by sex, drugs and extravagant clothes summer eventually became fluent in German, singing various songs in German. She participated in the musicals Ich bin ich (the German version of The Me Nobody Knows), Godspell and Show Boat. Within three years she moved to Vienna, Austria and joined theVienna Volksoper. She briefly toured with an ensemble vocal group called FamilyTree, the creation of producer Guenter “Yogi” Lauke. In 1968, Summer released (as Donna Gaines) on Polydor her first single, a German version of the title “Aquarius” from the musical “Hair,” followed in 1971 by a second single, a cover of The Jaynetts’ “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses”, from a one-off European deal with Decca Records. In 1972, she issued the single “If You Walkin’ Alone” on Philips Records.She married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973 and had a daughter, Mimi, the same year. Citing marital problems caused by her affair with German artist (and future live-in boyfriend), Peter Mühldorfer, she divorced Sommer. She kept his last name, but anglicized it to “Summer”. She provided backing vocals on producer-keyboardist, Veit Marvos, on his 1972 Ariola Records release Nice to See You, credited as “Gayn Pierre”. Several subsequent singles included Summer performing with the group, but she often denied singing on any of the Marvos releases. The name “Gayn Pierre” also was used by Donna while performing in Godspell with Helmuth Sommer during 1972.

While singing background in a recording session at Munich’s Musicland Studios forThree Dog Night, Summer met German-based producers, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. The trio  began collaborating on songs together starting in 1974.  Summer’s first album, Lady of the Night became a hit success in selected countries with two songs, “The Hostage” and “Lady of the Night”, reaching the top of the charts in countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium.In mid-1975, while working on another album, Summer passed on an idea for a song that Moroder was working on labeling it as “Love to Love You”. Moroder liked what he heard The song was then sent to Casablanca in hopes of getting an American releaser and they requested that Moroder produce a longer version for discothèques. Moroder, Bellotte and Summer returned with a 17-minute version and Casablanca signed Summer and released the single in November 1975. The song generated controversy due to Summer’s moans and groans and some American and European radio stations, including the BBC, refused to play it “Love to Love You Baby” found chart success in several European countries and made the Top 5 in the United Kingdom despite the BBC ban. Other upcoming singles included “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It”, “Could It Be Magic”, “Spring Affair”, and “Winter Melody”, The subsequent albumsLove Trilogy and Four Seasons of Love both went gold in the U.S.In 1977, Summer released the concept album I Remember Yesterday. This album, again co-produced by Moroder and Bellotte, included her second top ten single, “I Feel Love”, which reached number six in the U.S. and number one in the UK.

She released Another concept album,   Once Upon a Time and In 1978,  released  “MacArthur Park”,”Heaven Knows” In 1978 She  married Bruce Sudano & acted in the film Thank God It’s Friday playing a singer determined to perform at a hot disco club. The film met modest success, but a song from the film, titled “Last Dance”, reached number three on the Hot 100 and resulted in Summer winning her first Grammy Award. In 1979, Summer performed at the world-televised Music for UNICEF Concert, joining  ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart, John Denver, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson for a TV special that raised funds and awareness for the world’s children. Summer began work on her next project with Moroder and Bellotte, Bad Girls. Summer based the whole concept on prostitution (revisiting the theme for 1974’s Lady of the Night), even dressing as a hooker herself on the cover art.The album became a huge success, spawning the number one hits “Hot Stuff” and the title track and the number two “Dim All the Lights”. With “MacArthur Park”, “Hot Stuff”, “Bad Girls” and the Barbra Streisand duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)”, Summer achieved four number one hits within a thirteen-month period. Those songs, along with “Heaven Knows”, “Last Dance”, “Dim All the Lights” and “On the Radio” (from her upcoming double-album), would give her eight U.S. Top 5 singles within a two-year period. “Hot Stuff” later won her a second Grammy in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.Summer released On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II, her first (international) greatest hits set, in 1979 featuring A new song  “On the Radio.

After the release of the On the Radio hits album, Summer wanted to branch out into other musical styles in addition to disco, which led to tensions between her and Casablanca Records , so Summer and the label parted ways in 1980 and she signed withGeffen Records, Summer’s first Geffen album, The Wanderer, featured an eclectic mixture of sounds similar to Bad Girls but with little emphasis on Summer’s past disco success, instead bringing elements of rock, rockabilly, new wave and gospel music. featuring the Singles The Wanderer, “Cold Love” and “Who Do You Think You’re Foolin’,” were only modestly received.When Summer presented Geffen with her projected second album, I’m a Rainbow, the label disapproved of its production, sensing Moroder’s sound had grown stale (in spite of his present success with Blondie (Call Me), and immediate future success with Phil Oakey (Together in Electric Dreams) and Melissa Manchester (Thief of Hearts)), and advised Summer to change producers, leading to an argument between the artist and the label. Eventually, Moroder and Bellotte and Summer agreed to part ways with Geffen and hired top R&B and pop producer Quincy Jones to produce Summer’s next album, Donna Summer which took over six months to recordand was released in 1982. Among its releases were the top ten hit “Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)”  “State of Independence”  and “The Woman in Me” .Summer’S released her next album She Works Hard for the Money & the title song became a major hit & also garnered another Grammy nomination. The album featured “Unconditional Love” & “Love Has A Mind of Its Own”,  Summer returned on Geffen Records with her next release.  Cats Without Claws which included the Song s”There Goes My Baby”,  “Eyes” and “I’m Free,” .On January 19, 1985, she sang at the nationally-televised 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala the day before the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan. She was introduced by Merv Griffin. In 1987, Summer returned with the album All Systems Go, which  featured the single “Dinner with Gershwin,” , “All Systems Go”  .For Summer’s next album, Geffen Records hired the British hit production team of Stock Aitken Waterman (or SAW), who enjoyed incredible success writing and producing for such acts as Kylie Minogue, Dead or Alive, Bananarama and Rick Astley, , entitled Another Place and Time,  The album was released in Europe in March 1989 and featured the singles “This Time I Know It’s for Real”  “I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt” (UK No. 7) and “Love’s About to Change My Heart” (UK No. 20).

In 1990, a Warner compilation, The Best of Donna Summer, was released. The album went gold in the UK after the song “State of Independence” was re-released there to promote the album. The following year, Summer emerged with the album Mistaken Identity, which included elements of R&B as well as new jack swing. While the album itself failed to become a success, the song “When Love Cries” continued her success on the R&B charts, reaching No. 18. In 1992, Summer embarked on a world tour to promote the album and later that year received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1993, Polygram issued the two-disc set The Donna Summer Anthology, which included 34 tracks of all of Summer’s material with Casablanca and Mercury and songs from her tenures with Atlantic and Geffen.Summer signed with Mercury/Polygram that same year, and in 1994 issued the Christmas album Christmas Spirit, which included renditions of classic Christmas songs such as “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World” and Summer-penned songs. Another hits collection, Endless Summer: Greatest Hits, was released, featuring eighteen songs that were single cuts of the songs differentiating from the Anthology set, where fuller length recordings were featured. In 1992, she reunited with Giorgio Moroder, recording the dance song “Carry On”, which later won Summer the first Grammy given to anyone in its dance category. The 1995 dance tune “Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)” went number-one on the dance charts in the U.S. while becoming a top 30 hit in the UK, peaking at number 21.During this time, Summer was offered a guest role on the sitcom Family Matters as Steve Urkel’s (Jaleel White) Aunt Oona. She made a second appearance in 1997. In 1998, Summer received a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, the first to do so, after a remixed version of her 1992 collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, “Carry On”, was released in 1997. In 1999, Summer taped a live television special for VH1 titled Donna Summer – Live and More Encore, producing the second highest ratings that year for the network after their annual Divas special. A CD of the event was released by Epic Records and featured two studio recordings, “I Will Go with You (Con te partirò)” and “Love Is the Healer”, both of which reached number one on the U.S. dance charts.

In 2000, Summer participated in VH1’s third annual Divas special, dedicated to Diana Ross, though Summer sang mostly her own material for the show. In 2003, Summer issued her autobiography, Ordinary Girl: The Journey, and released a best-of set titledThe Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer. In 2004, Summer was inducted into theDance Music Hall of Fame alongside the Bee Gees and Barry Gibb as an artist. Her classic song, “I Feel Love”, was also inducted that night. In 2004 and 2005, Summer’s success on the dance charts continued with the songs “You’re So Beautiful” and “I Got Your Love”.In a 2008 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Summer claimed that one month before theSeptember 11 attacks she had a premonition that they would occur. She was living in Manhattan at the time of the attacks. In the same interview she said for a period of time after the attacks she was so depressed she was unable to leave her bedroom and left her blinds closed.[19]In 2008, Summer released her first studio album of fully original material in 17 years, entitled Crayons. Released on the Sony BMG label Burgundy Records, it peaked at No. 17 on the United States Top 200 Album Chart, her highest placing on the chart since 1983. The songs “I’m a Fire”, “Stamp Your Feet” and “Fame (The Game)” reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart. The ballad “Sand on My Feet” was released to adult contemporary stations and reached number 30 on that chart. Summer said, “I wanted this album to have a lot of different directions on it. I did not want it to be any one baby. I just wanted it to be a sampler of flavors and influences from all over the world. There’s a touch of this, a little smidgeon of that, a dash of something else, like when you’re cooking.” On the song “The Queen Is Back”, Summer reveals her wry and witty self-awareness of her musical legacy and her public persona. “I’m making fun of myself,” she admits. “There’s irony. It’s poking fun at the idea of being called a queen. That’s a title that has followed me, followed me and followed me. We were sitting and writing and that title kept popping up in my mind and I’m thinking, ‘Am I supposed to write this? Is this too arrogant to write?’ But people call me ‘the queen,’ so I guess it’s ok to refer to myself as what everybody else refers to me as. We started writing the song and thought it was kind of cute and funny.” Summer wrote “The Queen Is Back” and “Mr. Music” withJ.R. Rotem and Evan Bogart, the son of Casablanca Records founder Neil Bogart.On December 11, 2009, Summer performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway in honor of American President Barack Obama. She was backed by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.

On July 29, 2010, Summer gave an interview with Allvoices.com wherein she was asked if she would consider doing an album of standards. She said, I actually am, probably in September. I will begin work on a standards album. I will probably do an all-out dance album and a standards album. I’m going to do both and we will release them however we’re going to release them. We are not sure which is going first. Summer’s husband, Bruce Sudano, stated during his speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction on Summer’s behalf that Donna never recorded the standards album as each time they went into the studio to record standards, she preferred to record new songs instead.In August 2010, she released the single “To Paris With Love”, co-written with Bruce Roberts and produced by Peter Stengaard. The single (her last charted single) reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart in October 2010, Also that month Summer appeared in the PBS television special Hitman Returns: David Foster and Friends. In it Summer performed with Seal on a medley of the songs “Un-Break My Heart / Crazy / On the Radio” before closing the show with “Last Dance”.On September 15, 2010, Summer appeared as a guest celebrity singing alongside rising star Prince Poppycock on the television show America’s Got Talent.On October 16, 2010, she performed at a benefit concert at the Phoenix Symphony.On June 6, 2011, Summer was a guest judge on the show Platinum Hit in an episode entitled “Dance Floor Royalty”.In July 2011, Summer was working at Paramount Recording Studios in Los Angeles with her nephew, the rapper and producerO’Mega Red. Together they worked on a track titled “Angel”.On December 11, 2012, after four prior nominations, Donna posthumously was announced to be one of the 2013 inductees to theRock and Roll Hall of Fame and was inducted on April 18, 2013, at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater

After having a glittering career that spanned four decades,  Donna Summer sadly passed away on 17th May 2012 in Florida, while attempting to put the finishing touches to her 24th album after having a short but acute battle with lung cancer which she beleived was the result of inhaling toxic dust from the collapsed Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in the aftermath of 9/11 terror attack. During her incredible music career Summer made 24 albums which put the disco into discography, won five Grammys and in 2012 she was a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to celebrate her extraordinary life,long-lasting career and her continuing legacy.

Donna Summer – Live & More Encore

New Years Eve

In the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, is on December 31. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat,drinnk alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some people attend Church services. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into January 1 (New Year’s Day). Island nations of Kiribati and Samoa are the first to welcome the New Year while Honolulu, Hawaii is among the last places to welcome the New Year.

The United Kingdom’s celebrations are noticeably divided among the three nations that compose it: England, Scotland and Wales (each has its section below). In England, clocks symbolize the transition that occurs at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. The celebration in London focuses on Big Ben, the bell and by association, the clock housed in the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster. The celebrations are televised from London by the BBC in the English regions, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Parties are held across the country, in pubs, clubs, and private houses.At the stroke of midnight, people join hands in a ring and sing Auld Lang Syne.

On New Year’s Eve 2010, an estimated 250,000 people gathered to view an eight-minute fireworks display around and above the London Eye which was, for the first time, set to a musical soundtrack. featuring songs by  Blur, The Beatles, and Queen. The celebrations in London continued into January 1, with the New Year’s Day Parade, The 2011 parade involved more than 10,000 musicians, cheerleaders and performers. For the arrival of 2012, there were a few small changes. In addition to the fireworks going off at the London Eye, more fireworks went off from the Big Ben with every chime.

Other major New Year events are held in the cities of Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle. Bideford, in north Devon, is also known for its New Year’s Eve celebrations, featuring a carnival and fancy dress. The celebration centers on Bideford’s quayside and around its Old Bridge, with a lone piper playing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, followed by a fireworks display.The Welsh tradition of giving gifts and money on New Year’s Day (Calennig) is an ancient custom that survives in modern-day Wales, though nowadays it is now customary to give bread and cheese. Thousands of people descend every year on Cardiff to enjoy live music, catering, ice-skating, funfairs and fireworks. Many of the celebrations take place at Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall.

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is, however, normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of New Year’s Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January which is a Scottish Bank Holiday. It is celebrated with several different customs, such as First-Footing, which involves friends or family members going to each other’s houses with a gift of whisky and sometimes a lump of coal. Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, hosts one of the world’s most famous New Year celebrations. The celebration is focused on a major street party along Princes Street. The cannon is fired at Edinburgh Castle at the stroke of midnight, followed by a large fireworks display. Edinburgh hosts a festival of four or five days, beginning on 28 December, and lasting until New Year’s Day or January 2, which is also a bank holiday in Scotland. Other cities across Scotland, such as Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stirling have large organised celebrations too, including fireworks at midnight. BBC Scotland broadcast the celebrations in Edinburgh to a Scottish audience, with the celebrations also screened across the world. STV covers both worldwide New Year celebrations & details of events happening around Scotland.

 

Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith)

Aerosmith_PumpTom Hamilton, The Bass Player with rock Band Aerosmith celebrates his birthday on  31st December. Sometimes referred to as “The Bad Boys from Boston” and “America’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band.”  The band was formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970. Guitarist Joe Perry and bassist Tom Hamilton, originally in a band together called the Jam Band, met up with singer Steven Tyler, drummer Joey Kramer, and guitarist Ray Tabano, and formed Aerosmith. In 1971, Tabano was replaced by Brad Whitford, and the band began developing a following in Boston, Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has come to also incorporate elements of pop, heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many subsequent rock artists.   They were signed to Columbia Records in 1972, and released a string of multi-platinum albums, beginning with their 1973 eponymous debut album, followed by their 1974 album Get Your Wings. In 1975, the band broke into the mainstream with the album Toys in the Attic, and their 1976 follow-up Rocks cemented their status as hard rock superstars.The band released two more albums, toured extensively, and charted a string of Hot 100 singles. By the end of the 1970s, they were among the most popular hard rock bands in the world and developed a loyal following of fans, often referred to as the “Blue Army”. However, drug addiction and internal conflict took their toll on the band, which resulted in the departures of Perry and Whitford in 1979 and 1981, respectively; they were replaced by Jimmy Crespo and Rick Dufay. The band did not fare well between 1980 and 1984, releasing a lone album, Rock in a Hard Place, which went gold but failed to match their previous successes.   Perry and Whitford returned in 1984 and the band signed a new deal with Geffen Records. After a comeback tour, the band recorded Done with Mirrors, which won some critical praise but failed to come close to commercial expectations. It was not until the band sobered up and released 1987′s Permanent Vacation that they regained the level of popularity they had experienced in the 1970s.Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, the band scored several hits including Dude, looks like a lady Walk this Way (Featuring RUN DMC) and “love in an elvator“, and won numerous awards for music from the multi-platinum albums Pump, Get a Grip, and Nine Lives.

The band also became a pop culture phenomenon with popular music videos and notable appearances in television, film, and video games. Their comeback has been described as one of the most remarkable and spectacular in rock ‘n’ roll history. Additional albums followed in 2001 and 2004 including the songs Crazy  (Featuring Alicia Silverstone & Liv Tyler) and I don’t Wanna Miss a Thing, from the film ArmageddonAfter 42 years of performing, the band continues to tour and record music. Their latest album, Music from Another Dimension, was  released in 2012.   Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time, having sold more than 150 million albums worldwide,including 66.5 million albums in the United States alone. They also hold the record for the most gold and multi-platinum albums by an American group. The band has scored 21 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, nine number-one Mainstream Rock hits, four Grammy Awards, and ten MTV Video Music Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and were included among both Rolling Stone’s and VH1′s lists of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Andy Summers (The Police)

Andy Summers, British guitarist with rock band The Police was born December 31st 1942. Formed in London in 1977.The Police consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and are generally regarded as one of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success, playing a style of rock that was influenced bypunk, reggae, and jazz.

They made many albums including Regatta de Blance, Zenyatta Mondatta and Their 1983 album, Synchronicity, which reached number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, and sold over 8 million copies in the US. The group disbanded in 1986, but reunited in early 2007 for a one-off world tour lasting until August 2008. The band has won a number of music awards throughout their career, including six Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group once, anMTV Video Music Award, and in 2003, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Police have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, and were the world’s highest-earning musicians in 2008, thanks to their reunion tour

THE POLICE GREATEST HITShttp://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLarJd9RZ0sKcG8H8R4gHV-8o87vEZIUlV

 

Danny McNamara (Embrace)

Danny McNamara, the lead singer with the band Embrace was born 31st December 1970. Embrace are an English band from Bailiff Bridge, Brighouse, West Yorkshire and consists of brothers singer Danny McNamara and guitarist Richard McNamara, bassist Steve Firth, keyboardist Mickey Dale, and drummer Mike Heaton.The band was begun in a small outbuilding at the bottom of a garden in Bailiff Bridge in 1990. A bass player joined the McNamara brothers, Richard playing guitar and Danny singing. The three of them started creating songs, with the aid of a cassette recorder, and soon a drum machine was added. In 1992 The band recorded a three track demo in a 16 track recording studio in Huddersfield which was sold at concerts.A single, “All You Good Good People” was released in February 1997.  their debut album The Good Will Out was released on 8 June 1998 and went to number 1 in the UK Albums Chart.In 27 March 2000 the band released Drawn from Memory. the album was supported by an acclaimed tour, during which they were supported by then-fledgling Coldplay.

Afterwards they recorded their third studio album If You’ve Never Been, which was released on 3 September 2001. In 2004 they released the album Out of Nothing, which reached number one in the UK in 2004. The single that preceded this album was “Gravity”, which had been written by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. Danny McNamara and Martin having become friends after Coldplay had supported Embrace in 2000.In October 2005, the band released their first b-side compilation, called Dry Kids: B-Sides 1997–2005, featuring b-sides from their previous album and including many fan-favourites such as “Blind” and a live rendition of D12′s “How Come”. The band’s fifth studio album, This New Day was released on 27 March 2006, with the single “Nature’s Law”.  The band then had a break through much of 2007 to 2010. after having released five studio albums, one singles album and one B-sides compilation –  The Good Will Out (1998), Drawn from Memory (2000), If You’ve Never Been (2001), Out of Nothing (2004) and This New Day (2006).