Donna Summer, the late great Queen of Disco sadly passed away 17 May 2012. 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 after being invited to perform by the local pastor. Summer 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.
Summer auditioned for a role in the 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, which was defined by sex, drugs and extravagant clothes. She participated in the musicals Ich bin ich (the German version of The Me Nobody Knows), Godspell and Show Boat and moved to Vienna. In 1968, Summer released 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”, in 1972 she released the single “If You Walkin’ Alone” and married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973 with whom she had a daughter, Mimi, the same year. Sadly she later divorced Sommer Citing marital problems caused by her affair with German artist (and future live-in boyfriend), Peter Mühldorfer. However She kept his last name, but anglicized it to “Summer”.
She provided backing vocals on producer-keyboardist, Veit Marvos’ 1972 Record Nice to See You. Summer then met German-based producers, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte while at a recording session at Munich’s Musicland Studios and The trio began collaborating on songs together. Summer’s first album, Lady of the Night contained the songs “The Hostage” and “Lady of the Night”. Summer and Morodor then released the song love to Love You and an American label requested that Moroder produce a longer version for discothèques. So Moroder, Bellotte and Summer returned with a 17-minute version. 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. Despite this “Love to Love You Baby” became incredibly successful And was followed by “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It”, “Could It Be Magic”, “Spring Affair”, and “Winter Melody”, she released The albums love Trilogy and Four Seasons of Love and Then In 1977, Summer released the concept album I Remember Yesterday, which included the song “I feel Love”.
She released Another concept album, Once Upon a Time and In 1978, released “MacArthur Park” and “Heaven Knows”. In 1978 Summer married Bruce Sudano & acted in the film Thank God It’s Friday playing a singer determined to perform at a hot disco club. This contained the song “Last Dance” which won a 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’s next album Bad Girls became a huge success spawning the hits “Hot Stuff”, “Dim All the Lights”. With “MacArthur Park”,“Bad Girls” and the Barbra Streisand duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)”, these together with the songs. “Heaven Knows”, “Last Dance”, “Dim All the Lights” and “On the Radio” (from her upcoming double-album). “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. Summer signed withGeffen Records in 1980 Summer’s first Geffen album, The Wanderer, featured an eclectic mixture of sounds similar to Bad Girls combined with rock, rockabilly, new wave and gospel music. And contained the Singles The Wanderer, “Cold Love” and “Who Do You Think You’re Foolin’,”. Eventually, though Moroder and Bellotte and Summer left Geffen and hired top R&B and pop producer Quincy Jones to produce Summer’s next album, Donna Summer (1982) which contained the songs “Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)” “State of Independence” and “The Woman in Me”.
Summer’s next album featured the song She Works Hard for the Money which became a major hit & also garnered another Grammy nomination as well as “Unconditional Love” & “Love Has A Mind of Its Own”. Donna Summer’s next release. Cats Without Claws included the Song s”There Goes My Baby”, “Eyes” and “I’m Free,” . On January 19, 1985, she sang at the 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala before the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan. then In 1987, Summer returned with the album All Systems Go, featuring the singles “Dinner with Gershwin,” and “All Systems Go”. For Summer’s next album, She teamed up with 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 featured the singles “This Time I Know It’s for Real” “I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt” and “Love’s About to Change My Heart”. Then In 1990, the compilation, The Best of Donna Summer, was released. In 1991 Summer released the album Mistaken Identity containing the song “When Love Cries” and 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, the two-disc set The Donna Summer Anthology was released, containing 34 tracks. In 1994 Summer released the Christmas album Christmas Spirit which included renditions of classic Christmas songs such as “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World” together with Summer-penned songs. Then 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, to record the dance song “Carry On”, which won Summer the first Grammy given to anyone in its dance category, then In 1995 she released the dance tune “Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)”. Summer was also offered a guest role on the sitcom Family Matters as Steve Urkel’s (Jaleel White) Aunt Oona, making a second appearance in 1997. Summer received a Grammy Award in 1998 for Best Dance Recording, after a remixed version of her 1992 collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, “Carry On”, was released in 1997. Then In 1999, Summer taped a live television special for VH1 titled Donna Summer – Live and More Encore, Featuring the songs “I Will Go with You (Con te partirò)” and “Love Is the Healer”. In 2000, Summer participated in VH1’s third annual Divas special, dedicated to Diana Ross, singing her own material and 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 the Dance Music Hall of Fame alongside the Bee Gees and Barry Gibb as an artist. In 2004 and 2005, Summer released the songs “You’re So Beautiful” and “I Got Your Love”. Summer also claimed that whilst living in Manhattan she had a premonition concerning The September 11 Attacks one month before they occurred
In 2008, Summer released her first studio album of fully original material in 17 years, entitled Crayons, which contained the songs “I’m a Fire”, “Stamp Your Feet”, “Fame (The Game)”,”The Queen is Back”,the ballad “Sand on my Feet” and “Mr. Music” with J.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, backed by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. In August 2010, she released the single “To Paris With Love”, and also 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 worked Paramount Recording Studios in Los Angeles with her nephew, the rapper and producer Omega Red, producing the song “Angel”.
Sadly After having a glittering career that spanned four decades, Donna Summer tragically passed away 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. Donna 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. 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.