Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rock Music Post IV: Donna Summer - The Legend

Donna Summer was a legend in my mind long before she was ever considered a legend. I first came to notice Donna in 1977 when a friend played "I Feel Love" for me. I had never heard anything like it before and I was totally amazed by the song. From that day I was a fan of Donna's music. I knew I was going to want to hear more of her music and discover who she was and what she looked like. I had heard her name before but until that day I had not paid attention to her music. As a matter of fact I was one of those classic rock listening "no disco" teenagers. Now, I own every album she has recorded on CD and most I also have on vinyl.

I will miss Donna Summer
- Randall Webb

Donna Summer 1948 - 2012

On May 17, 2012 Donna Summer's family released this official announcement:
Early this morning, we lost Donna Summer Sudano, a woman of many gifts, the greatest being her faith. While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can't express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time.
- The Sudano Family

The following are statements released by luminaries of the world:

Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Donna Summer. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Donna truly was the “Queen of Disco.” Her voice was unforgettable, and the music industry has lost a legend far too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Donna's family and her dedicated fans.
- US President Barack Obama

I'm so sad. This woman was the queen of disco and so much more," Sir Elton John told E! News. "Her records sound as good today as they ever did. That she has never been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a total disgrace, especially when I see the second-rate talent that has been inducted. She is a great friend to me and to the Elton John AIDS Foundation and I will miss her greatly.
- Sir Elton John

I was shocked to hear about Donna. She was so vital the last time I saw her a few months ago. I loved doing the duet with her. She had an amazing voice and was so talented...It's so sad.
- Barbra Streisand

Being a Rock & Roller when that kind of music came along, we felt threatened. And when she came out and did her thing, she made it be OK. She was the focal point of that era, we are going to miss her so so much!
- Steven Tyler

Awards and Milestones
Donna charted three #1 albums in the U.S. including "Live and More" (1978), "Bad Girls" (1979), "On The Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2" (1980)

She had four U.S. #1 hit singles: "MacArthur Park (1978), "Hot Stuff" (1979), "Bad Girls (1979), "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" (duet w/ Barbra Streisand) (1979)

Biggest Hit Single: "Hot Stuff" (1979 U.S.),  / "I Feel Love" (1977) and "Hot Stuff" (1979 (worldwide)

Grammy Awards: Five - (1979) Best R&B Vocal Performance (Female) for "Last Dance", (1980) Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female) for "Hot Stuff", (1984) Best Inspirational Performance for "He's a Rebel", (1985) Best Inspirational Performance for "Forgive Me" (1998) Best Dance Recording for "Carry On"

One time Juno Award nomination (Canada) for Best Selling International Single, "I Feel Love"

Won six American Music Awards

"I Feel Love" was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2004

"Last Dance" won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 1978.

To date Donna had been awarded three multi-platinum albums, eleven gold albums and twelve gold singles in the U.S.

Favorite Songs
 I have many many favorite songs by Donna summer. In this section I want to share a few that are especially special to me.
(hover over song and album titles for links to purchase discs and MP3s)

According to David Bowie, then in the middle of recording of his Berlin Trilogy with Brian Eno, its impact on the genre's direction was recognized early on: "One day in Berlin ... Eno came running in and said, 'I have heard the sound of the future.' ... he puts on 'I Feel Love', by Donna Summer ... He said, 'This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.' Which was more or less right."


This song was very indicative of the underground disco scene in the mid 1970's. 

"Hot Stuff" is one of Donna's legendary #1 tunes. This song was a huge hit around the world for Donna and even earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, making her not only the first African-American artist to achieve that feat, but also the first woman to ever win a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance. 

Donna originally wrote this song originally to give to Rod Stewart to record, but changed her mind at the last minute. 

"The Wanderer" ushered Donna into the 80's with a bold new danceable new wave rock sound that was seriously infectious.

Classic Donna Summer. This top ten hit, like her other hits, was a huge hit for her throughout the world. "Love Is In Control (Finger On the Trigger)" was the lead single off the Quincy Jones' produced album Donna Summer. It was written by Jones and Rod Temperton - who'd also written Jackson's "Rock with You", The Brothers Johnson's "Stomp" and Heatwave's "Boogie Nights".

The title track from her 1984 album which was only sold moderately but was an intereting album filled with some tasty tunes.

"Love Is The Healer" is one of two previously unreleased studio tracks from her album "Live and More Encore" an album which consisted of 11 Donna Summer classic tunes recorded in concert which had been filmed especially for the VH-1 along with the two newly released studio recordings "I Will Go With you" and "Love Is The Healer. The album brought Donna back onto the charts after a ten year absence.

"Mr. Music" is from "Crayons", Donna's last fully released album before her untimely passing.  The album was another comeback for Donna reaching #17 on the charts.

The last song released by Donna during her life. The song was her 14th #1 hit on Billboard's Dance Chart. Summer said of the song: "I wanted to give my fans something special and exciting and I couldn't think of a better theme than the glamour and allure of Paris. I want people to feel transported, whether they're listening on the dance floors of Ibiza or on their headphones at work. The idea is to let them escape into that magic world."

Favorite Albums

If I had to narrow it down to my 2 favorites they are the following two:

Bad Girls (1979)
This was Donna's trendsetting album. It's the one that firmly placed her as a worldwide superstar. From here there was no going back for Donna, she would forever be entrenched in the hearts and souls of millions of fans for the rest of her time here on earth.

Bad Girls Stats:
Chart Positions: #1 (US, Canada), #3 (Norway, New Zealand, Sweden), #6 (Australia), #7 (Germany) #9 (Japan), #23 (UK), #24 (Netherlands)
Sales: 2.5 million (US), 4.5 million (Worldwide)
Singles: "Hot Stuff" (#1 US, Australia, Canada / #2 Norway, Sweden / #5 Germany), "Bad Girls" (#1 US, Canada / #6 New Zealand), "Dim All The Lights" (#2 US), "Walk Away", "Sunset People"

Crayons (2008)
Donna Summer was 59 with the release of this album. It was a spectacular comeback. Her first studio album since 1994's "Christmas Spirit". The album was a huge success climbing all the way to #17 on the U.S. charts. The last Donna had been on the album charts with an all original album was in 1989 with her album "Another Time and Place". "Crayons" found Donna singing as strong, powerful and clear as she ever had. The songs rocked, danced, soothed and inspired. this is one of Donna's most diverse albums including a few great dance tunes, a little rock, a few ballads, some hip hop tinged numbers and even a dancehall reggaeton inspired tune. This was Donna's last studio album release.

Crayons Stats:
Chart Positions: #17 (US), #73 (Germany)
Singles: "I'm A Fire" (#1 US Dance Chart), "Stamp Your Feet (#1 US Dance Chart), "It's Only Love" (#14 US Dance Chart), "Sand On My Feet" (#30 US Adult Contemporary Chart),"Fame" (#1 US Dance Chart)

Donna Summer the world loves you. You may have left this Earth, but your music and your dance will live on forever!

1 comment:

  1. Nice tribute for a great singer, well done thanks for this post.



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