Donna Summer


Her lifetime in music was a study in contrasts: The "Queen Of Disco" who was a church-reared gospel singer throughout childhood, and wrote most of her own songs; the Diva De Tutti Dive, the first true pop diva of the modern era, who spent her formative years in a psychedelic rock band, even auditioned for Broadway's Hair in the early '70s. She did not get the part, but when Hair opened in Germany, Boston's LaDonna Adrian Gaines (1948-2012) was cast as Sheila. She settled in Germany and began a long-term association with Munich song­writers-producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. They heard her demo lyric "love to love you baby" and at Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart's request, turned it into a 17-minute opus of orgasmic delight (Donna said she was evoking Marilyn Monroe). The song was Summer's U.S. chart debut and first of nineteen #1 Dance hits between '75 and 2008 (second only to Madonna). Summer made chart history in 1978-80, as the only artist to have three consecutive double-LPs hit #1: Live And More, Bad Girls and On The Radio. She was also the first female artist with four #1 singles in a 13-month period: "MacArthur Park," "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls" and "No More Tears" (with Barbra Streisand). Her first U.S.-recorded LP, 1982's self-titled Donna Summer, produced by Quincy Jones, featured Bruce Spring­steen, Roy Bittan and many American rockers. "She Works Hard For The Money" kept Donna on top in 1983, followed by the Top 10 "This Time I Know It's For Real" in '89. Starting in 2009, she extended her string of #1 U.S. Dance hits with "I'm A Fire," "Stamp Your Feet," "Fame (The Game)" and "To Paris With Love." Endless covers and sampling of her music by producers and DJs have kept the five-time Grammy Award-winner's pioneering body of work on the front-line.