Donna Summer: The queen of disco music

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Mario Lafontaine Director and creative producer. Music specialist TW: @lafontainetouch About Donna Summer
• Name: LaDonna Adrian Gaines • He was born on December 31, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts • She was a singer, composer, pianist and actress, internationally famous for her disco and pop genres • She was the first artist to have three consecutive albums to reach number # 1 in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 • Sold more than 150 million copies worldwide • He married Helmut Sommer, and from there he got his stage name Donna Summer • He was diagnosed with lung cancer, and died on May 17, 2012, at his home in Naples, Florida.
His childhood
• Daughter of Andrew and Mary Gaines. • He grew up in the Boston neighborhood of Mission Hill with his other six siblings. • His father was a butcher and his mother a school teacher. • Summer’s mother said that before she spoke, she sang. • He made his acting debut at age ten, in church, replacing a vocalist who did not show up. • At that moment, while Summer was singing, she began to cry and felt that God was telling her that she would be very famous • In 1967, a few weeks before graduating, he moved to New York, where he was a member of the rock band, Crow.
His personal life
• He married actor Helmuth Sommer in 1972 and the following year they had their daughter Mimi Sommer. • They divorced in 1975, she kept her married name, translating it into English. • He met Bruce Sudano in 1978 when he was a member of the group Brooklyn Dreams (they composed the hit “Bad Girls” together) and they got married two years later. They had two children Brooklyn and Amanda Sudano and the marriage remained united until the death of the singer in 2012. • In 1994 Donna started a more discreet life; he moved with his family from Los Angeles to Nashville, and he turned to painting. She was an accomplished artist and came to exhibit in Japan, supported by Steven Spielberg. • Wrote two books and also became a partner and producer in the film company Warner Bros., with whom she produced two different comic series
Beginnings in the music of Donna Summer • Auditioned for a role in the musical Hair, but did not stay, the position was won by Melba Moore. • Luckily, when the musical Hair went on tour in Europe, they chose Donna to replace Moore. • Participated in musicals Ich bin ich, Godspell and Show Boat. • After three years in Germany he moved to Vienna, Austria and joined the Volksoper in Vienna. • In 1968, Summer released her first single in Polydor, a German version of the musical Hair, which was called Wassermann (Aquarius) • Followed in 1971 for a second single, called Sally Go ‘Round the Roses with The Jaynetts. • In 1972, his third single If You Walkin ‘Alone was released.
Musical success
• While singing as a chorister in a recording session at Munich Musicland Studios for Three Dog Night, Summer met with producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellote. • Among the 3 they started making songs in 1974. • With a demo they reached an agreement with the European label Groovy Records. • The label released Summer’s first album, Lady of the Night. The album became a worldwide success with the songs The Hostage and Lady of The Night, which were number one in countries such as Holland and Belgium. • While working on a new album, Summer collaborated on a song that Moroder was working on for another artist in the then-rising disco style: Love to Love You Baby. Summer said she had imagined that Marilyn Monroe was singing this song. • When recording the song Donna made gasps and groans, the song had 23 “orgasms”. However, when they asked Donna “if she had been touched” or stimulated during the recording, she answered: “Touch me? Yes, one leg ” • Love to Love You Baby was initially released in Europe, but several stations rejected it for their eroticism. • A copy arrived in the United States and fell into the hands of Neil Bogart, president of Casablanca Records. Bogart, known for his lavish parties, put the song to the test by making it sound in one of his celebrations; the reaction of the guests was so enthusiastic, they asked for it again and again. • The manager contacted Summer, and asked for an extended version for the dance in the clubs. • A 17-minute version was made, which did not fit on a single-size vinyl record and had to be edited on a 12-inch version: the maxi-single, a format that Donna Summer proved to be a pioneer. • In early 1976, Love to Love You Baby reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, while the album of the same name, sold more than one million copies. • Her songs reigned on the dance floors and everyone associated them with the nightlife of clubs like Studio 54, but she always moderated her social life and rarely stayed up late. • Donna displaced Gloria Gaynor who had the title of “the queen of nightclubs”. • In 1977, Donna released a double album inspired by the myth of Cinderella, Once Upon A Time. The following year he released a rhythmic version of the MacArthur Park ballad. The song was the first “top 1” of Donna in the United States and belonged to his first album recorded live, Live and More, which became a platinum record. • In 1978, she participated as an actress in the film Thank God it’s Friday, the main theme, Last Dance, was another great success on the radio; He also won the Oscar for best song. He also received a Grammy award. • In 1979, he fell into stages of anxiety and depression, began to use tranquilizers and other prescription drugs. He ended up becoming addicted to them and had to receive treatment to solve it. • That same year, he made an unusual duet with Barbra Streissand singing (No More Tears) Enough is Enough; a rare incursion of Barbra in the disc genre, which was also included in Barbra’s album Wet. This song was also released on “maxi-single” and was a duel of voices of the two queens of the “gay” community.

From the dance genre to pop
• In 1980, Summer broke his relationship with Casablanca Records due to discrepancies over the musical style he wanted to develop in the future. • He signed a contract with Geffen Records, a label founded by David Geffen, and he released the album The Wanderer, already influenced by new wave and rock • He did not do very well with this commercial relationship, he made two albums, which were practically a failure … Summer breaks his relationship with Giorgio Moroder, and Geffen, and recruits as producer Quincy Jones. The collaboration between Donna and Quincy resulted in the album Donna Summer, with songs like Love Is in Control (“top 10” on the US charts) and State of Independence. • After this, Donna returned to have discs that were a failure, in fact it was one failure after another, which were largely due to the obligatory relationship with Casa Blanca Records. In addition, everything was complicated when they were attributed anti-homosexual statements related to AIDS that provoked strong criticism. Donna insisted that everything was false and clarified that she respected the way of life of people like homosexuals.
The 90’s
• In 1990 and 1993, two compilations of her successes were published and, in 1991, Donna dared to sound new jack swing publishing the album Mistaken Identity. • In 1994 he approached the gospel with the Christmas Spirit Christmas album. • Donna Summer participated sporadically in television; in 1994 and 1997 he attended several episodes of the American series Cosas de casa where he played Aunt Oona.
The 2000
• In 2008, Summer published Crayons, in which he experimented with Latin American rhythms. • In 2011 he released the song To Paris with Love, which would turn out to be the last.
Death of Donna Summer
• On May 17, 2012, Summer died in the morning, at home in Naples, Florida at the age of 63, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, which was not related to smoking. • It is believed that the development of his illness was caused by the inhalation of toxic particles after the terrorist attacks of 11-S in New York. But the cause could be another: as it happened with other painters all over the world, it is not ruled out that the cancer was due to the inhalation of the fumes of the oils that Donna used to paint; one of his lesser known hobbies. • Her funeral was held in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 23, 2012. She was buried in Harpeth Hills.

The 12 best songs of Donna Summer by Mario Lafontaine
• 1 / Love To Love You Baby (First great success that created controversy, produced and composed by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Donna) 1975 • 2 / Could It Be Magic (Composed by Barry Manilow, based on a prelude by Federico Chopin, produced by Giorgio Moroder) 1976 • 3 / I Feel Love (Produced and composed by Giorgio Moroder, Letra de Donna) 1977 • 4 / The Deep (Down, Deep Inside) Produced and composed by John Barry (James Bond) lyrics by Donna, Theme of the movie The Deep with Robert Shaw, Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset) 1977 • 5 / Last Dance (Produced by Giorgio Moroder, part of the soundtrack of Thank God It’s Friday, where she performs, Oscar winner for best song, composed by Paul Jabara) 1978 • 6 / Mc Arthur Park (Suite produced by Giorgio Moroder, composed by Jimmy Webb (Canada) originally recorded by English actor and singer Richard Harris in the second part of the sixties) 1978 • 7 / Hot Stuff (Produced by Giorgio Moroder, music and lyrics by Pete Bellote, Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey) 1979 • 8 / On The Radio (Produced by Giorgio Moroder, lyrics by Donna Summer, theme of the movie Foxes, directed by Adrian Lyne with Jodie Foster and Scott Baio) 1980 • 9 / No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) (A duet with Barbra Streisand, composed by Paul Jabara and Bruce Roberts, produced by Giorgio Moroder and Gary Klein) 1979 • 10 / State Of Indepence (Cover, composed by Vangelis and Jon Anderson (singer of Yes), produced by Quincy Jones 1981 • 11 / She Works Hard For The Money (Composed and produced by Michael Omartian, lyrics by Donna) 1983 • 12 / This Time I Know It’s For Real (Composed and produced by Stock, Aitken and Waterman, lyrics by Donna) 1989
Studio albums
1974 Lady of the Night 1975 Love to Love You Baby 1976 A Love Trilogy 1976 Four Seasons of Love 1977 I Remember Yesterday 1977 Once Upon a Time 1979 Bad Girls 1980 The Wanderer 1981 I’m a Rainbow 1982 Donna Summer 1983 She Works Hard for the Money 1984 Cats Without Claws 1987 All Systems Go 1989 Another Place and Time 1991 Mistaken Identity 1994 Christmas Spirit 2008 Crayons

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