Now I never met Donna Summer, never saw her in concert but I fell in love with her music when I heard “I Feel Love” Up until then I did not care for Disco. The fusion of Rock and Big Band with Latin and R’n’B. What kind of mishegas is this? I was hooked. That’s right I love Disco music!
A little background, it was the mid-70s and the country was coming out of the Vietnam War, Nixon’s resignation, the implosion of the Yippies, peace and love. People were tired. They needed some kind of diversion from everything. Actually Disco was dying until a guy on a sitcom about the Sweathogs crossed over to movie called “Saturday Night Fever” and Disco was on. People were dressing up again. The guys in slim fitting bell bottom pants, slick tight fitting colorful shirts and the ladies in Danskin wrap around skirts, clingy tight dresses in high heels and various form of Farah Fawcett hairdos. People were learning the Latin Hustle, Bus stop (Pre Electric Slide), New York Hustle and the Cha Cha. Man, women looked so sexy and here comes Donna Summer from Boston via Germany in a version of “Hair.” She was discovered by Giorgio Mauroder and had her do a song “Love to Love You Baby” which had her simulating groaning during making love in the song. Never mind that this religious lady from Boston was so embarrassed, she recorded it in the dark so no one in the studio would see her as she moaned and groaned. Summer became the sex symbol of the seventies and the title Queen of Disco.
As a DJ, I love it when someone requests a Donna Summer song. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a party or a wedding and Hot Stuff and Bad Girls still gets the wedding party up and dancing at any wedding reception
Donna Summer did not rest on gimmicks and flash. She was all class, terrific voice, great looks and hot songs that just made you want to dance. She even slipped in a small part in “Thank God It’s Friday.” She became an avid painter to add to her talents.
Maybe it’s the passing of someone we grew up listening to her music that reminds us of our own vulnerability or the innocence lost to an era we remember fondly, but the world was a better place with Donna Summer in it and a little less with out her. She’s had her LAST DANCE taken too early. We will miss you.
Larry Bernstein runs a Disc Jockey business in Richmond, Virginia and blogs on pop culture and music.