Donna Summer

7 Jan

Wouldn’t it be great to break in 2011 with some feverish dance music? Yea, sure, why not you ask? Time to spontaneously gyrate and laugh at our own moves with vague memories of pulsing strobe lights, overcrowded dance floors, speakers that pounded the music loud enough to make our ribs vibrate and a wonton need to dance without inhibitions. Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco, is the one to spark the powder that will cause all that to happen.

Never mind if you loved or hated Disco, or dance music in general, the passing years have shown that Donna Summer has turned in a few timeless tunes – and in the process, turned your hips too. Even years after her royal heyday, you can still put on one of her tracks and whisper and acquiesce to yourself that maybe she wasn’t so bad after all. It’s great music to blast away while whittling time and taking care of business.

Her accomplishments and mind-boggling achievements in the music biz include:

  • First artist to have three double albums in a row reach number one
  • Eleven gold albums
  • Twelve gold singles
  • Academy Award for “Last Dance
  • Twelve Grammy nominations
  • Five Grammy Awards
  • Dance Hall of Fame inductee
  • Successfully charted on the Disco/Club Billboard charts starting in 1975 right up to 2010
  • Was reported by Time Magazine that she had twenty-two orgasms during the recording of “Love to Love You Baby

OK, the last one was thrown in just for titillation, but all in all, as Elvis fans correctly stated, “50,000,000 Fans Can’t Be Wrong”. The point being, for so much early bashing of Disco, and dance music in general, someone had to be buying the disks! Maybe you were one of them? Are you a reformed ‘come out of the closet’ Donna supporter? You are not alone.

Our Love
You’d have to be specially trained in rigid self-control not to tap unconsciously during the drum beat between the lyrics “Our love” (drum beat) … “Will last forever” (drum beat).A highly infectious synthesizer riff is the backbone to this mega-hit. Sommers voice, highly trained by the way, is filled with muted restraint but bucks from the corral when she determinedly states that their love is destined to hold on and make it through the distance that’s keeping them apart. This is her love letter, sent through the miles, that she will be there waiting for him.

I Feel Love
Eight minutes and seventeen seconds of pure escapism bliss! Call this one a guilty pleasure evoking images of a past that’s squarely entrenched within the clotted bulk of the disco frenzy, complete with men’s chest hair flowing out of half-unbuttoned silk shirts, women’s skirts that curve and whirl up to almost the waist when spinning around, coked-up impresarios, long lines of hopefuls waiting for the doorman’s magical finger to point at them – a ticket to come in, and a sound system so loud it would case a rush of embarrassed excitement in any up and coming band that swore they were only there to see what all the hype was about.

After a few too many sex on the beach drinks, when Donna begins the chorus soft and low, it could almost swell up like the first waves of a morphine drip as it washes you clean starting from the toes, and crests on your frontal lobe while it splashes and dissipates. A magnificent centerpiece to hedonism.

Lastly, here for your viewing pleasure, a video of Donna performing ‘Could It Be Magic‘ in Germany (I believe) sometime in the 70’s. The video opens with the swinging Disco moves of a gentleman dressed as a maîtres d’hôtel and his partner, a woman outfitted as this evening’s random hostess. When Donna comes into view, take note of the upper right hand corner that has ABBA posted on the wall embedded on the film. This is another great track, written by Barry Manilow, and was one that I considered for this post. I don’t care about your knee-jerk groans to the Manilow reference, a great tune is a great tune no matter who wrote/performed it.

Donna Summer: Our Love
Donna Summer: I Feel Love (12″ Single)
From: Donna Summer – Bad Girls (Deluxe Edition)

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