Remembering Donna Summer Through Music & Fashion

Donna Summer

This week we lost a great music legend Donna Summer. With her smoky, sultry mezzo-soprano, Summer transcended the trends of disco, the most popular commercial music of the era, scoring hits said to exceed 130 million in sales.

Donna Summer

Summer’s not only taught the world how to dance but also had a great influence upon the music fashion scene of the 70’s and 80’s.

Donna Summer

In the 70’s While singing background for the hit-making 1970s trio Three Dog Night, Summer met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte.

Donna Summer

Donna Summer eventually signed a deal with the European label Groovy Records and issued her first album, Lady of the Night, in 1974. The album was not released in America, but found some limited European success on the strength of the song “The Hostage“, which reached number one in Belgium and number two in the Netherlands.

Donna Summer

In 1975, Summer approached Moroder with an idea for a song she and Bellotte were working on for another singer. She had come up with the lyric “love to love you, baby”. Moroder was interested in developing the new sound that was becoming popular in disco and used Summer’s lyrics to develop the song. Moroder persuaded Summer to record what was to be a demo track for another performer. She later said that she had thought of how the song might sound if Marilyn Monroe had sung it and began cooing the lyrics

Donna Summer

The song was then sent to Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart. Bogart informed Summer and Moroder that he would release the song “Love to Love You Baby” but requested that Moroder produce a longer version for discothèques. Moroder, Bellotte, and Summer returned with a 17-minute version of “Love to Love You Baby” and it became the first ever extended track recorded. Casablanca signed Summer and released the single in November 1975.

Donna Summer

Summer was also the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the U.S.Billboard chart. She also charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period.

Donna Summer

Summer’s other musical achievements included a Best Original Song Oscar, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1978, for “Last Dance”; Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1979, for “Last Dance”; Best Female Rock Vocal Performance Grammy, 1980, for “Hot Stuff”; Best Inspirational Performance Grammy, 1984, for “He’s a Rebel,” and 1985, for “Forgive Me”; (with Giorgio Moroder) Best Dance Recording Grammy, 1998, for “Carry On.” a five-time Grammy Award winner.

Donna Summer

Summer is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano, their daughters Brooklyn and Amanda, as well as her daughter Mimi from a previous marriage.

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