Donna Summer
American singer-songwriter
Donna Summer
LaDonna Adrian Gaines, known by the stage name Donna Summer, was an American singer and songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the late 1970s. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the United States Billboard chart, and she also charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period.
Biography
Donna Summer's personal information overview.
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Whitney Houston, Cher, Tina Turner and Donna Summer: The Musicals
New York Times - about 2 months
With shows about these divas in the works — and one now onstage in a full production — it will be as if the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s never ended.
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New York Times article
Musical Artist Interview: Garrett Miller
Huffington Post - 2 months
Garrett Miller is a dynamic, talented artist who wears many hats. Since 2012, he has been hosting "Rated G Radio," a successful radio program that he created. Garrett released his first EP, Eyes Wide, in 2013; the album featured his holiday song "Guess What Its Christmastime." He released the follow up full-length album, Blond Jesus in 2015 with songs like "Gay Wedding," "Sweat & Testify," "Witch Sisters Halloween," and the title track. I was happy to catch up with Garrett to find out more about his fascinating careers, his musical influences, what we can expect from him in 2017, and more. Can you tell me more about yourself and what you are striving to achieve as an artist? I'm a guy who woke up half way through his life and decided he wanted to make a difference in the world, to share his messages and give people hope and inspiration. That's the altruistic reply - it's honest - though I really, selfishly, wanted to do something fun for a change. For a long time, my l ...
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Huffington Post article
We'd Give This Ellen DeGeneres And Emma Stone Dance-Off An Easy A
Huffington Post - 3 months
If this clip of a dancing Ellen DeGeneres and Emma Stone doesn’t thaw your cold stalactite-ridden post-election heart in the slightest, we don’t know what to tell you. It’s adorable.  The “La La Land” star visited “The Ellen Show” on Monday to promote the romantic musical with Ryan Gosling, but ended up with DeGeneres as her partner in an epic dance-off.  Pulling out moves you only show off while wedding drunk, Stone and DeGeneres are challenged to twerk, vogue, and tap dance to the tune of Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.” Things come to a head when some poor intern spelled the dance move “The Sprinkler” as “The Spinkler,” leaving Stone more confused than that time she was cast as a part-Asian character in “Aloha.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Huffington Post article
Hear the Album That Made HGTV's Chip and Joanna Gaines Fall in Love All Over Again
Huffington Post - 4 months
Johnnyswim's Georgica Pond makes marriage sound wonderful - just ask TV's hottest couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines. "The album has been playing on repeat in our car since it came out in October," Chip says. The Gaineses' HGTV show, Fixer Upper, made ceramic farm sinks and "shiplap" paneling en vogue. Now they're promoting their favorite duo Johnnyswim as headliners at "Silobration" (the annual fan festival held at their company headquarters in Waco, Texas). Joanna says she and Chip can't get enough of the singers' new album. "Johnnyswim's music speaks to us on so many different levels," she says. "We fall in love all over again while listening to Georgica Pond." [Click here to listen to Georgica Pond on Spotify.] The second full-length release from Johnnyswim captures the days and nights of Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez, two songwriters married to music (and each other). Recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville with collaborators such as Vince Gill ("Lonely Nig ...
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Huffington Post article
Artist Interview: Erick Morillo
Huffington Post - 5 months
Erick Morillo speaks with the kind of energy and passion that immediately gets other people excited. This has no doubt served him very well over his lengthy international career, from his beginnings producing and playing in New York and New Jersey, to the commercial success of "I Like to Move It," to the recent revival of his Subliminal Records imprint (you can get a full career update here). Following a break from music and a move to Los Angeles, Erick is back in the studio working on tracks to sex up the dance floor, most recently collaborating with Eddie Thoneick and Angel Taylor on the underground meets mainstream "Lost in You." Is there anything you want to say? I'm really excited about how things are going, and this relaunch of Subliminal Records. I feel like I've been humbled in life, and now I see things in a different way. Why did you revive the Subliminal Records label? And what is the signature style you are trying to bring with this? I went through some personal ...
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Huffington Post article
My Life In Jeans
Huffington Post - 7 months
I still remember how I felt when I tried on my first pair of Landlubber jeans around 1969 when I was in the 7th or 8th grade: transformed. Now, I can't even recall what kind of pants I wore prior to that. (Danskins? Those childish, stretchy precursors to today's yoga pants?) It was as if those magnificent denim hip-huggers erased everything that had gone before, including my innocence. I think I paid around $14 for them at Poor Richard's, the hippie store in Red Bank, New Jersey, where James Taylor and Carole King records repeated endlessly on the turntable. I became keenly aware of how the low-rise accentuated the new curve of my hips and backside. My walk suddenly developed a swaying motion that was accentuated by the billowing bellbottoms. I also felt that I instantly belonged. By dressing like the "cool girls," I became one. We all wore our jeans the same way, overly long, with boy's basketball sneakers-- which meant we stepped on the hems and frayed them. We often paired t ...
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Huffington Post article
<i>The Get Down</i>: Grandmaster Flash on Finding The Beat and Changing the Musical World
Huffington Post - 7 months
It wasn't guys with rhymes who started hip-hop. It was guys with turntables, extracting five seconds of the beat from five minutes of a song. "The deejays were the ones who invented hip-hop," says Grandmaster Flash, who should know because he was one of them. "The rappers were important, too, but they didn't come along until a few years later." This distinction, along with a lot of other musical and cultural history, forms the core of the new Netflix drama The Get Down, which drops Aug. 12 on the streaming service. The Get Down, set in the South Bronx in 1977, blends a group of young fictional characters with real-life pioneer hip-hoppers to show how their music began its unlikely and meteoric ascent from a vaguely dangerous street-corner pastime to the world's dominant popular music sound. It focuses on a mysterious, elusive aspiring deejay named Shaolin Fanastic (Shameik Moore), who falls into a partnership with a group of musical kids that includes writer Ezek ...
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Huffington Post article
See You in the Music: Remembering Natalie Cole
Huffington Post - about 1 year
At Natalie Cole's 60th birthday party in New York City. Photo by Bob Krassner, used by permission. In the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2005, three years into our friendship, I enjoyed one of the most intimate and spontaneous performances ever given by Natalie Cole. It consisted of a single song sung barely above a whisper to an audience of one: me. We were in Aspen, Colorado at a swanky party at the peak of Ajax Mountain. Leaving together, we stepped outside, first into a blast of cold air and a windy swirl of snow, then into a gondola that would transport us down the side of the mountain and back to earth. The cozy pod lifted us off into the sky and soon our visibility was obscured by the feathery blanket of white. Moments later, the motor suddenly stopped. She and I hung suspended high above the ground as the wind rocked our car from side to side as though it were a child's bassinet. We suddenly occupied an imaginary world that was like a snow globe: surreal but ...
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Huffington Post article
Broadway Star Melissa Errico Shines On 'What About Today?'
Huffington Post - about 1 year
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Eleven Bass Players Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Huffington Post - over 1 year
We serve the singer, the song, the soloist, and ultimately the listener. Though we do not possess the harmonic nor sonic range of a guitar, keyboards, voice, horns, wind instruments, nor the dynamics of drums and percussion-the bass player determines how a musical chord actually sounds - which, in essence -often determines whether or not you'll like the track. Do the math! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced and I congratulate all the artists: The Cars, Chic, Chicago, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Janet Jackson, The J.B.'s, Chaka Khan, Los Lobos, Steve Miller, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A., The Smiths, The Spinners, and Yes. Since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation began in 1983 there has been much controversy over who belongs and who does not. It's no different than sports Halls of Fame. Controversy, dispute, and rock 'n' roll are siblings, and I accept that. However I must stand up for my woefully neglected bass brethren, some of whom no longer lay down ...
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Huffington Post article
Why Barbra Streisand Is The World's Last Great Superstar
Huffington Post - about 2 years
"Oh, dear -- I'm not wearing the right shoes for this!" were the first words Barbra Streisand ever said to me. And I fell in love, as I knew I would. Exactly 10 years ago I was one of two "civilians" invited to One&amp;Only Palmilla, the luxury resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, to help surprise John Travolta for his 50th birthday with a weekend-long celebration that had megawatt co-hosts Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand leading the celebrity-filled festivities. The resort welcomed Tony Bennett, Sean Penn, Meg Ryan, Robin Williams, Sylvester Stallone (whom I overheard ask a bartender "How do you say 'tequila' in Spanish?"), Kirstie Alley, Quincy Jones, Natalie Cole, Gayle King (the best airplane companion and dance partner), Carly Simon, Cal Ripken, Jr., Buzz Aldrin, Laura Dern, Forest Whitaker and on and on and on -- an impossibly dense galaxy of superstars -- and me. It was quite the weekend. At the culmination of the remarkable activities was an all-star concert (To ...
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Huffington Post article
Grammy Awards: Daft Punk in spotlight
San Francisco Chronicle - about 3 years
Daft Punk founders Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have been working together since the '90s, and the French duo's fourth studio album, "Random Access Memories" (Columbia), produced one of the year's signature songs, "Get Lucky," which sold more than 3 million copies in the U.S. The track encapsulates the way the album (and the duo itself) bridges generations of dance music, with rhythm guitar from disco-era maven Nile Rodgers of Chic and vocals from Pharrell Williams, whose songs have defined the past decade of rhythm-intensive pop. A category for best dance recording didn't exist until 1998, when Moroder and his old disco collaborator Donna Summer won for "Carry On." [...] the award has been split between hard-core dance acts, such as the Chemical Brothers and Skrillex, and pop performers who dabbled in dance music, such as Justin Timberlake and Rihanna. In Europe, artists such as Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream created a new template for musical innovation that was ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Celebrating Twenty Years of Eclectic Musical Delights from The Loser's Lounge at Joe's Pub
Huffington Post - about 3 years
In 1993, musician/arranger/producer/composer Joe McGinty (his credits include the Psychedelic Furs, Robert Hazard, Ryan Adams, Martha Wainwright, Jesse Malin, the Ramones, as well as a number of theatrical productions), came up with an idea to showcase an evening of 'soft rock' classics with a posse of his musician friends. That evening grew into an homage to the music of Burt Bacharach with a backing band and a number of guest vocalists. McGinty called it The Loser's Lounge. "We're not saying that the people we're paying homage to are losers...it's a place that anybody can hang out who aren't VIP's. It started out as sort of the ne'er-do-wells from downtown," he reminisced. He hails from Atlantic City where the billboards along the highways blare slogans like "High Rollers Club" and "Winners Circle." "...So I thought, well, The Loser's Lounge is where the losers can hang out, you know - it's a place where you can go and celebrate a band like ABBA and not feel embarrassed about it...alm ...
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Huffington Post article
1970s Hair Icons That Will Make You Nostalgic
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Beyond the bell-bottoms and platform shoes in films and books, the 1970s was truly a transformative decade. Subcultures that spawned a generation of hipsters, rockers and radicals brought forth an eclectic mix of styles that we believe are best told through hair. From Farrah Fawcett's feathered cut to Debbie Harry's bleach-blonde bob to Pam Grier's Afro, these '70s hairdos echo the attitudes fueled by outspoken youth. To truly understand this great shift in society and politics, we've compiled a list of 16 hair icons whose strands tell a beautiful story. Farrah Fawcett The late "Charlie Angels" actress' flipped hairstyle remains one of the most sought-after looks, but somehow, many seem to fall flat of capturing Fawcett's big, bouncy mane. Pam Grier Grier's badass Afro commanded just as much attention and respect as the strong characters she played in blaxploitation films like "Foxy Brown" and "Coffy." Debbie Harry What impressionable young girl didn't reach for that bot ...
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Huffington Post article
How to Karaoke Like a Boss in Seoul
Huffington Post - over 3 years
There's no better way to end a long night of getting wasted in Seoul than with a few rounds of ear-busting, brain-pounding karaoke. With millions of Koreans channeling their inner Britney each day, there is no better way to sing to the tune of a local in Seoul, than getting wasted and belting out "Baby One More Time," over and over again. Starting Off With a Noraebang Invented in Japan in the 1970s, karaoke travelled to Korea in the 1980s and never left. Koreans refer to karaoke as noraebang or "song room," which is exactly where you'll be going with your falsetto-fabulous Korean friends in Seoul. A private room designed for you to pretend like you're on an arena stage in front of five to 30 of your new besties, noraebangs are everywhere in Seoul and easy to spot even if you don't read Korean. Look for a neon sign (possibly flashing) with a microphone or musical symbol and chances are, you've hit the right note. Name That Tune After long binges out on the town, most nights ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Donna Summer
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2012
    Age 64
    On December 11, 2012, after four prior nominations, Summer was posthumously announced to be one of the 2013 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame., and was inducted on April 18, 2013, at Los Angeles' Nokia Theater.
    More Details Hide Details A remix album titled Love To Love You Donna, containing new remixes of some of Summer's classics, was released in October 2013. "MacArthur Park" was remixed by Laidback Luke for the remix collection; it was also remixed by Ralphi Rosario, which version was released to dance clubs all over America and successfully peaked at No. 1, giving Summer her first posthumous number-one single, and her twentieth number-one on the charts. In the mid-1980s, Summer was embroiled in a controversy. She allegedly had made anti-gay remarks regarding the then-relatively new disease, AIDS. Summer, by this time a born-again Christian, was alleged to have said that AIDS was a punishment from God for the immoral lifestyles of homosexuals. Because of this alleged statement, thousands of her records were returned to her record company and she became the target of a boycott which hurt her career. Some years later, Summer publicly denied that she had ever made any such comment, and in a letter to the AIDS campaign group ACT UP in 1989 said it was "a terrible misunderstanding." In explaining why she did not respond to ACT UP sooner, Summer stated "I was unknowingly protected by those around me from the bad press and hate letters. If I have caused you pain, forgive me." She closed her letter with Bible quotes (from Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians).
    Summer was honored at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards ceremony.
    More Details Hide Details Singer Natasha Bedingfield honored Summer, calling her "a remarkable woman who brought so much light and who inspired many women, including myself, through her music. And if we can remember her through her music, this will never really be the last dance." After her statement, she began to sing the song "Last Dance", Summer's Academy Award-winning song. As she sang the song, photos of Summer were displayed on a screen overhead. Fans paid tribute to Summer by leaving flowers and memorabilia on her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A few days after her death, her album sales increased by 3,277 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard reported that the week before she died, Summer sold about 1,000 albums. After her death that number increased to 26,000. According to singer Marc Almond, Summer's collaboration with producer Giorgio Moroder "changed the face of music". Summer was the first artist to have three double albums reach 1 on Billboards album chart: Live and More, Bad Girls and On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II. She became a cultural icon and her prominence on the dance charts, for which she was referred to as the Queen of Disco, made her not just one of the defining voices of that era, but also an influence on pop artists from Madonna to Beyoncé. Unlike some other stars of disco who faded as the music became less popular in the early 1980s, Summer was able to grow beyond the genre and segued to a pop-rock sound.
    Summer's funeral service was held in Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee on the afternoon of May 23, 2012.
    More Details Hide Details The exact location and time of the service was kept secret. Several hundred of Summer's friends and family appeared at the funeral, according to CNN. The funeral was a private ceremony and cameras were not allowed inside the church. TMZ obtained a copy of Summer's funeral program, which includes a proverb dedicated to Summer about a "wife of noble character". According to the program, Pastor Tim Johnson started the service and welcomed the guests. Afterward, Ricky Gaines, her brother, gave a speech. Summer's sisters, Linda Gaines Lotman, Mary Ellen Bernard, Dara Bernard and Jenette Yancey, performed "We've Come This Far By Faith". Mary Ellen Bernard performed "Because of Whose You Are". Rick Dohler, a son-in-law of Summer, gave a speech and Pastor Johnson spoke again. The service was closed by David Foster and Natalie Grant performing "The Prayer". Guests followed the black hearse with Summer's body to the Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens cemetery in Nashville, where her remains were interred. Other guests included Giorgio Moroder and singer Tony Orlando.
    Summer died on May 17, 2012, at her home in Naples, Florida at the age of 63.
    More Details Hide Details She had been diagnosed with lung cancer, which she believed was caused by inhaling toxic fumes and dust after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Summer was survived by her husband, Bruce Sudano; and her daughters Mimi (with ex-husband Helmut Sommer), Brooklyn Sudano and Amanda Sudano.
  • 2011
    Age 63
    On June 6, 2011, Summer was a guest judge on the show Platinum Hit, in an episode entitled "Dance Floor Royalty".
    More Details Hide Details In July of that same year, Summer was working at Paramount Recording Studios in Los Angeles with her nephew, the rapper and producer O'Mega Red. Together they worked on a track titled "Angel".
  • 2010
    Age 62
    On September 15, 2010, Summer appeared as a guest celebrity, singing alongside contestant Prince Poppycock, on the television show America's Got Talent.
    More Details Hide Details
    In August 2010, she released the single "To Paris With Love", co-written with Bruce Roberts and produced by Peter Stengaard.
    More Details Hide Details The single went to 1 on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart in October 2010. That month, Summer also appeared on the PBS television special Hitman Returns: David Foster and Friends. In it, Summer performed with Seal on a medley of the songs "Un-Break My Heart / Crazy/On the Radio" before closing the show with "Last Dance".
    On July 29, 2010, Summer gave an interview with Allvoices.com wherein she was asked if she would consider doing an album of standards.
    More Details Hide Details She said, "I actually am, probably in September. I will begin work on a standards album. I will probably do an all-out dance album and a standards album. I'm going to do both and we will release them however we're going to release them. We are not sure which is going first."
  • 2008
    Age 60
    In 2008, Summer released her first studio album of fully original material in 17 years, entitled Crayons.
    More Details Hide Details Released on the Sony BMG label Burgundy Records, it peaked at 17 on the U.S. Top 200 Album Chart, her highest placing on the chart since 1983. The songs I'm a Fire, Stamp Your Feet and Fame (The Game) all reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart. The ballad Sand on My Feet was released to adult contemporary stations and reached No. 30 on that chart. Summer said, "I wanted this album to have a lot of different directions on it. I did not want it to be any one baby. I just wanted it to be a sampler of flavors and influences from all over the world. There's a touch of this, a little smidgeon of that, a dash of something else, like when you're cooking."
  • FIFTIES
  • 2004
    Age 56
    In 2004 and 2005, Summer's success on the dance charts continued with the songs You're So Beautiful and I Got Your Love.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 2004, Summer was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame as an artist, alongside the Bee Gees and Barry Gibb.
    More Details Hide Details Her classic song, I Feel Love, was inducted that night as well.
  • 2003
    Age 55
    In 2003, Summer issued her autobiography, Ordinary Girl: The Journey, and released a best-of set titled The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2000
    Age 52
    The dramatic ballad was produced by David Foster and dance remixes were also issued to DJs and became another dance floor success for Summer, peaking at No. 2 on the same chart in 2000.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 2000, Summer participated in VH1's third annual Divas special, dedicated to Diana Ross, she sang the Supreme's hit Reflections, and her own material for the show. "The Power of One" is a theme song for the movie Pokémon: The Movie 2000.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1999
    Age 51
    In 1999, Summer was asked to do the Divas 2 concert, but when she went in and met with the producers, it was decided that they would do Donna in concert by herself.
    More Details Hide Details Summer taped a live television special for VH1 titled Donna Summer – Live & More Encore, producing the second highest ratings for the network that year, after their annual Divas special. A CD of the event was released by Epic Records and featured two studio recordings, "I Will Go with You (Con te partirò)" and "Love Is the Healer", both of which reached No. 1 on the U.S. dance charts.
  • 1998
    Age 50
    In 1998, Summer received the first Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, after a remixed version of her 1992 collaboration with Giorgio Moroder, "Carry On", was released in 1997.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1997
    Age 49
    During this time, Summer had role on the sitcom Family Matters as Steve Urkel's (Jaleel White) Aunt Oona. She made a few appearances in 1997.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1995
    Age 47
    Also in 1995, Summer's mother died of pancreatic cancer; her father died of natural causes in December 2004.
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  • 1994
    Age 46
    Summer signed with Mercury/Polygram that same year, and in 1994 she re-teamed with producer Michael Omartian to record a Christmas album, Christmas Spirit, which included classic Christmas songs such as "O Holy Night" and "White Christmas" and three Summer-penned songs,"Christmas is Here", "Lamb of God" and the album's title track.
    More Details Hide Details Summer was accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Another hits collection, Endless Summer: Greatest Hits, was released featuring eighteen songs. There were two new tracks "Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)" and "Any Way at All". In 1995, "Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)" went No. 1 on the US dance charts, and No. 21 in the UK.
  • 1993
    Age 45
    She reunited with Giorgio Moroder, for the song "Carry On", which was included on the 1993, Polygram issued The Donna Summer Anthology, it contained 34 tracks of Summer's material with Casablanca and Mercury Records, and from her tenures with Atlantic and Geffen.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1992
    Age 44
    In 1992, Summer embarked on a world tour and later that year received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1990
    Age 42
    In 1990, a Warner compilation, The Best of Donna Summer, was released.
    More Details Hide Details The album went gold in the UK after the song "State of Independence" was re-released there to promote the album. The following year, Summer worked with producer Keith Diamond emerged with the album Mistaken Identity, which included elements of R&B as well as new jack swing. "When Love Cries" continued her success on the R&B charts, reaching 18.
  • 1989
    Age 41
    In 1989, Donna and her husband, Bruce Sudano, had been in talks to do a new kind of reality-based sitcom.
    More Details Hide Details It would be based on their own hectic household. At the time, they lived with their children Amanda, Brooklyn and Mimi, two sets of in-laws, and a maid. The television network started changing the premise of the show, making it less funny, says Sudano, "And because we were an interracial couple, they didn't want us to be married anymore". In 1989, this was "an issue. So with that mentality we just backed out of it." It was also during this period that Summer started to have gallery showings of her paintings. Rick Solomon, chairman of Fine Circle Art, was impressed by the brash colors and images of Summer's work. "I've been in business for 26 years," he said, " Donna has her own style... she is no Sunday painter. Oh, some critics have felt it necessary to knock her. It's just that old thing, I suppose – not being able to accept the idea that a singer can also be a painter."
  • 1988
    Age 40
    Geffen decided not to release the album Another Place and Time, and Summer and Geffen Records parted ways in 1988.
    More Details Hide Details The album was released in Europe in March 1989 on Warner Bros. Records, which had been Summer's label in Europe since 1982. The single "This Time I Know It's for Real" became a top ten hit in several countries in Europe, prompting Warner Bros.' sister company, Atlantic Records, to sign Summer in the U.S. The single peaked at 7 on the US Hot 100 and became her 12th gold single in America. She scored two more UK hits from the album, "I Don't Wanna Get Hurt" (UK 7) and "Love's About to Change My Heart" (UK 20).
  • THIRTIES
  • 1986
    Age 38
    In 1986, Harold Faltermeyer wrote the title song for a German ski movie called Fire and Ice, and thought Summer would be ideal to sing the song.
    More Details Hide Details He decided to reach out to Summer and, although she was not interested in singing the song, she was very much interested in working with Faltermeyer again. After a meeting with David Geffen he was on board with the project. Summer's main objective for the album was that it have stronger R&B influences; Faltermeyer who had just finished doing the soundtracks to Top Gun and Fletch, was after a tough FM-oriented sound. On completion, Geffen liked what he heard, but his executives did not think there were enough songs that could be deemed singles. They wanted Faltermeyer to produce "Dinner with Gershwin", but he was already busy with another project, so another producer was found. They also substituted a previous recording called "Bad Reputation", songs like "Fascination", fell by the wayside. Geffen had shared the vision of moving Summer into the R&B market as a veteran artist, but these expectations were not met. Faltermeyer, in a 2012 interview with Daeida Magazine, said, "She was an older artist by then and the label's priority may have been on the youth market. The decision was made afterward by executives who were looking for a radio hit for 1987 and not something the would perhaps last beyond then." The label's President Ed Rosenblatt would later admit: "The company never intended to focus on established superstars". The album All Systems Go, did not to achieve gold status.
  • 1985
    Age 37
    On January 19, 1985, she sang at the nationally televised 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala the day before the second inauguration of Ronald Reagan.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1984
    Age 36
    In late 1984, David Geffen enlisted She Works Hard for the Moneys producer Michael Omartian to produce Cats Without Claws.
    More Details Hide Details Donna was happy that Geffen and his executives stayed out of the studio during the recording, and thanked him in the album's liner notes, but her request for the lead single would be rejected. The album failed to attain gold status in the U.S., her first album not to do so. It was first album not to yield a top ten hit, since 1977's Once Upon a Time. The Drifters cover "There Goes My Baby" reached 21 and "Supernatural Love" went to 75. She would win another Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance for the song "Forgive Me".
  • 1983
    Age 35
    Summer recorded and delivered the album She Works Hard for the Money and Polygram released it on its Mercury imprint in 1983.
    More Details Hide Details The title song became a major hit, reaching 3 on the US Hot 100, as well as No. 1 on Billboards R&B chart for three weeks. It also garnered Summer another Grammy nomination, for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. "Unconditional Love", which featured the British group Musical Youth, and "Love Has a Mind of Its Own" did not crack the top 40. The album itself was certified gold, and climbed to 9 on the Billboard 200 chart; the highest chart position of any female artist in male-dominated 1983. The song "He's a Rebel" would win Summer her third Grammy Award, this time for Best Inspirational Performance. British director Brian Grant was hired to direct Summer's video for "She Works Hard for the Money". The video was a success, being nominated for MTV Music Video Awards for Best Female Video and Best Choreography; Summer became one of the first black artists, and the first Afro American Female Artist to have her video played in heavy rotation on MTV. Grant would also be hired to direct Summer's Costa Mesa HBO concert special, A Hot Summers Night. Grant who was a fan of the song State of Independence had an idea for a grand finale. He wanted a large chorus of children to join Summer on stage at the ending of the song. His team looked for local school children in Orange County, to create a chorus of 500 students.
  • 1981
    Age 33
    On January 5, 1981, she gave birth to their daughter Brooklyn Sudano, and the next year on August 11, 1982 their daughter Amanda Sudano would be born.
    More Details Hide Details Summer and her family moved from the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1995, where she took time off from show business to focus on painting, a hobby she had begun back in the 1980s. Summer was raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
    Donna was nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Cold Love", and Best Inspirational Performance for "I Believe in Jesus" at the 1981 Grammy Awards.
    More Details Hide Details She would soon be working on her next album. It was to be another double album set. When David Geffen stopped by the studio for a preview, he was warned that it was a work in progress, but it was almost done. That was a mistake, because only a few tracks had been finished, and most of them were in demo phase. He heard enough to tell producers that it was not good enough; the project was canceled. It would be released years later in 1996, under the title I'm a Rainbow. Over the years, a few of the tracks would be released. The song "Highway Runner" appears on the soundtrack for the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High. "Romeo" appears on the Flashdance soundtrack. Both, "I'm a Rainbow" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" would be on her 1993 Anthology album. David Geffen hired top R&B and pop producer Quincy Jones to produce Summer's next album, the eponymously titled Donna Summer. The album took over six months to record as Summer, who was pregnant at the time, found it hard to sing. During the recording of the project, Neil Bogart died of cancer in May 1982 at age 39. Summer would sing at his funeral. The album included the top ten hit "Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)"; for which she received a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
  • 1980
    Age 32
    Summer and the label parted ways in 1980, and she signed with Geffen Records, the new label started by David Geffen.
    More Details Hide Details Summer had filed a 10-million-dollar suit against Casablanca; the label counter-sued. In the end, she did not receive any money, but won the rights to her own lucrative song publishing. Summer's first Geffen album, The Wanderer, featured an eclectic mixture of sounds, bringing elements of rock, rockabilly, new wave and gospel music. The Wanderer was rushed to market. The producers of the album wanted more production time. The album continued Summer's streak of gold albums with the title track peaking at 3 on the Hot 100 chart. Its follow-up singles were, "Cold Love" 33 and "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'", 40.
    Just over a week after the awards, Donna had her own nationally televised special, The Donna Summer Special, which aired on ABC network on January 27, 1980.
    More Details Hide Details After the release of the On the Radio album, Summer wanted to branch out into other musical styles, which led to tensions between her and Casablanca Records. Casablanca wanted her to continue to record disco only. Summer was upset with President Neil Bogart over the early release of the single "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)"; she had penned "Dim All the Lights" alone, and was hoping for a number-one hit as a songwriter. Not waiting until "Dim All the Lights" had peaked, or at least another month as promised; Summer felt it had detracted from the singles chart momentum.
    Summer received four nominations for 1980 American Music Awards, and took home awards for Female Pop/Rock and Female Soul/R&B Artist; and well as Pop/Rock single for "Bad Girls".
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  • 1979
    Age 31
    Casablanca then released On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II, her first (international) greatest hits set, in 1979.
    More Details Hide Details The album was mixed differently than the original songs issued on it, with each song segueing into the next, and included two new songs "On the Radio" and "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)". It would be the first time that such an album package would be made. The album went 1, her third consecutive No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, and gained double-platinum status. "On the Radio", reached 5, selling over a million copies in the U.S. alone, making it a gold single. Summer would again receive a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
    In July 1979, Summer topped the Hot 100 singles chart, and the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the Soul singles chart simultaneously.
    More Details Hide Details In the week of November 10, 1979, "Dim All the Lights" peaked at 2 for two weeks; the following week "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" would get to 3; and once again Summer would have two songs in the top 3, on the Hot 100. One week later, "No More Tears" climbed to 1 spot on the Hot 100 chart, and "Dim All the Lights" went to 4; she again had two songs in the top 5 of the Hot 100 chart. In the span of eight months, Summer had topped both the singles and albums charts simultaneously, three times. She became the first Female Artist to have three number-one singles in a calendar year. With "Mac Arthur Park", "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", and the Barbra Streisand-duet "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)", Summer achieved four number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart within a 12-month period. Including "Heaven Knows" and "Dim All the Lights" she had achieved six top 4 singles on the Hot 100 chart in the same 12-month period. Those songs, along with "Last Dance", "On the Radio", and "The Wanderer", would give her nine Top 5 singles on the Hot 100 chart in just over a two-year period. The single, "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)" would sell over 2 million copies becoming a platinum success. "Hot Stuff" won her a Grammy Award in the Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, the first time the category was included.
    The album went triple platinum, spawning the number-one hits "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls", that went platinum, and the number-two "Dim All the Lights" which went gold. The week of June 16, 1979, Summer would again have the number-one single on the Hot 100 chart, and the number-one album on the Billboard 200 chart; when "Hot Stuff" regained the top spot on the Hot 100 chart.
    More Details Hide Details The following week, "Bad Girls" would be on top of the U.S. Top R&B albums chart, "Hot Stuff" remained at 1, and "Bad Girls", the single, would climb into the top five on the Hot 100. The following week, Summer would be the first solo artist to have two songs in the Hot 100 top three at the same time.
    In 1979, Summer won three American Music Awards for Single, Album and Female Artist, in the Disco category at the awards held in January.
    More Details Hide Details Summer performed at the world-televised Music for UNICEF Concert, joining contemporaries such as ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart, John Denver, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson for a TV special that raised funds and awareness for the world's children. Artists donated royalties of certain songs, some in perpetuity, to benefit the cause. Summer began work on her next project with Moroder and Bellotte, Bad Girls. Mororder brought in Harold Faltermeyer, with whom he had collaborated on the soundtrack of film Midnight Express, to be the album's arranger. Faltermeyer's role would significantly increase from arranger, as he played keyboards and wrote songs with Summer.
  • 1978
    Age 30
    The week of November 11, 1978, Summer became the first female artist of the modern rock era to have the 1 single on the Hot 100 and album on the Billboard 200 charts, simultaneously.
    More Details Hide Details The song "Heaven Knows", which featured Brooklyn Dreams singer Joe "Bean" Esposito; reached 4 on the Hot 100 and became another gold single.
    In 1978, Summer acted in the film Thank God It's Friday, the film met with modest success; the song "Last Dance", reached 3 on the Hot 100.
    More Details Hide Details The soundtrack and single both went gold and resulted in Summer winning her first Grammy Award, for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Its writer, Paul Jabara, won both an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for the composition. Donna also had With Your Love and "Je t'aime... moi non plus", on the soundtrack. Her version of the Jimmy Webb ballad, "MacArthur Park", became her first 1 hit on the Hot 100 chart. It was also the only 1 hit for songwriter Jimmy Webb; the single went gold, and topped the charts for three weeks. She received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The song was featured on Summer's first live album, Live and More, which also became her first album to hit number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and went double platinum, selling over 2 million copies.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1977
    Age 29
    Summer recorded the song "Down Deep Inside" as the theme song for the 1977 film The Deep.
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    In 1977, Summer released the concept album I Remember Yesterday.
    More Details Hide Details The song "I Feel Love", reached 6 on the Hot 100 chart. and No. 1 in the UK. She received her first American Music Award nomination for Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist. The single would attain gold status and the album went platinum in the U.S. Another concept album, also released in 1977, was Once Upon a Time, a double album which told of a modern-day Cinderella "rags to riches" story. This album would attain gold status.
  • 1976
    Age 28
    They divorced in 1976 but Summer kept the anglicized version of her ex-husband's surname as her stage name. Donna married Brooklyn Dreams singer Bruce Sudano on July 16, 1980.
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  • 1975
    Age 27
    Bogart tweaked the title to "Love to Love You Baby", and Casablanca signed Summer, releasing the single in November 1975.
    More Details Hide Details The shorter 7" version of the single was promoted by radio stations, while clubs regularly played the 17 minute version (the longer version would also appear on the album). By early 1976, "Love to Love You Baby" had reached 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and had become a gold single, while the album had sold over a million copies. The song generated controversy due to Summer's moans and groans, and some American stations, like those in Europe with the initial release, refused to play it. Despite this, "Love to Love You Baby" found chart success in several European countries, and made the Top 5 in the United Kingdom despite the BBC ban. Casablanca wasted no time releasing the album A Love Trilogy, featuring "Try Me, I Know We Can Make It" 80 and Summer's remarkable rendition of Barry Manilow's "Could It Be Magic" No. 52, which was followed by Four Seasons of Love, which spawned the singles "Spring Affair" No. 58 and "Winter Melody", No. 43. Both albums went gold.
    In 1975, Summer passed on an idea for a song to Moroder who was working with another artist; a song that would be called "Love to Love You".
    More Details Hide Details Summer and Moroder wrote the song together, and together they worked on a demo version with Summer singing the song. Moroder decided that Summer's version should be released. Seeking an American release for the song, it was sent to Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart. Bogart played the song at one of his extravagant industry parties, where it was so popular with the crowd, they insisted that it be played over and over, each time it ended. Bogart requested that Moroder produce a longer version for discothèques. Moroder, Bellotte, and Summer returned with a 17-minute version.
  • 1973
    Age 25
    As noted, Donna married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973, and gave birth to their daughter (called Mimi) Natalia Pia Melanie Sommer the same year.
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  • 1969
    Age 21
    In 1969, she issued the single "If You Walkin' Alone" on Philips Records. Donna married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973, and gave birth to their daughter (called Mimi) Natalia Pia Melanie Sommer, the same year.
    More Details Hide Details She provided backing vocals for producer-keyboardist Veit Marvos on his Ariola Records release Nice to See You, credited as "Gayn Pierre". Several subsequent singles included Donna performing with the group, and the name "Gayn Pierre" was used while performing in Godspell with Helmuth Sommer during 1972. While working as a model part-time and back up singer in Munich, she met German-based producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte during a recording session for Three Dog Night at Musicland Studios. The trio forged a working partnership, and Donna was signed to their Oasis label in 1974. A demo tape of Summer's work with Moroder and Bellotte led to a deal with the European-distributed label Groovy Records. Due to an error on the record cover, Donna Sommer became Donna Summer; the name stuck. Summer's first album was Lady of the Night. It became a hit in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Belgium on the strength of two songs, "The Hostage" and the title track "Lady of the Night". "The Hostage" reached the top of the charts in France, but was removed from radio playlists in Germany because of the song's subject matter; a high ranking politician had recently been kidnapped and held for ransom.
  • 1968
    Age 20
    In 1968, Summer released (as Donna Gaines) on Polydor her first single, a German version of the title "Aquarius" from the musical Hair, followed in 1971 by a second single, a cover of the Jaynetts' "Sally Go 'Round the Roses", from a one-off European deal with Decca Records.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1967
    Age 19
    She later attended Boston's Jeremiah E. Burke High School where she performed in school musicals and was considered popular. In 1967, just weeks before graduation, Donna left for New York where she joined the blues rock band Crow.
    More Details Hide Details After they were passed on by a record label that was only interested in the band's lead singer, the band agreed to break up. Summer stayed in New York and auditioned for a role in the counterculture musical, Hair. She landed the part of Sheila, and agreed to take the role in the Munich production of the show, moving to Munich, Germany after getting her parents' reluctant approval. Summer eventually became fluent in German, singing various songs in that language, and participated in the musicals Ich bin ich (the German version of The Me Nobody Knows), Godspell and Show Boat. Within three years, she moved to Vienna, Austria, and joined the Vienna Volksoper. She briefly toured with an ensemble vocal group called FamilyTree, the creation of producer Günter "Yogi" Lauke.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1948
    Age 0
    Born on December 31, 1948.
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