Summer, Donna

Summer, Donna

▪ American singer
original name  Donna Adrian Gaines 
born Dec. 31, 1948, Boston, Mass., U.S.

      American singer-songwriter considered the “Queen of disco” but also successful in rhythm and blues, dance music, and pop in the 1970s and '80s.

      An admirer of gospel (gospel music) singer Mahalia Jackson (Jackson, Mahalia), Summer sang in church and later in clubs in Boston. At age 18 she joined the German production of the musical Hair. While in Europe she studied with the Vienna Folk Opera and performed in productions of Godspell and Showboat. She also married actor Helmut Sommor, keeping his name after their divorce but Anglicizing it for the stage. While doing session work at in Munich, West Germany, Summer met producer-songwriters Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. The three collaborated on several Europop hits before creating the historic single “Love to Love You Baby” (1975), the first of more than a dozen hits in the United States for Summer, most on Casablanca. Nearly 17 minutes long, the club version of the erotically charged song introduced the 12-inch disco mix. Over the next 14 years Summer wrote or cowrote most of her material, including “I Feel Love,” “Bad Girls,” and “She Works Hard for the Money.” She also scored big hits with “MacArthur Park”; “Hot Stuff”; “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” a duet with Barbra Streisand; and her signature song, “Last Dance,” from the film Thank God It's Friday (1978).

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Universalium. 2010.

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