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Died On This Date (May 17, 2012) Donna Summer / Disco Icon

Posted by themusicsover on May 17, 2012

Donna Summer (Born LaDonna Gaines)
December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012

Donna Summer was a world-renowned American R&B singer who hit her stride during the disco era.  Unlike many of her contemporaries, Summer, with her mezzo-soprano vocal range, needed very little studio trickery for her vocals.  Coming of age in Boston during the early ’60s, Summer spent countless hours listening to records by and imitating the likes of the Supremes and Martha & the Vandellas. By then she had already been singing in church gospel groups.  As the ’60s rolled on, Summer discovered the powerhouse vocals of Janis Joplin, who, along with the early girl groups, influenced her own singing. Upon hearing Joplin sing on her Big Brother and the Holding Company records, she decided that’s what she wanted to do, so she joined her first band as lead singer, the psychedelic rock outfit, Crow.   That brought her to New York City where she focused on Broadway.  Her first role of significance was in the European company of Hair!. In 1975, Summer cut her first record, “Love To Love You Baby,” which although banned by most American radio stations due to its raw sexuality, became an instant smash in Europe.  From there it was a deal with Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Records who began pumping an extended version of the song to underground discos and Summer’s massive gay following was born.  She went on to release several albums that helped define the disco era and became the first artist to have three consecutive #1 albums that were two-record sets.  During the ’80s, Summer broke away from disco by adding a more rock sound to her records, and even though she had tracks on the soundtracks for the blockbuster films, Flashdance and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, the decade was not terribly kind to her.  She continued to make records well into the 2000s – some faring better than others, but for the most part were very well received.  Throughout her career, Summer was recognized with five Grammy awards (17 nominations), three multi-platinum albums, 11 gold albums, an NAACP Image Award, and six American Music Awards.  Her songs have been covered (or sampled) by Sheena Easton, David Guetta, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and many more.  Donna Summer passed away after a long struggle with cancer on May 17, 2012.  She was 63.

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On the Radio - Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 & 2 - Donna Summer

One Response to “Died On This Date (May 17, 2012) Donna Summer / Disco Icon”

  1. Jose Rios Salas said

    Esta Mujer es un idolo como canta como anima que voz, para mi es fantastica.

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