The Queen of Disco has succumbed, after a long battle with breast cancer. It’s hard to believe that five-time Grammy winner Donna Summer is gone. Like the music for which she was famous, she may’ve faded from public view, but she was always near to our hearts.
Having left home to audition for the hippie classic play, Hair, when she was just 18. Though she initially lost the part to Melba Moore, she was eventually offered it when the show moved to Germany. There, she met the record producer who would launch her career. Summer hit it big shortly thereafter. She was the first artist ever to have three consecutive double albums hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts.
Summer was 63 and is survived by her husband Bruce Sudano and three daughters, Mimi, Brooklyn, and Amanda. She will be greatly missed.
In her honor, let’s all cue up a few of her glittery, pro-woman jams today. Here are few to get your mixtape started.
1. She Works Hard for the Money
I was three or four when this single dropped. The title cut from her 14th album, “She Works Hard for the Money” was one of my mother’s anthems. I remember this video vividly–and how it heralds how hard women work to earn and to care for themselves and their families. By the time of this album’s release, disco was on its way out, but the song remains a classic today.
2. “Last Dance”
I love this song’s gauzy, romantic, cooing beginning and how it gives way to a harder, more pulsating rhythm by the end.
3. “Love to Love You Baby”
Cue up this 1975 cut and get in touch with your sexy side. This is one of Summer’s most sensual singles.
“Toot, toot! Awwww… Beep, beep!” “Bad Girls” is a song that seeks to show the parallels between street walkers and any other woman who trades sex/companionship for gifts, dinners, and money. “Now, you and me – we’re both the same
But you call yourself by different names,” she croons. Peep how serious her face (and her outfit) are in this performance, which features model Twiggy.
What’s your favorite Donna Summer song?