Donna Summer, Disco Queen, Dead at 63

Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco has died aged 63. The singer was battling cancer and passed away in Naples, Florida. Her family have released a statement saying they were, ‘are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.’

The singer had huge success in the 1970’s and is often referred to as the Queen of Disco. During her recording career she scored a series of hits with songs like I Feel Love, Love to Love You Baby, She Works Hard For The Money, Bad Girls, Hot Stuff and Last Dance. Summer’s career had a revival in the late 1980s when she teamed up with British producers Stock Aitken and Waterman scoring another round of hits with Love’s About To Change My Heart and This Time I Know Its for Real.

Summer was born La Donna Adrian Gaines in Boston, Massachusetts. She moved to Germany in the early 1970s to take part in a production of the musical Hair. There she married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer, when the couple divorced a few years later she kept the surname but changed it to anglicised Summer.

Summer’s musical breakthrough came when she teamed up with German producers Georgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. The disco song Love to Love You Baby was filled with orgasmic sounds and was popular in discos when Moroder provided a 17 minute version.

Summer continued to have a string of top hits in the ‘70s including I Feel Love, a cover of the Manilow song Could It Be Magic (Later a hit for British boy band Take That), Last Dance, Bad Girls and Hot Stuff. She scored a US number one with her take on the Jimmy Webb ballad MacArthur Park. No More Tears (Enoughis Enough), her duet with Barbara Streisand is also considered a disco classic. In the ‘80s Summer’s hits began to wane but she had another hit in 1983 with She Works Hard For The Money.

In the early ‘80s Summer was the centre of some controversy when it was reported that she made disparaging remarks about gay men and HIV. The reports saw thousands of her records being returned by fans. Summer later clarified that she had not made the remarks.


In 1988 Summer had a career revival in Europe when she teamed up with British Producers Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman to record the album Another Time and Place. The production team who were riding a wave of success having produced hits for Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, Rick Astley and Jason Donovan teamed up with Summer to write the album. It took Summer to the top of the UK charts with This Time I Know It’s For Real and Love’s About To Change My Heart.  The album’s lead single was later a hit in Australia for Young Divas.

Summer’s release of records slowed over the next few years, in the early 90’s she released a new jack swing styled album and also regained prominence as part of the Divas III line-up honouring the career of Diana Ross. In 2008 she released her first full album of new material, the dance orientated Crayons which featured the tracks I’m on Fire and Stamp Your Feet.

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

OIP Staff


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