Donna Summer

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Donna Summer
Nobel Peace Price Concert 2009 Donna Summer3.jpg
Summer in December 2009
Background information
Birth name LaDonna Adrian Gaines
Also known as
  • The Queen Of Disco
  • The First Lady Of Love
  • Donna Gaines

(1948-{{padleft:12|2|0}-31)December 31, 1948
Boston, Massachusetts [[Image:Flag of Massachusetts].svg|border|20px]]

, U.S.

May 17, 2012(2012-{{padleft:5|2|0}-17) (aged 63)
Naples, Florida Flag of Florida.svg

, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actress
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1968–2012
Associated acts

Donna Summer's title as the "Queen of Disco" wasn't mere hype. Like many of her contemporaries, she was a talented vocalist trained as a powerful gospel belter, but she set herself apart with her songwriting ability, magnetic stage presence, and shrewd choice of studio collaborators, all of which resulted in sustained success. During the '70s alone, she topped the Billboard club chart 11 times with high-quality, often-high concept material that included the rapturous "Love to Love You Baby," the innovative "I Feel Love," and a radically transformed "MacArthur Park." These crossover hits embodied the disco era with audacious musicality and uninhibited eroticism. After her subgenre was declared dead, Summer was very much part of the evolution of dance music. Through the feminist anthem "She Works Hard for the Money," she became an MTV star, and she continued to top the club chart with disco-rooted house singles through 2010, 35 years after her breakthrough. Indeed, she was the ultimate disco diva.

Lady of the NightSummer was born LaDonna Andre Gaines on December 31, 1948, and grew up in Boston's Mission Hill section. Part of a religious family, she first sang in her church's gospel choir, and as a teenager performed with a rock group called the Crow. After high school, she moved to New York to sing and act in stage productions, and soon landed a role in a German production of Hair. She moved to Europe around 1968-1969, and spent a year in the German cast, after which she became part of the Hair company in Vienna. She joined the Viennese Folk Opera, and later returned to Germany, where she settled in Munich and met and married Helmut Sommer, adopting an Anglicized version of his last name. Summer performed in various stage musicals and worked as a studio vocalist in Munich, recording demos and background vocals. Her first solo recording was 1971's "Sally Go 'Round the Roses," but success would not come until 1974, when she met producers/songwriters Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte while working on a Three Dog Night record. The three teamed up for the single "The Hostage," which became a hit around Western Europe, and Summer released her first album, Lady of the Night, in Europe only. In 1975, the trio recorded "Love to Love You Baby," inspired by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's lush, heavy-breathing opus "Je T'aime...Moi Non Plus." Powered by Summer's graphic moans, "Love to Love You Baby" became a massive hit in Europe, and drew the attention of Casablanca Records, which put the track out in America. A 17-minute, side-long epic on the LP of the same name, its single version topped the Billboard club chart and climbed to number two on the Hot 100. A Love Trilogy In the wake of "Love to Love You Baby," albums (as opposed to just singles) became an important forum for Summer and her producers. The 1976 follow-up Love Trilogy contained another side-long suite in "Try Me (I Know We Can Make It Work)," and demonstrated Moroder and Bellotte's growing sophistication as arrangers with its lush, sweeping strings. Four Seasons of Love, released later in the year, was a concept album with one track dedicated to each season, and 1977's I Remember Yesterday featured a variety of genre exercises. Despite the album's title, it produced the most forward-looking single in Summer and Moroder's catalog, the monumental "I Feel Love." Eschewing the strings and typical disco excess, "I Feel Love" was the first major pop hit recorded with an entirely synthesized backing track; its lean, sleek arrangement and driving, hypnotic pulse laid the groundwork not only for countless Euro-dance imitators, but also for the techno revolution of the '80s and '90s. It became Summer's second Top Ten hit in the U.S., and she followed it with Once Upon a Time, another concept album, this one retelling the story of Cinderella for the disco era. Live and MoreSummer's albums were selling well, bolstered by her popularity in the dance clubs, and she was poised to become a major pop hitmaker as well. Her acting turn in the 1978 disco-themed comedy Thank God It's Friday produced another hit in "Last Dance," which won her a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal (as well as an Oscar for songwriter Paul Jabara). Doubtlessly benefiting from the added exposure, the double-LP set Live and More became Summer's first number one album later that year. It featured one side of new studio material, including a disco cover of the psychedelic pop epic "MacArthur Park" that became her first number one pop single early the next year. Her 1979 double-LP Bad Girls featured more of her songwriting contributions than ever, and went straight to number one, as did the lusty singles "Bad Girls" -- co-written with husband Bruce Sudano -- and the rock-oriented "Hot Stuff," which made Summer the first female artist ever to score three number one singles in the same calendar year. Her greatest-hits package On the Radio also topped the Billboard 200, the first time any artist had ever hit number one with three consecutive double LPs; the newly recorded title track became another hit, and Summer's duet with Barbra Streisand, "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)," became her fourth number one single. The Wanderer At the peak of her success, Summer decided to leave Casablanca, and became the first artist signed to the new Geffen label. Sensing that the disco era was coming to a close, Summer attempted to modify her style to include more R&B and pop/rock on her first Geffen album, 1980's The Wanderer; the album and its title track were both hits. Not wanting to alienate her core audience, Summer returned to pure dance music on an attempted follow-up; however, Geffen deemed I'm a Rainbow not worthy of release (it was finally issued in 1996). Instead, Summer ended her collaboration with Moroder and Bellotte and teamed up with Quincy Jones for 1982's Donna Summer. "Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)" was a significant hit, but none of its follow-ups did very well. With producer Michael Omartian, Summer moved back into post-disco dance music and contemporary R&B with 1983's She Works Hard for the Money. Its title track was another crossover smash, given an extra boost by its highly choreographed video, and was nominated for multiple MTV Video Awards. All Systems GoSummer's prime then came to a close. Despite winning a gospel Grammy for "Forgive Me," Summer's 1984 follow-up, Cats Without Claws, flopped, as did the 1987 effort All Systems Go. Hiring the British production team of Stock, Aitken & Waterman, Summer scored her last major mainstream success with the 1989 Top Ten single "This Time I Know It's for Real," from the album Another Place & Time. Around the same time, she began denouncing her earlier, "sinful" disco material. Mistaken Identity, released in 1991, effectively killed her momentum and was her lone proper studio album of the decade. However, she did make some noise in clubs with "Melody of Love," from the excellent 1994 retrospective Endless Summer, and reunited with Moroder for the 1997 non-LP single "Carry On," which won the inaugural Grammy for Best Dance Recording. VH1 Presents: Live & More Encore!Summer subsequently signed a deal with Sony, which primed her for re-establishment with 1999's VH1 Presents: Live and More Encore!, which featured the new song "I Will Go with You (Con Te Partiro)," another number one club hit. After a couple additional non-album singles, she released the energetic and eclectic Crayons. Four of its singles scaled to the top of the dance chart. Summer remained intermittently active with concert and TV appearances during the next several years, and released "To Paris with Love," her final chart-topping single, in 2010. After battling lung cancer, Donna Summer died at her home in Naples, Florida on May 17, 2012. The following April, she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


main|Donna Summer

Studio Albums

Lady of the Night (1974)

Lady Of The Night
Lady Of The Night
  1. Lady of the Night
  2. Born to Die
  3. Friends
  4. Full of Emptiness
  5. Domino
  6. The Hostage
  7. Wounded
  8. Little Miss Fit
  9. Let's Work Together Now
  10. Sing Along (Sad Song)

Love to Love You Baby (1975)

Love To Love You Baby
Love To Love You Baby
  1. Love to Love You Baby
  2. Full of Emptiness
  3. Need-a-Man Blues
  4. Whispering Waves
  5. Pandora's Box
  6. Full of Emptiness (Reprise)

A Love Trilogy (1976)

A Love Trilogy
A Love Trilogy
  1. Try Me, I Know We Can Make It
  2. Intro: Prelude to Love
  3. Could It Be Magic
  4. Wasted
  5. Come With Me

Four Seasons of Love (1976)

Four Seasons Of Love
Four Seasons Of Love
  1. Spring Affair
  2. Summer Fever
  3. Autumn Changes
  4. Winter Melody
  5. Spring Reprise

I Remember Yesterday (1977)

I Remember Yesterday
I Remember Yesterday
  1. I Remember Yesterday
  2. Love's Unkind
  3. Back in Love Again
  4. I Remember Yesterday (Reprise)
  5. Black Lady
  6. Take Me
  7. Can't We Just Sit Down (And Talk It Over)
  8. I Feel Love

Once Upon a Time (1977)

Once Upon A Time
Once Upon A Time
  1. Once Upon a Time
  2. Faster and Faster to Nowhere
  3. Fairy Tale High
  4. Say Something Nice
  5. Now I Need You
  6. Working the Midnight Shift
  7. Queen for a Day
  8. If You Got It Flaunt It
  9. A Man Like You
  10. Sweet Romance
  11. (Theme) Once Upon a Time
  12. Dance Into My Life
  13. Rumour Has It
  14. I Love You
  15. Happily Ever After
  16. (Theme) Once Upon a Time

Bad Girls (1979)

Bad Girls
Bad Girls
  1. Hot Stuff
  2. Bad Girls
  3. Love Will Always Find You
  4. Walk Away
  5. Dim All the Lights
  6. Journey to the Center of Your Heart
  7. One Night in a Lifetime
  8. Can't Get to Sleep at Night
  9. On My Honor
  10. There Will Always Be a You
  11. All Through the Night
  12. My Baby Understands
  13. Our Love
  14. Lucky
  15. Sunset People

The Wanderer (1980)

The Wanderer
The Wanderer
  1. The Wanderer
  2. Looking Up
  3. Breakdown
  4. Grand Illusion
  5. Running for Cover
  6. Cold Love
  7. Who Do You Think You're Foolin'
  8. Nightlife
  9. Stop Me
  10. I Believe in Jesus

Donna Summer (1982)

Donna Summer
Donna Summer
  1. Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)
  2. Mystery of Love
  3. The Woman in Me
  4. State of Independence
  5. Livin' in America
  6. Protection
  7. (If It) Hurts Just a Little
  8. Love Is Just a Breath Away
  9. Lush Life

She Works Hard for the Money (1983)

She Works Hard For The Money
She Works Hard For The Money
  1. She Works Hard for the Money
  2. Stop, Look and Listen
  3. He's a Rebel
  4. Woman
  5. Unconditional Love
  6. Love Has a Mind of Its Own
  7. Tokyo
  8. People, People
  9. I Do Believe (I Fell in Love)

Cats Without Claws (1984)

Cats Without Claws
Cats Without Claws
  1. Supernatural Love
  2. It's Not the Way
  3. There Goes My Baby
  4. Suzanna
  5. Cats Without Claws
  6. Oh Billy Please
  7. Eyes
  8. Maybe It's Over
  9. I'm Free
  10. Forgive Me

All Systems Go (1987)

All Systems Go
All Systems Go
  1. All Systems Go
  2. Bad Reputation
  3. Love Shock
  4. Jeremy
  5. Only the Fool Survives
  6. Dinner With Gershwin
  7. Fascination
  8. Voices Cryin' Out
  9. Thinkin' Bout My Baby

Another Place and Time (1989)

Another Place And Time
Another Place And Time
  1. I Don't Wanna Get Hurt
  2. When Love Takes Over You
  3. This Time I Know It's for Real
  4. The Only One
  5. In Another Place and Time
  6. Sentimental
  7. Whatever Your Heart Desires
  8. Breakaway
  9. If It Makes You Feel Good
  10. Love's About to Change My Heart

Mistaken Identity (1991)

Mistaken Identity
Mistaken Identity
  1. Get Ethnic
  2. Body Talk
  3. Work That Magic
  4. When Love Cries
  5. Heaven's Just a Whisper Away
  6. Cry of a Waking Heart
  7. Friends Unknown
  8. Fred Astaire
  9. Say a Little Prayer
  10. Mistaken Identity
  11. What Is It You Want
  12. Let There Be Peace

Christmas Spirit (1994)

Christmas Spirit
Christmas Spirit
  1. White Christmas
  2. The Christmas Song
  3. O Come All Ye Faithful
  4. Christmas Is Here
  5. Christmas Medley: What Child Is This?/Do You Hear What I Hear?/Joy To The World
  6. I'll Be Home for Christmas
  7. Christmas Spirit
  8. Breath of Heaven
  9. O Holy Night
  10. Lamb of God

I'm a Rainbow (1996)

I'm A Rainbow
I'm A Rainbow
  1. I Believe (In You)
  2. True Love Survives
  3. You to Me
  4. Sweet Emotion
  5. Leave Me Alone
  6. Melanie
  7. Back Where You Belong
  8. People Talk
  9. To Turn the Stone
  10. Brooklyn
  11. I'm a Rainbow
  12. Walk On (Keep on Movin')
  13. Don't Cry for Me Argentina
  14. A Runner With the Pack
  15. Highway Runner
  16. Romeo
  17. End of the Week
  18. I Need Time

Crayons (2008)

  1. Stamp Your Feet
  2. Mr. Music
  3. Crayons (featuring Ziggy Marley)
  4. The Queen Is Back
  5. Fame (The Game)
  6. Sand on My Feet
  7. Drivin' Down Brazil
  8. I'm a Fire
  9. Slide Over Backwards
  10. Science of Love
  11. Be Myself Again
  12. Bring Down the Reign
  13. It's Only Love (Int'l Edition Bonus Track)

Fun Street (2009)

  1. Fun Street
  2. Little Marie
  3. Shout It Out
  4. They Can't Take Away Our Music
  5. Back Off Boogaloo
  6. Jeannie
  7. Nice to See You
  8. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye
  9. Do What Mother Do

Songs on Compilations and Soundtracks

  1. The Power of One from the soundtrack Pokémon 2000: The Power of One (2000

Other Songs

The songs listed below should be split into albums. Please remove this section once this has been done. (more information)
  1. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
  2. (Theme) Once Upon a Time (Alternative)
  3. Can't Understand
  4. Carry On
  5. Denver Dream
  6. Does He Love You?(Duet With Liza Minnelli)
  7. Don't Cry For Me Argentina (Remixed)
  8. Don't Wanna Work
  9. Down Deep Inside (Theme From The Deep)
  10. Dream-a-Lot's Theme (I Will Live for Love)
  11. Face The Music (Extra Track)
  12. From A Distance
  13. I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
  14. I Got Your Love (Ralphi Rosario Dub)
  15. I Got Your Love
  16. I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro) (from "I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro)" single)
  17. If There Is Music There
  18. If You Walkin' Alone
  19. It Had Better Be Tonight (Meglio Stasera)
  20. La Vie En Rose
  21. Love Is the Healer
  22. Love On & On (from "I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro)" single)
  23. Medley: Unbreak My Heart/Crazy/On The Radio
  24. My Life
  25. My Man Medley: The Man I Love/I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good/Some Of
  26. My Song For You Live In Japan
  27. No Ordinary Love Song
  28. Nobody
  29. One of a Kind
  30. Power of Love
  31. Riding Through the Storm
  32. Sally Go 'round The Roses
  33. So Said The Man
  34. Some of These Days
  35. Someday
  36. Someone to Watch Over Me
  37. Something's in the Wind
  38. Sometimes Like Butterflies (Extra Track)
  39. Starting Over Again
  40. Tearing Down The Walls (Extra Track)
  41. The Man I Love
  42. The Planet Is Alive
  43. Virgin Mary (German Edition Track)
  44. Walk Hand In Hand
  45. You're So Beautiful (Tony Moran Radio Edit
  46. You're So Beautiful


Selected Cuts From "Once Upon a Time" 1977

Live and More (1978)

Live And More
Live And More
  1. Once Upon a Time
  2. Fairy Tale High
  3. Faster and Faster to Nowhere
  4. Spring Affair
  5. Rumour Has It
  6. I Love You
  7. Only One Man
  8. I Remember Yesterday
  9. Love's Unkind
  10. My Man Medley
  11. The Way We Were
  12. Mimi's Song
  13. Try Me, I Know We Can Make It
  14. Love to Love You Baby
  15. I Feel Love
  16. Last Dance
  17. Theme From The Deep (Down, Deep Inside)

Appears On

  1. The Deep 1977 • Album • John Barry
  2. Thank God It's Friday 1978 • Album • Various Artists
  3. Wet 1979 • Album • Barbra Streisand
  4. Memories[ 981 • Compilation • Barbra Streisand
  5. Flashdance 1983 • Album • Various Artists
  6. As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 4 2002 • DJ Mix • 2 Many DJ's
  7. The Essential Barbra Streisand 2002 • Compilation • Barbra Streisand
  8. New Order 2002 • DJ Mix • New Order
  9. From Zero 2004 • Compilation • Enduser
  10. American Hustle 2013 • Album • Various Artists
  11. Un homme à la hauteur 2016 • Album • Various Artists
  12. The Get Down 2016 • Album • Various Artists
  13. A Tribute To Dan Fogelberg 2017 • Album • Various Artists


The Dance Collection (1987)

The Dance Collection
The Dance Collection
  1. I Feel Love
  2. With Your Love
  3. Last Dance
  4. MacArthur Park Suite
  5. Hot Stuff
  6. Walk Away
  7. Dim All the Lights
  8. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

Endless Summer: Donna Summer's Greatest Hits (1995)

Endless Summer: Donna Summer's Greatest Hits
Endless Summer: Donna Summer's Greatest Hits
  1. Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)
  2. Love to Love You Baby
  3. Could It Be Magic
  4. I Feel Love
  5. Last Dance
  6. MacArthur Park
  7. Heaven Knows
  8. Hot Stuff
  9. Bad Girls
  10. Dim All the Lights
  11. No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
  12. On the Radio
  13. The Wanderer
  14. Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)
  15. State of Independence
  16. She Works Hard for the Money
  17. This Time I Know It's for Real
  18. Any Way at All
  1. The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer 2003
  2. The Ultimate Collection 2016

V/A Compilation

  1. Times at Ridgemont High Fast Times at Ridgemont High 1982
  2. Pure Disco 1996
  3. The Full Monty 1997
  4. The Disco Box 1999
  5. Grand 12-Inches 2003
  6. Top of the Pops 1975 - 1979 2016

Bootleg / Unauthorized

  1. A Blue Live Lady 1983
  2. I Feel Love (GU Remix) / Ezeckiel 25 171995 • Donna Summer / DJ Sneak
  3. Nice to See You 1995
  4. Shout It Out! 1995

Appears on: Duets 2006 • Joss Stone

Concert tours

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Notable film and television appearances
Year Title Role Notes
1970 11 Uhr 20 Sängerin in Kasbah Episode: "Tod in der Kasbah"
1978 Thank God It's Friday] Nicole Sims
1994–97 Family Matters Aunt Oona Urkel Episodes: "Aunt Oona" & "Pound Foolish"
2011 [Platinum Hit] Guest judge Episode: "Dance Floor Royalty"

Awards and nominations

main article|List of awards and nominations received by Donna Summer