Donna Summer: A Musical Retrospective

RIP, Donna Summer. You will be missed.
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Donna Summer: A Musical Retrospective

RIP, Donna Summer. You will be missed.

-Lucia Peters

Donna Summer

Sad news: Yesterday, disco queen Donna Summer passed away in her home in Florida after a long battle with breast and lung cancer. She was 63 years old. As with Whitney Houston earlier this year, the loss of this music legend will be deeply felt; she was undeniably one of the most important recording artists of her time. Let’s let her music speak for itself. RIP, Donna. You will be missed.

1. “Love to Love You Baby”

Though Donna had a moderate success in Europe with 1974’s “The Hostage,” it was the 1975 tune “Love to Love You Baby” that got her on the map in the US. In addition to the radio edit, Donna also recorded a 17 minute version for clubs and discotheques. The song was extremely popular—but also somewhat controversial due to Donna’s moaning, groaning style. Guess what people compared it to?

2. “MacArthur Park”

“MacArthur Park” has a long history: It was written by Jimmy Webb and first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968 and has seen some 50 covers in its day. The most popular one was Donna Summer’s 1978 version. With this track, she achieved her first number 1 hit in the US.

3. “Last Dance”

With the ballad “Last Dance,” the awards started pouring in for Donna. Featured on the Thank God It’s Friday movie soundtrack, this 1978 tune won both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song—and perhaps more importantly, it netted Donna her first Grammy. The award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance went to her that year for this hit.

4. “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”

The tail end of the ‘70s were full of hits for Donna; after “MacArthur Park” hit number 1 on the charts hits like “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” shortly followed. The Donna Summer/Barbara Streisand duet “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” marked Donna’s fourth number 1 hit in thirteen months. Not too shabby!

5. “The Wanderer”

The ‘80s were a little bit of a tougher decade for Donna than the booming ‘70s had been, but she still had a big hit with her 1980 album The Wanderer. Its title track revealed Donna’s disco sound giving way to something more rock-driven. Unlike many of her previous singles, “The Wanderer” had no extended version.

More of Donna’s unforgettable music up next.

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