Donna Summer (1948-2012)
Disco Queen Donna Summer passed away yesterday at her home in Key West, FL, following a battle with cancer. She was 63.
The singer, born Ladonna Adrian Gaines on New Year’s Eve 1948 in Boston, began her professional career in the world of musical theater, starting with a role in a late 60’s production of Hair in Munich, Germany. Her first single as a pop singer, “If You Walkin’ Alone,” was released in 1971.
Summer continued to pursue a career in pop, and signed a record deal with European-based label Groovy Records after being spotted singing backup for Three Dog Night. Her first major success was the disco classic “Love to Love You Baby,” which hit #2 on the Billboard charts in 1976, and was later sampled by Beyoncé on her track “Naughty Girl”.
An extended series of hits followed, including such tracks as “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls,” and “I Feel Love,” the latter of which was covered as the opening track on The New Deal’s Gone Gone Gone. She enjoyed a streak of success with every album from 1974’s Love to Love You Baby through 1983’s She Works Hard For The Money qualifying for gold status or greater in sales, and placing at least one single in the Billboard Top 40 every year from 1976 through 1984.
While the frequency of hit records and singles declined over the remainder of her career, she still earned gold sales for a number of her later albums, and was awarded the first ever Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 1998, as well as being nominated again in the category in 2000. Her most recent album is 2008’s Crayons, and her last single is 2010’s “To Paris With Love,” which hit #1 on the US Billboard Dance Chart.
She leaves behind a husband, 3 daughters, and her legacy as the eighth most successful female recording artist in Billboard history.