Thursday, May 17, 2012

Donna Summer - Eternal Queen Of Disco.

Donna Summer, who died of cancer on May 17, 2012 will always be remembered as an icon of African American music.

Born Donna Gaines on December 31, 1948, the singer and songwriter was known as the Queen Of Disco.

She had a mezzo-soprano vocal range, and was a five-time Grammy Award winner.

Summer was the first artiste to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the US Billboard chart, and she also charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period.

Summer hailed from Boston, Massachusetts.

She was one of seven children raised by devout Christian parents and learnt to sing in church choirs.

She joined the psychedelic rock group The Crow as lead singer during her teens.

In 1968, Summer starred in the Broadway musical Hair.

The musical went to Germany and Summer spent some years in Munich.

She learnt to speak and sing in German there.

Summer sang with the Viennese Folk Opera and German pop group Family Tree in 1973.

In 1972, she married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer.

They had a daughter, Mimi.

Summer released her first album Lady Of The Night in 1974.

It was produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and contained the hit single Love To Love You Baby.

In 1977, Summer released the album I Remember Yesterday.

This album included her second top 10 single I Feel Love.

In 1978, Summer released her version of the Richard Harris ballad MacArthur Park, which became her first US number one hit.

The song was featured on Summer's album Live And More, which also became her first album to hit number one on the US Billboard 200 chart.

In 1978, Summer acted in the film Thank God It's Friday, playing a singer determined to perform at a hot disco club.

The film met modest success, but a song from the film, titled Last Dance, resulted in Summer winning her first Grammy Award.

Its writer Paul Jabara won an Academy Award for the composition.

Despite her musical success, Summer struggled with anxiety and depression and became dependent on prescription drugs for several years.

In 1979, Summer performed at the world-televised Music For UNICEF Concert, joining contemporaries such as ABBA, Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Rod Stewart, John Denver, Earth, Wind And Fire, Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson for an hour's TV special that raised funds and awareness for the world's children.

Quincy Jones produced Summer's 1982 album Donna Summer.

It contained the singles Love Is In Control and She Works Hard For The Money.

In 2008, Summer released the album Crayons.

It had the hit singles I'm A Fire, Stamp Your Feet and Fame.

On December 11, 2009, Summer performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, in honor of US President Barack Obama.

She was backed by the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.

In 2011, Summer recorded Angel with her nephew, hip-hop singer, songwriter and composer Omega Red.

Summer was twice married and had 2 daughters.

She was the first African American to receive an MTV Video Music Awards nomination (Best Female Video and Best Choreography for She Works Hard For The Money).

Her Grammys were for Best R&B Vocal Performance (Female) - Last Dance in 1979, Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female) - Hot Stuff in 1980, Best Inspirational Performance - He's A Rebel in 1984, Best Inspirational Performance - Forgive Me in 1985 and Best Dance Recording - Carry On in 1988. Wikipedia.