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Donna Summer

  • 🇺🇸 Boston, MA
  • Years Active
    1968 - 2012
Donna Summer was the unrivaled Queen of Disco. Her work with legendary Italian producer Giorgio Moroder triggered a seismic shift in the Top 40 from rock to dance music.

Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines in 1948. Her musical journey began in the church choir, and after fronting a folk-rock band in her native Boston, she won a role in the German production of the rock musical Hair and relocated to Munich, where she gained regional fame in musical theater and light opera. Her marriage to Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer in 1973 produced her stage name: a record label misprint anglicized "Sommer," and the moniker stuck.

Summer's commercial breakthrough came in the mid-1970s with the release of "Love to Love You Baby." The single, characterized by its sensuous vocals and pulsating rhythm, became a massive hit and marked the beginning of her association with the disco genre, a movement that was rapidly gaining momentum in the cultural landscape. Her influence on disco music remains unparalleled: for example, "I Feel Love" features an innovative use of synthesizers and a futuristic sound that continues to inspire generations of artists.

As the disco era began to wane, Summer embraced new styles and sounds, such as pop and R&B. Her 1979 album Bad Girls blended disco with rock and funk influences, and spawned hits like "Hot Stuff" and "Dim All the Lights" in addition to its title track. Summer passed away on May 17, 2012 after a battle with lung cancer.

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