American singer and songwriter Donna Summer, a.k.a. LaDonna Adrian Gaines, died today in Florida. The cause of death was cancer; she had been battling both lung and breast cancer. There has been speculation that particles from the 9/11 attacks were the cause of her cancer. Summer was deeply affected by the attacks, such that she went into a depression following the tragedy.
In her career, Donna Summers crossed many different music genres, but it was disco that put her most famously on the map. Donna, along with Gloria Gaynor and the Bee Gees, was perhaps one of the top 3 recording artists who set disco in motion back in the early 1970s. Donna Summer’s famous “Love to Love you Baby,” regarded as a disco epic, was one of the first songs to catapult disco into the mainstream. Today, we remember disco as a “Me generation” form of expression, where glamorous clubs with mirrored disco balls were the place to strut and dance in sparkly silver and gold clothes. In its most basic form, disco was hours on end of dancing many nights a week. Soul Train, a weekly-aired morning dance show, further helped popularize the phenomenon, and Saturday Night Fever firmly established disco’s place in history. At its dizzying peak was the success of the infamous Studio 54, where it was an art just to get in the door, worthwhile for those who wanted to hang with the likes of Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger.
Donna Summer was the first gay disco icon, earning the title “the queen of disco.” But in the 1980s, she allegedly made a remark that “AIDS was God’s punishment to homosexuals” which created an outrage in the gay community. In he turbulent personal life, Donna Summer had many husbands, children, battled depression and anxiety attacks and made a number of attempted suicides. She struggled with fame and with lofty titles like “the first lady of love.” Yet she will always be remembered as a music icon and five-time Grammy winner.
Donna Summer passed today with her family at her side. She was 63.
- Donna Summer ” She is simply hot Stuff” (sacratomatovillepost.com)
- love to love you baby (justfortherecords.wordpress.com)