Thursday, 17 May 2012

Lady of the Night ... RIP Donna Summer

Her songs played on the radio and on passing car stereos as I grew up. An early one, "Love to Love You, Baby" was, of course, completely beyond me and not appropriate for me to hear at the time it came out (I was five), but it played just the same. Later on, I heard Donna Summer's version of "MacArthur Park" (I heard the Richard Harris original sometime later) and heard the stunning vocal acrobatics of someone whose singing could cross from soul to rock to operatic in a heartbeat. "Last Dance" opened many a TV special (including a Dick Clark's American Bandstand anniversary show). The summer before I started grade eight, I first saw the video for "She Works Hard For The Money" and loved the sight of hard working women, including Summer herself, proudly asserting themselves.

It was only much later that I learned more about Summer's life and musical contributions: her girl groups in the 1960s, her idolizing of rock singer Janis Joplin, her familiarity with Lower East Side New York counterculture including the music of the Velvet Underground. Her classical training. Her role in the German production of the musical Hair. Such a rich, musical talent.

Donna Summer, I can scarcely imagine the music world, or the world period, without you, but I guess I will have to. You will be missed.

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