Donna Summer, Legendary disco singer dead at 63
THE POP MUSIC WORLD was stunned Thursday by the death of Donna Summer, the original “Disco Queen” who ruled the late 1970s and proved over the next three decades that she and her music were stars, not fads.
She was 63 and died after a secret battle with cancer, her publicist said. She was reportedly diagnosed with lung cancer 10 months ago but had made no public acknowledgment.
“It was a big surprise,”said John (Jellybean) Benitez, the famed deejay, producer and remixer who had worked with Summer and is now executive producer of Sirius XM’s Studio 54 Radio.
Date of Birth
31 December 1948, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death
17 May 2012, Florida, USA (lung cancer)
LaDonna Adrian Gaines
Queen of Disco
5' 7" (1.70 m)
Donna Summer was the Queen of Disco in the 1970s with a pop/dance/rock sound that was a hybrid of American soul and European synthesizer based music. Summer's musical career was launched on stage in Munich, Germany, in productions of Hair and Porgy & Bess. In Germany, she hooked up with producers, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, and delivered the orgasmic "Love to Love You Baby" which brought her worldwide fame. Summer was the first female artist to garner back-to-back multi-platinum double albums and the first female artist to incorporate synthesizers as well as the first artist to create an extended play song. Musically, she diversified into pop and rock, while career-wise, she appeared in the disco dud, Thank God It's Friday (1978), for which the song, "Last Dance" won an Academy Award for Best Song, as well as numerous American TV music specials.
Her career continued into the 1980s with the release of the album "The Wanderer", a diverse fusion of rock and dance. Soon afterward, Summer announced that she was a born-again Christian. She was then accused of making anti-gay comments in relation to the AIDS epidemic. Although Summer later claimed that she had been misquoted, thousands of her records were returned to her record companies by angered fans and there was a worldwide boycott of her music in dance clubs. Summer returned to the charts in in the late 80s and early 90s with various dance hits. She recently ended her longtime association with Polygram and moved to Nashville to work on country music and to pursue her other passion, painting. In 1998, she won a Grammy for Best Dance Single and has plans to launch a Broadway musical, "Ordinary Girl", based on her life.