Donna Summer Musical: 21 cool facts about ‘The Queen of Disco’

Donna Summer was one of the biggest stars of the ‘70s and early ‘80s, selling millions of albums and dominating both radio waves and dance floors with such smash hits as “Last Dance,” “MacArthur Park,” “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls.”

She was, no doubt, “The Queen of Disco,” as important to the genre as any artist one cares to mention.

The life, times and legacy of the great vocalist are celebrated in “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” which runs Dec. 3-29 at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco.

To properly prep folks for the musical, we’ve come up with a list of interesting tidbits, facts and general information about the disco queen.

Here are 21 things fans should know about Donna Summer:

1. The woman who the world would come to know as Donna Summer was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines on Dec. 31, 1948, in Boston to Andrew and Mary Gaines. Her father worked as a butcher, while her mother taught school.

2. Young LaDonna made her stage debut at age 10, filling in for another vocalist and reportedly wowing the congregation at her church.

3. She was just a few weeks away from graduating from Jeremiah E. Burke High School in the Boston area when she auditioned for a production of “Hair” taking place in Germany. When word came that she’d been cast, the singer dropped out of high school and headed for Munich.

4. She’d stick around Germany after “Hair” finished its run and strike up a romance with actor Helmuth Sommer. The couple later married and the singer began going by the name Donna Sommer.

5. While doing backup vocal work in the studio with Three Dog Night, the singer met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and the three formed a partnership that would produce hit after hit.

6. In 1974, Sommer released the full-length studio debut “Lady of the Night,” featuring songs written by Bellotte and Moroder. The album is best remembered for the single “The Hostage,” which became a hit in Europe but didn’t make it to the U.S.

7. The single was supposed to be credited to Donna Sommer. But there was reportedly a printing mistake on the label, exchanging an “o” with a “u,” and the result was Donna Summer. The name stuck.

8. “Love to Love You Baby” began as a standard three-minute single and was basically ignored. Then a much longer version was recorded — clocking in at 17 minutes and filling all of the first side of the 1975 album of the same name — and it became a massive hit at discos.

9. The sexy song was reportedly inspired by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s provocative “Je t’aime… moi non plus,” which was released in 1967, but had found its way back to the charts in the mid ‘70s.

10. Summer quickly followed up “Love to Love You Baby” with many other No. 1 dance hits, including “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It,” “Winter Melody,” “Love’s Unkind” and “I Feel Love,” solidly positioning herself as “The Queen of Disco.”

11. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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