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Monday, December 30, 2013

Love to Love You: Happy Birthday, Donna Summer!

Just a few days after my own birthday in 2012, diva Donna Summer died. It was a shock to the public, who didn't know she was ill, and even her friends in the industry. Producer Bob Esty told me in an interview that he had no idea she had a terminal illness until he heard the news of her passing.

Other divas remembered Donna fondly. Gloria Gaynor called Ms Summer "a fine lady and human being," and said she was devastated by the news that her fellow disco-era songstress had succumbed to lung cancer. Cher exclaimed, "She was exquisite!" and that "I remember 'Last Dance' ended my nights at Studio 54! By that song, I was drenched! Hair too!" Liza said Donna was "The Queen of Disco, and we will be dancing to her music forever." Barbra recalled, "I loved doing the duet with her [No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)]. She had an amazing voice and was so talented." And Dolly Parton told the press that Donna had "one of the greatest voices ever. I loved her records. She was the disco queen and will remain so. I knew her and found her to be one of the most likable and fun people ever."

New Year's Eve day (December 31) is Donna Summer's birthday. She was born LaDonna Adrian Gaines in Boston Massachusetts. She performed in the German production of Hair, where she married and divorced Helmut Summer, keeping his name and moving on to become a major recording artist during the disco era of the '70s and continuing to have an outstanding career spanning four decades. She won five Grammys, was the first artist who charted #1 on the US Billboard with three consecutive double-albums and sold over 150 million records worldwide. Along with her producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, she went on to pioneer electronica with songs like "I Feel Love" and "Love to Love You, Baby." She was a defining voice of dance music and it is her voice we will always love and remember her by, and which is missed.

Donna was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year. It's a new year and we wish a Happy Birthday from Dj Buddy Beaverhausen and his readers, Donna, wherever you are!

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