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 Donna Summer

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Donna Summer

Vocalist. Nicknamed the "Queen of Disco", she was a major figure of the genre's popularity as her songs echoed throughout nightclubs during the mid 1970s to early 1980s earning her multiple Grammy Awards and nominations. Born LaDonna Adrian Gaines, in Boston on New Year's Eve 1948, her father was a butcher her mother was a school teacher, she loved to sing as a child and experienced her first opportunity to perform in front of an audience by accident when she filled in for an absentee singer at her church when she was ten years old. While attending high school, she participated in staged musicals and following graduation she landed a role in the production of "Hair" which was performing in Germany. She remained in Europe and appeared in several more musicals, among them "Godspell" and "Porgy and Bess", prior to launching her recording career as a backup singer and in 1974, she released her first solo album "Lady of the Night". This was followed with "Love to Love You Baby" (1975) and the sexually-provocative single of the same title earned her gold record status and a number 2 placing on the US Charts securing her as a commercial artist. During this period, she married German actor Helmut Sommer (married in 1973 and divorced two years later) and changed the spelling of her last name to Summer. "I Feel Love", the single from her album "I Remember Yesterday" became her second gold record. What followed was a string of number one hits including gold and platinum records among them "McArthur Park" (1978), "Last Dance" (1978), "Heaven Knows" (1979), "Hot Stuff" (1979), "Bad Girls" (1979), "Dim All The Lights" (1979), "No More Tears" (1979, a duet with Barbra Streisand), "On the Radio" (1980), "The Wanderer" (1980) and "She Works Hard For the Money" (1983). Her final Top-Ten hit would be "This Time I Know It's For Real" (1989). Success did not come without controversy for her and during the 1980s she allegedly made remarks about gays and AIDS which had a negative affect on her career. In addition, she revealed that she had long suffered from severe depression. She died following a year- long battle with lung cancer. She left an indelible impression on the music industry and it would be difficult to think of Disco without remembering Donna Summer. She was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

Bio by: C.S.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Edward Johnson
  • Added: 17 May 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 90273935
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Donna Summer (31 Dec 1948–17 May 2012), Find A Grave Memorial no. 90273935, citing Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens, Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .