Monday, February 09, 2009

Number 420 - Donna Summer

Number 420

Donna Summer

"I Feel Love"

Genre: Disco
Summer was born LaDonna Andre Gaines on December 31, 1948, and grew up in Boston's Mission Hill section. Part of a religious family, she first sang in her church's gospel choir, and as a teenager performed with a rock group called the Crow. After high school, she moved to New York to sing and act in stage productions, and soon landed a role in a German production of +Hair. She moved to Europe around 1968-1969, and spent a year in the German cast, after which she became part of the +Hair company in Vienna. She joined the Viennese Folk Opera, and later returned to Germany, where she settled in Munich and met and married Helmut Sommer, adopting an Anglicized version of his last name. Summer performed in various stage musicals and worked as a studio vocalist in Munich, recording demos and background vocals.
Queen Summer
Donna Summer's title as the "Queen of Disco" wasn't mere hype -- she was one of the very few disco performers to enjoy a measure of career longevity, and her consistent chart success was rivaled in the disco world only by the Bee Gees.Summer was certainly a talented vocalist, trained as a powerful gospel belter, but then again, so were many of her contemporaries. Of major importance in setting Summer apart were her songwriting abilities and her choice of talented collaborators in producers/songwriters Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, which resulted in a steady supply of high-quality (and, often, high-concept) material. But what was more, few vocalists could match the sultry, unfettered eroticism Summer brought to many of her best recordings, which seemed to embody the spirit of the disco era perfectly. The total package made Summer the ultimate disco diva, one of the few whose star power was even bigger than the music.
For Bee Gees see Number 526
Yes, thats right, I'm cute
Summer performed in various stage musicals and worked as a studio vocalist in Munich, recording demos and background vocals. Her first solo recording was 1971's "Sally Go 'Round the Roses," but success would not come until 1974, when she met producers/songwriters Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte while working on a Three Dog Night record. The three teamed up for the single "The Hostage," which became a hit around Western Europe, and Summer released her first album, Lady of the Night, in Europe only. In 1975, the trio recorded "Love to Love You Baby," a disco-fied reimagining of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's lush, heavy-breathing opus "Je T'aime...Moi Non Plus." Powered by Summer's graphic moans, "Love to Love You Baby" became a massive hit in Europe, and drew the attention of Casablanca Records, which put the track out in America. It climbed to number two on the singles charts, and became a dance-club sensation when Moroder remixed the track into a 17-minute, side-long epic on the LP of the same name.
For 3 Dog Night see Number 496
12" Dance Collection
In the wake of "Love to Love You Baby," albums (as opposed to just singles) became an important forum for Summer and her producers. The 1976 follow-up Love Trilogy contained another side-long suite in "Try Me (I Know We Can Make It Work)," and demonstrated Moroder and Bellotte's growing sophistication as arrangers with its lush, sweeping strings. Four Seasons of Love, released later in the year, was a concept album with one track dedicated to each season, and 1977's I Remember Yesterday featured a variety of genre exercises. Despite the album's title, it produced the most forward-looking single in Summer and Moroder's catalog, the monumental "I Feel Love." Eschewing the strings and typical disco excess, "I Feel Love" was the first major pop hit recorded with an entirely synthesized backing track; its lean, sleek arrangement and driving, hypnotic pulse laid the groundwork not only for countless Euro-dance imitators, but also for the techno revolution of the '80s and '90s. It became Summer's second Top Ten hit in the U.S., and she followed it with Once Upon a Time, another concept album, this one retelling the story of Cinderella for the disco era. ~ [Steve Huey, All Music Guide]
According to Bowie ...

I Feel .... [?]
According to David Bowie, then in the middle of his own groundbreaking 'Berlin Trilogy', its impact on the genre's direction was recognized early on: “One day in Berlin ... Eno came running in and said, 'I have heard the sound of the future.' … he puts on 'I Feel Love', by Donna Summer … He said, 'This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.' Which was more or less right.”
The original album version of the song lasted almost six minutes. The song was extended for its release as a 12" maxi-single, the eight-minute version is included on the 1989 compilation
The Dance Collection: A Compilation of Twelve Inch Singles . The song was only very slightly edited on the 7" format, with the fade-in opening sound reaching maximum volume quicker. A version which fades out at 3:45, before the third verse and the final choruses, has however been included on a large number of greatest hits packages and other compilations issued by PolyGram, Mercury Records, Universal Music and others, such as 1994's Endless Summer: Greatest Hits and 2003's The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For David Bowie see Number 455, #465, #495, #634 & [with Queen] #513
So, What does RS think of Queen Donna?
Don't let the title cut put you off. "I Remember Yesterday" appears to be a plagiarism of the sound and mannerisms of Dr. Buzzard's Original "Savannah" Band, but the steal is so complete that all those woozy clarinets and disco-ized big-band riffs become Summer's own. The rest of the album, however, is the luxurious stretching out of a performer just beginning to realize her strengths and possibilities. Summer's sexual breathiness has evolved into a sensual croon that exudes both power and vulnerability. The thrill of the final song, "I Feel Love," is as much in its arrangement as in Summer's soaring vocal, the entire production built as it is upon a frenetic Moog bass line punctuated by what sounds like a whip cracking against concrete. ~ [Source: Rolling Stone Is. 245]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '420th Song of all Time' was "It's Your Thing" by The Isley Brothers. The Isley Brothers has not appeared in The Definitive 1000.
Other songs with reference to Donna Summer #471, #601, #836, #895
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number 411* and an Album ranked at Number (Just 2 songs OK? So have a calm down)
* Closest this site has agreed with any one song with Rolling Stone yet!
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 78.0 out of 108
And a slightly more longer remixed version
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

underlay trademe



Post a Comment

<< Home