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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Disco diva and five-time Grammy winner Donna Summer has died of cancer at the way-too-young age of 63. In 1979, all the 12-year-olds like me AND our parents were happily singing “Toot toot, ahhhh, beep beep!” along with her song “Bad Girls,” which was about prostitutes. Good clean family fun!

My best friend and I used to call into a local radio station to request Donna’s songs “Hot Stuff” and “On the Radio” if an hour went by without our hearing at least one of those.

Her earlier hit, the orgasmic “Love to Love You Baby,” was also popular with all ages.

Nowadays, when people complain that pop stars like Rihanna are too sex-ay, I think, “You don’t know Donna.”

Donna had the ideal disco hairdo …

We all wished for hair like this.

… and wore amazing outfits.

Click for photo source.

Fame and fortune often result in a lot of unhappiness. During her most professionally successful years, Donna struggled with depression and addiction, attempting suicide more than once. At the end of the ’70s, she became a born-again Christian. That led to a controversy in the mid-’80s, when she was rumored to have said that AIDS was God’s way of punishing gay people, who just so happened to be some of her biggest fans. She vehemently denied the accusations. In 2007, she performed at One Mighty Weekend, a gay event that raised money for the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

The year before that, the late (gay) designer Alexander McQueen made a jaded fashionista audience applaud, cheer and whistle when he used a stunning holographic image of model Kate Moss in the presentation of his Fall 2006 collection. A moment like that needs to be followed by big finale. What song did McQueen choose for his models’ final runway walk? “Last Dance” by Donna Summer.

A fitting tribute from one style icon to another.

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21 Responses to “RIP, Disco Goddess Donna Summer”

  1. Christine says:

    What a shock and what a tragedy.

    In 1979, I was 16 and my friends used to sing that song all the time, Can’t say we were badass but we loved that song.

  2. She was awesome and talented and I remember her songs from my youth.
    It’s so sad that she died so young.

  3. kirafashion says:

    I true love old songs, nice to come back in time!

    kisses Wendy S2

  4. Alice Olive says:

    I thought she was soooo beautiful. I know it’s corny, but I remember listening to her in Summer in the school holidays.

  5. Sabine says:

    I didn’t know much about her background, but she’s such a childhood memory and will always be my discoqueen heroine.

  6. lisa says:

    RIP Donna Summer. Truly one of the disco greats.

  7. stacy says:

    McQueen playing Last Dance gave me chills just now. Weird. I loved Bad Girls and Love to Love You.
    She was f-ing great. 🙁

  8. Sue@YujuUK says:

    Her songs evoke so many memories, prancing around my bedroom whilst singing with the aid of a hairbrush, glitterball discos with my once carefree friends, great films i.e. The Full Monty. She was so talented and has blessed many people with a host of happy memories. Thank you Donna, R.I.P. X

  9. Technically not Donna, it’s somebody else’s near identical version for cheapskate copyright reasons, but that song is indelibly linked to the fantastic Abigail’s Party (if you haven’t seen it, you need to!)


    I will dig out my Fiorucci in her honour tonight…

  10. Terri says:

    All day as I’ve listened to the tributes for Donna, I have really been choked up and can so well remember dancing like a maniac in some of my backyard gay bars. It’s made me realize that those days are past…very, very poignant.

  11. drollgirl says:

    she was so awesome. just amazing. and i forgot how sexy she was back then!

  12. silvergirl says:

    Loved donna.back in the day
    had that bad girl album in an 8 track lol

  13. Ah Donna, rest in peace. In my 20’s, I went to actual *discos* and grooved to Donna many a Saturday night.

    • WendyB says:

      Can’t believe how many hits she had and how memorable they all are! Her post-disco “The Wanderer” has been stuck in my head. Love that one.

  14. Marti says:

    I was so naive about “Bad Girls” I thought she was talking about picking up guys just to go dancing with them lol I had the popular songs in 45’s lol
    RIP Donna Summer

    • WendyB says:

      I had no idea that Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” was about an unwed teenage mother for about 20 years after that song came out!

  15. I was a disco queen and ‘Love to Love You Baby’ the long version was a frequent favorite. Many fond memories.

  16. She was really big when I was in college. I miss those songs!