Donna Summer: Goodbye to Disco's Queen

  • May 21, 2012
  • Jenna Maxwell

Donna Summer, known affectionately as the Queen of Disco passed away this week but not without leaving behind a legacy filled with pulsating beats and catchy dance tunes.  Donna always felt her true roots were in the heart of Rock ‘n’ Roll and was uncomfortable and somewhat reluctant to wear the royal title as the Queen of Disco.   The decade of the seventies was defined, however, by the music of Donna Summer. Even when disco crashed and burned at the end of the dance-beat driven decade (the 70's disco costumes continue to be a hit however), this woman still continued to reinvent herself. 

By far the most controversial song ever recorded by Donna Summer was the infamous and ultra sultry “Love To Love You Baby.”  The over the top sexual tapestry that is woven in the half-sung, half-moaned song came to fruition in a decade that was filled with completely new rules regarding sex, race, fashions and even drugs.  This sexually charged song was considered so racy at the time that it required significant editing for radio play.

Donna Summer: Video 'Love To Love You Baby' from 1975

Donna Summer had many big disco hits to her name including other favorites such as the likes of “I Feel Love” and “Last Dance”.  Even when the glory days of disco were beginning to fade away, Donna still cranked out some of her biggest hits such as “She Works Hard For the Money”, a women’s anthem that burned up the charts in the early 1980’s. 

Donna had many other lesser-known successes in her career, including being a successful writer in the country music genre.  Co-written by Donna and her husband, Bruce Sudano, “Starting Over Again” became a #1 hit for Dolly Parton in 1980 and once again hit the top 20 for Reba McIntyre in 1995.   Although Donna herself never recorded “Starting Over Again”, she has described having someone else record her song as “a life-changing experience”. 

Donna Summer’s career, her life, and her legacy--all have left her fans feeling their lives changed forever as well. You can’t have lived through the seventies without carrying one of her smoldering melodies with you.  This Disco Queen will indeed forever reign.