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Summer Wesley
"Mommy, what's wrong with the lady on the record? Why is she moaning? Is she hurt?"
—A Last.FM user on "Love to Love You Baby". Presumably, this is what he said when he first heard the song.

Donna Summer (1948–2012) ...ah, how to describe her?

She was the Queen of Disco! Oh, but so much more.

LaDonna Gaines was born in Boston and originally trained as a gospel singer before becoming successful in R and B and Pop as well. Her big break came when she met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, who managed her for the rest of The Seventies, and recorded the single "Love to Love You Baby" (1975). She made several concept albums before reaching her peak with Bad Girls (1979), a double album that mixed Rock and Roll, Funk, Blues, Soul and Electronic Music to massive success. She soon broke from disco.

After the 1970s, she had success with songs such as "She Works Hard for the Money" and "This Time I Know It's for Real", although she never recaptured her former glory. Her last album, Crayons, was released in 2008.

She died at her home in Florida after a battle with lung cancer on May 17, 2012.


Summer's music and career provide examples of these tropes:

  • But Not Too Black: Averted Trope, possibly due to her gaining fame in the Blaxploitation era.
  • Breakaway Pop Hit: "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday, in which she both acted and sang.
  • Career Resurrection: Her single "Bad Girls" brought her back in the limelight in mid-2004, thanks to Arrested Development and Portia DeRossi's pole dancing.
    • There was also a brief one in the late 90's, thanks to The Full Monty and its use of "Hot Stuff."
  • Concept Album: Donna made a few of these during the Seventies and Eighties. Four Seasons of Love was a short album detailing the stages of a love affair like the changing of seasons, I Remember Yesterday is an homage to music though the ages to the present and future, and "Once Upon a Time" as a whole tells a modern version of the Cinderella story
  • Executive Meddling: After the major success of "Love to Love You Baby", Summer's label, Casablanca Records, wanted her to act as a sex symbol. Initially, despite unease, Summer went with the public image and followed the label's every instruction on what to wear, how to act and even what doctors and lawyers to use. This eventually led to Creator Breakdown, and after recovery, Summer changed record labels to Geffen and became a born-again Christian.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: In "Love to Love You Baby".
  • Incredibly Long Note: "Dim All the Lights" holds the record for the longest note held in an American Top 40 pop hit, at 16 seconds.
  • Intercourse with You: She's mostly remembered for these kinds of songs, as it was the theme for some of her biggest hits.
  • Signature Song: "Last Dance".
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