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Last Dance

Donna Summer

Obit of the Day: Disco Queen Donna Summer

Five-time Grammy Award winner Donna Summer has died at the age of 63. Summer who was born Donna Gaines, began as a session singer including singing backup for Three Dog Night. In 1971 she recorded her first single, “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses,” as Donna Gaines and it was released in Europe where she toured in Broadway shows before becoming a recording star. After her marriage in 1974 she became known as Donna Summer. (It was actually spelled “Sommer,” which was her then-husband’s last name . But after her 1973 divorce she kept it and Americanized it.)

In 1976 she had her first solo hit, “Love to Love You Baby,” which peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboardcharts. This began an eight-year string of top 40 hits including “MacArthur Park” (her first #1 hit), “Last Dance” (performed in the film Thank God, It’s Friday and for which she received a Golden Globe nomination), “Hot Stuff” (for which she won a Grammy), “Bad Girls” (which earned her two Grammy nods…including against herself for “Hot Stuff”), “On the Radio” (a personal favorite of OOTD), and “She Works Hard for the Money” (which earned her the first ever MTV Video Music Award for an African American woman).

Over her career Summer would earn a total of 17 Grammy nominations, including the five wins, two Golden Globe nods (the second was for “The Deep”), and she was honored eight gold and three platinum records. The platinum albums occurred consecutively in 1978 and 1979 with Bad Girls (double platinum), Live and More (a live recording) and On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volume I and II, making her the first artist to have three consecutive double albums (two LPs) hit number in the U.S.

Summer had been fighting breast cancer for several years but as recently as 2010 she had performed at the Nobel Prize ceremony in honor of President Barack Obama. She also recorded her last number one hit that year “To Paris With Love” which reached #1 on the Billboard dance chart.

Additional source: Wikipedia.org

(Donna Summer: The Greatest Hits is copyright 1998, Island Def Jam Record Group)

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