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Arts and Entertainment

Queen Of Disco Donna Summer Dies At Age 63

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Donna Summer, the silky-voiced singer whose songs "Last Dance," "Love To Love You Baby," "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls," and "I Feel Love" were staples of the 1970s, died today. According to TMZ, the 63-year-old was in Florida, battling cancer: "Sources close to Summer tell us ... the singer was trying to keep the extent of her illness under wraps. We spoke to someone who was with Summer a couple of weeks ago ... who says she didn't seem too bad. In fact, we're told she was focused on trying to finish up an album she had been working on."

Summer was born Donna Gaines in the Dorchester section of Boston, Massachusetts on December 31, 1948. According to a biography from the Hollywood Bowl:

From the age of eight, Summer sang in church choirs and city-wide choruses, and by her early twenties, was performing in musical theatre in Germany, winning parts in such highly-acclaimed shows as Hair, Showboat, Godspell, and Porgy and Bess as well as performing with the Viennese Folk Opera. She released her first single, a cover of the Jaynett’s girl-group classic, “Sally Go Round The Roses,” in 1971. While singing backup, she met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte who produced her first single, “Hostage,” which became a hit in the Netherlands, France, and Belgium. In 1975, Moroder and Bellotte produced the international hit, “Love to Love You Baby,” which rose to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and triggered Summer’s triumphant return to the United States as a key figure of the then-emerging disco genre. “Love To Love You Baby” paved the way for such international hits as “MacArthur Park,” “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff,” “Dim All The Lights,” “On The Radio,” and “Enough Is Enough,” as well as the Grammy and Academy award winning theme song “Last Dance,” from the film “Thank God It’s Friday,” which remains a milestone in Donna’s career.

David Bowie said, "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."
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