From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
LaDonna Adrian Gaines (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012), known by the stage name Donna Summer, was an American singer/songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the 1970s. She had a mezzo-soprano vocal range, and was a five-time Grammy Award winner. Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the US Billboard chart, and she also charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period.
Cover versions by other artists
"I Feel Love" has been sampled several times. The song was sampled by Madonna, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Moloko, Britney Spears, Robbie Williams, Darren Hayes, Mylo, David Guetta, Stuart Price, and Moby among others. Italian company Gucci used a special version of it in the "Flora" perfume advertising, filmed by Chris Cunningham. "I Feel Love" has been covered onstage by Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante, Kylie Minogue, Blondie, Basement Jaxx, and Finnish progressive rock band Kingston Wall. Venus Hum with Blue Man Group also performed this song with Japanese singer Kumi Koda for their album The Complex, and in 2006, Tracy Bonham stood in for Hum on the Blue Man Group tour, performing the song. Bronski Beat and Marc Almond released the track as a duet with an added bridge section and titled it "I Feel Love/Johnny Remember Me", reaching number 3 in the UK charts in April 1985. In 1992 U.K. alterna-pop group Curve recorded a version for the NME's 40th anniversary compilation Ruby Trax, which became an instant underground classic.
"Love to Love You Baby" was sampled in Beyoncé Knowles's "Naughty Girl" and by TLC on their original version of "I'm Good at Being Bad", but was removed by request of Summer on later editions. The song has been covered in portions onstage by Dionne Warwick. Summer's "Starting Over Again" was a number one hit on the Hot Country Songs chart as a single for Dolly Parton in 1980. It also was a top-forty hit for Parton on the Billboard Hot 100. Reba McEntire named her 1995 album after the song, and McEntire's version hit no. 17 on the country singles chart in 1996. McEntire stated in the album's liner notes that her recording of the song was intended as something of a tribute to Summer and Parton, both artists whom she admired. Summer's "On the Radio" was covered by country artist Emmylou Harris for her 1983 album White Shoes. British singer and actress Martine McCutcheon recorded a version that reached number 7 in the UK charts in February 2001.
In the mid 1980s, Summer was embroiled in a controversy. She had allegedly made anti-gay remarks regarding the then-relatively new disease, AIDS, which as a result had a significantly negative impact on her career and saw thousands of her records being returned to her record company by angered fans. Summer, by this time a born-again Christian, was alleged to have said that AIDS was a punishment from God for the immoral lifestyles of homosexuals. However, she denied that she had ever made any such comment and, in a letter to the AIDS campaign group ACT UP in 1989, she said that it was "a terrible misunderstanding. I was unknowingly protected by those around me from the bad press and hate letters... If I have caused you pain, forgive me." She went on to apologize for the delay in refuting the rumours and closed her letter with Bible quotes (from Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians).
Also in 1989, Summer told The Advocate magazine that "A couple of the people I write with are gay, and they have been ever since I met them. What people want to do with their bodies is their personal preference." A couple of years later she filed a lawsuit against New York magazine when it reprinted the rumours as fact just as she was about to release her album Mistaken Identity in 1991.
- 1974: Lady of the Night
- 1975: Love to Love You Baby
- 1976: A Love Trilogy
- 1976: Four Seasons of Love
- 1977: I Remember Yesterday
- 1977: Once Upon a Time
- 1979: Bad Girls
- 1980: The Wanderer
- 1981: I'm a Rainbow
- 1982: Donna Summer
- 1983: She Works Hard for the Money
- 1984: Cats Without Claws
- 1987: All Systems Go
- 1989: Another Place and Time
- 1991: Mistaken Identity
- 1994: Christmas Spirit
- 2008: Crayons