Sad news to pass along today. We’ve just learned that Donna Summer has passed away at the age of 63. TMZ reports the Queen of Disco was battling cancer, but chose to keep her illness under wraps. She was in Florida at the time of her death.
Summer’s career began in the mid 70s when she met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. Summer rose to fame in the 70s with disco hits like “Last Dance,” “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls.” She climbed the charts with 20 Top 40 hits and 4 No. 1s: “MacArthur Park,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls and “No More Tears.”
At the beginning of her career Summer signed to European label Groovy Records creating her first album Lady of the Night in 1974. Her first American hit, “Love to Love You Baby,” was what would lead to a successful international career. In the UK “Love to Love You Baby” charted in the Top 5, and by 1976 reached the No. 2 spot on the US Billboard 100. The album of the same name sold over one million copies. “I Feel Love” from her 1977 album I Remember Yesterday led to the second Top 10 single for the Queen of Disco. Nearly a year later she landed her first US No. 1 hit with “McArthur Park” featured on her first live album Live and More. It was also her first album to top the charts at No. 1 on Billboard. Live and More went platinum becoming one of the stand out records of her early career.
Bad Girls was a concept album that followed the theme of prostitution. Even with the controversial theme, Summer’s fans were not deterred, making it into a huge success producing the No. 1 hits “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff.” She was on a roll with four number one hits in a 13th month period and eight US top five singles in a two year period. She won her second GRAMMY for “Hot Stuff.”
Seeking a change from disco, Summer experienced with new wave rock on The Wanderer, which was released on her new record label home Geffen Records. Her next big hit, “She Works Hard For the Money” reached number three from the album of the same title. For the remainder of the 80s her music commercially had its ups and downs in both the US and UK. During the 90s Warner Bros released the new jack swing style record Mistaken Identity along with a number of compilations. In addition to music she dabbled in acting with a reoccurring role on Family Matters as Steve Urkel’s aunt. She managed to rack up a GRAMMY for Best Dance Recording for a remixed version of “Carry On,” which made her the first person to ever win that award.
Twenty years after hitting the scene as the great voice with the racy lyrics and dance worthy songs, Summer was still accumulating awards in the new millennium. In 2004 she and her classic “I Feel Love” were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.
In the 70s Summers battled with anxiety and depression as a result of her quick rise to fame. She self-medicated her ailments, leading to an addiction that she overcame by becoming a devout born again Christian.
Disco may have evolved into something new, but Summer remained a class act. Throughout her career she garnered three multi-platinum albums in the US, six American Music Awards, five GRAMMYS, she was the first artist to land three consecutive No. 1 double albums and according to Billboard she is the eight most successful female recording artist in history. Her boogie (oftentimes provocative) disco tracks will remain classics forever. Summer’s influence on music has left an indelible mark on the world.
Donna Summer Dead at 63 [TMZ.com]