by (@Lacezilla)

Music Royalty And Heartfelt Tributes Close Out Essence Music Fest


After an already action-packed weekend of Superlounge performances, empowerment panels, and headline-grabbing mainstage sets, Essence Music Festival came to a close last night in New Orleans. Like many other festivals, Essence is notorious for headlining sets extending late into the early morning of the next day, but when the artists performing are esteemed members of music’s nobility, you stay put!

Kirk Franklin kicked off the festival’s third and final night, handing the mic off to VH1 star Fantasia before soulful crooner Anthony Hamilton and his phenomenal back-up vocalists transformed the Mercedes Benz Superdome into a refreshing gospel experience. The big-ticket performers – Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and Queen of Funk Chaka Khan – would soon follow.

As the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Aretha Franklin has free reign to pretty much do whatever she wants on stage, and did just that. She’d open her mouth, and magic would pour out; graciously bestowing gifts like “(Your Love has Lifted me) Higher and Higher,” “Natural Woman,” “Think,” and “Something He Can Feel,” the 18-time Grammy winner who sang at President Obama’s inauguration was met with a respectful, hyper-attentive audience that contrasted the normal bustling-in-and-out-of-their-seats EMF crowd. Despite the fact that she would at times meander into telling stories and jokes, appropriating an audience-member’s fedora, complaining about the venue’s sound, and acknowledging friends of hers that were in the crowd by asking them to stand, Franklin’s lengthy 90-minute set was any music fan’s dream even that late in the evening.

While Franklin changed her wardrobe from an orange gown to a green and gold frock mid-performance, a presentation was held in her honor, giving Queen of Soul a key to the city of New Orleans by its mayor Mitch Landrieu, a state award by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, and the Essence Power Award from Essence Communications President, Michelle Ebanks. Representing “entertainment, empowerment and elegance,” Franklin was clearly the ideal choice for this year’s awards, and once the Queen of Soul returned to the EMF stage, she performed crowd favorite “Chain of Fools,” sang from what she called “the book of Simon and Garfunkel,” performing a cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and even found time to pay tribute to the late and legendary Whitney Houston. “She was beautiful, she was warm, she was real,” recounted Franklin of her beloved “Christian sister” as she took to the piano to execute a rendition of Houston’s heart-wrenching “I Will Always Love You.”

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by (@zaragolden)

Adam Lambert’s Donna Summer Cover is Some “Hot Stuff”


They don’t call him Glambert for nothing.

Adam Lambert channeled his inner disco queen this weekend in San Francisco, where he worked a tribute to Donna Summer into his set at Alice Radio Summerthing’s event in Golden Gate Park. “I love Donna Summer so much!” he effused, before launching into a cover of late disco diva’s classic “Hot Stuff.” “Do you love Donna Summer?”

The crowd cheered because of course they love Summer, and of course they loved Lambert’s rocking rendition. In addition to his signature glam-rock flare, he mostly to the song he brings extra cowbell. It worked though, and made for a particularly nice lead in to “Cuckoo,” off his latest album Trespassing.

“In memory of Donna,” as he says, check the performance out below:
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by (@unclegrambo)

Love To Love You Baby: A Special Spotify Playlist Featuring All Of Donna Summer’s Top 40 Hits

Donna Summer R.I.P.

When Donna Summer passed away today at the age of 63, the world lost its undisputed Queens of Disco. During the year 1979, which was arguably the high point of the disco craze, she had five songs chart in the Billboard Top 40 (!!!), three of which — “Hot Stuff”, “Bad Girls” and “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”— made it all the way to #1.

Thanks to her incredible vocal range and an ability to appeal pop, rock and R&B audiences, Donna Summer was able to survive the disco implosion (a fate that a lot of her peers cannot claim). In fact, there was a 14-year span in which Summer had songs that made America’s Top 40, a period that began with the release of the sensually charged “Love To Love You Baby” in December of 1975 and closed in May of 1989 with her Top 10 single “This Time I Know It’s For Real.” And although her mass appeal dimmed as the Nineties dawned, she remained a vital creative force; she picked up a Grammy in 1998 for Best Dance Recording, which was just one of five Grammys she won during her legendary career.

While we mourn the loss of an American legend, we thought the best way to pay tribute to her incredible body of work was to put together the following Spotify playlist, which includes all of her songs that charted in the Billboard Top 40*.

LOVE TO LOVE YOU, BABY: ALL OF DONNA SUMMER’S TOP 40 HITS (Subscribe)

Song: “Bad Girls”
Released: June 9, 1979
Peak Position: #1 for 5 weeks (15 total weeks in the Top 40)

Song: “Hot Stuff”
Released: April 28, 1979
Peak Position: #1 for 3 weeks (17 total weeks in the Top 40)

Song: “MacArthur Park”
Released: September 30, 1978
Peak Position: #1 for 3 weeks (15 total weeks in the Top 40)

Song: “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” featuring Barbra Streisand
Released: October 27, 1979
Peak Position: #1 for 2 weeks (13 total weeks in the Top 40)

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Donna Summer Loses Battle With Cancer, Dead At 63

Donna Summers Dies at 63

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. Read more…

by (@kat_george)

12 Days Of DIVAS: Donna Summer Discos For “Bad Girls”

Wow, it’s the 8th Day of DIVAS and we’re all the more exited for VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul to air on VH1 on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The show will feature performances by Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and other lovely ladies. For the past 8 days we’ve been reliving DIVAS past, drooling over performances from Jill Scott, Beyoncé, Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, a duet between Joss Stone and Gladys Knight and yesterday, Destiny’s Child.

For the 8th day of DIVAS we’re bringing you more Donna Summer, straight from 2000, singing “Bad Girls.” In a disco-fueled performance, Summer is ravishing in a floor length gown adorned with sequins and chandelier earrings. Bringing the attitude with her finger wagging, shoulder shaking, neck popping moves, Summer shows who’s boss, and yeah, it’s those disco bad girls. And as if all that wasn’t enough, the soul veteran delivers and impeccable, powerful vocal to match the dress and lyrics.

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will premiere exclusively on VH1 on Monday, December 19, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

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by (@kat_george)

12 Days Of DIVAS: Donna Summer Reflects On The Supremes

Can I get a “DIVAS!”? VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul, is set to air on VH1 on Monday, December 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with what are set to be epic performances by Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and other lovely ladies. In anticipation of the huge event, we’re playing the role of Ghost Of DIVAS past, and bringing you some of our favourite performances as we take a trip through the archive. So far, we’ve revisited Jill Scott, Beyoncé, Gladys Knight and Whitney Houston, remembering their earth shattering performances on the DIVAS stage.

Today, for the 5th day of DIVAS, my true love gave to me, reflections of the way life used to be! We have Donna Summer singing The Supremes“Reflections” in 2000, and not only is she divine in full curls and fishtailed black gown, she is absolutely commanding. Taking on the classic song with poise and control, Summer makes performing look easy. Hitting spine tingling high notes, and adding an element of husky bedroom-eye undertones to the verses, Summer’s rendition, in the same vein of The Supremes is joyful despite the nostalgic, melancholy subject matter.

VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul will premiere exclusively on VH1 on Monday, December 19, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT.

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Diva Battles: Donna Summer Vs. RuPaul

“VH1 Divas” is back and airing live on Thurday,? Sept. 17 at 9PM EST. In honor of this iconic event we?ve got some of the best performances from past Divas shows, duking it out in an A-List caliber cage match. Check out the clips and vote for your favorite in the poll above, and don?t forget to check out the official VH1 Divas site for more videos, photos and news about the upcoming show.

In the ring today: Donna Summers and RuPaul!

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