Thursday, May 17, 2012

Donna Summer (1948-2012)

I honestly could not say I was ever a fan of disco. Maybe if I had learned to dance, I would look more kindly on the genre. About as close as I came to liking it is to say that I really enjoyed the Saturday Night Fever album, which I don't actually consider disco, but I guess music from that movie has to qualify.

It was sad to hear of the passing of Donna Summer at the age of 63, a disco legend if ever there was one. It seems that she had been dealing with cancer for some time.

She had a big career and was, notably, a five-time Grammy winner. She was best known for songs like "I Feel Love," Love to Love You Baby," "She Works Hard for the Money," "Hot Stuff," and "Bad Girls." Hell, I even remember her unusual version of Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park."

I had forgotten she performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in honour of President Obama, but she did.

The Rolling Stone piece on her passing carried a quote from Summer that she made in an interview done around the time of her last album, Crayons, in 2008. She was asked if she felt vindicated by her longevity. She replied:

I don't think they made fun of my music as much as they made fun of some of the music that maybe came as a result of that whole genre. But I do think in the course of time it is nice to reestablish something and to say, "Okay, this stood the test of time..." I have nothing to prove to anyone. I just get out there and do my best, and those who love it, great. And those who don't, they'll move on to something else.

That's funny. She was clearly stung by the shots people have taken at disco. I know I've taken some of them myself. But a number of the recordings during that time were good pop music, her's in particular. She had a great career. A lot of people loved that stuff, even if it wasn't for everyone. And the girl could flat out sing.

She got to be a famous recording artist and seemed to do it with a good deal of grace. No small feat.

"Last Dance" was a song I always liked.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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