Thursday 17 May 2012

Donna Summer dies battling cancer

The creative world has been thrown into mourning as another diva and Queen of disco, Donna Summer, died this morning, aged 63.

  Her death came barely three months after Whitney Houston passed on in February.

  Summer, real name LaDonna Adrian Gaines, according to sources died of breast cancer.  
Donna Summer

  She was a 5-time Grammy Award winner. Some of her hits, which dominated the music charts in the 1970s through 1980s included Last Dance, Bad Girls and Hot Stuff, She Works Hard for the Money, and This Time I Know It’s for Real.

  She is survived by her husband, singer and producer Bruce Sudano, their daughters, Brooklyn and Amanda and Summer's daughter, Mimi, from a previous marriage.
According to a 2008 interview with ABC News, Summer’s career started when she left home at age 18 to audition for the Broadway production of “Hair” and got a role in the show when it moved to Germany. There, she met   producer Giorgio Moroder, who would launch her solo career. She went on to produce hits like “Bad Girls,” “Last Dance,” and “She Works Hard for the Money,” a song that was inspired by a washroom attendant.

“I was at a Grammys party … and I went to the ladies room and on my way in I saw this little old lady sitting at the end of the bar. And she was asleep,” Summer told “Nightline.” “She was the bathroom attendant. And at that same moment, a group of ladies walked into the room and started spraying their hair and doing all these things. And my first thought was ‘God, she works hard for her money, that lady.’

 “And then I thought, ‘man, that’s a song,’” she said. “So I went and grabbed my manager and we went back into the bathroom and started writing the song on a piece of toilet paper.”
Quite interesting, Summer and Houston had a lot in common. From her 2003 autobiography, Summer says of Houston: “The first time I saw the movie The Bodyguard, with Whitney Houston, I thought I was watching a documentary of my own life, with all the tensions and difficulties of putting on that kind of show. (I love Whitney, by the way, and think she was great in the film. Her husband, Bobby Brown, happens to be a distant relative of mine. Talk about a small world!)”

  Donna Summer's 2003 autobiography, Ordinary Girl
 And about one of her greatest hits, Love to Love You, Baby,“ she recalls: “...One example typical of the craziness that surrounded the record's popularity was a drag-show performer who decided to use "Love to Love You, Baby" as his theme song. No sooner did he go on the road with his show than a rumor began that Donna Summer was actually a male transvestite! I thought it was funny. My mother happened to be listening to the radio one day and heard some talk show where a guest was saying that I was really a man. She got so incensed she called the station and started yelling at the deejay on the air, saying that her daughter was on hundred percent female, and she should know since she'd happened to be at the birth! I howled when I heard the story.

  “The next summer, "Love to Love You, Baby" went to number one in South America and Italy. In the midst of my U.S. tour, Neil decided to send me to both places to help keep the record at the top of the charts. It was fun, but sometimes it was a bit terrifying.

  “One time in Venezuela we were onstage in a stadium playing to twenty-five thousand packed-in people. In South America they don't charge a lot of money for admission but make their profits in sponsorships, concessions, and refreshments. A lot of beer gets guzzled. During the show, people started getting rowdy and throwing cans and bottles up in the air. By the time I got to "Love to Love You, Baby," the press of drunken people against the stage was so overwhelming it moved our stage fifty feet back, until we were pushed against the rear wall of the stadium! Chaos broke out as people started trampling one another. I was barely able to escape. One of our local bodyguard's daughter was caught in the melee and wound up with a broken arm. It was out of control and so scary, especially since my daughter and my younger sister were with me that day.

  “On one of our South American stops I was being interviewed by a reporter from UPI who couldn't stop looking at me in a very strange way. When I finally asked him what the matter was, he said, "Oh, nothing. Except, you know, you really don't look at all like a man."

"A" I said. "I have a daughter. I'm the real thing. What man can do that?" I smiled sweetly and said, "I'm no man, baby."

 “I realized the rumor had made its way south. I was just going to have to learn to live with it. That was the first time I realized how painful a lie could be. Success has its price.

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