Donna Summer

LaDonna Gaines was born to a devout Boston family on New Years Eve 1948. She was first influenced by gospel, then by Motown. She fronted a psychedelic rock band called Crow, but after moving to New York and failing to get a record deal, the band broke up. She landed a spot in a German company of the musical Hair, and lived in Europe for several years. There she met the production duo of Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. Recording now as Donna Summer, in 1975 they released a tune she co-wrote with Bellotte, “Love to Love You Baby.” It became a huge international hit, despite being banned by some radio stations for its moans and groans, and a 17-minute version became a dance favorite at discos. She solidified her standing as the “Queen of Disco” with many hits like “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls” and “She Works Hard for the Money.” Donna became the first artist ever to place three consecutive double albums in the #1 spot on the Billboard charts, and garnered five Grammys over the course of her career.  Twice nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, she failed to gain admittance, which many people saw as a snub of disco by the music industry insiders who vote on the nominees. Donna died in May 2012, and the following December, in a belated act of remorse, those same voters selected her for the Hall.
(by Steve Nelson)

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