News / Arts & Entertainment

Last Dance for Queen of Disco; Donna Summer Succumbs to Cancer

Donna Summer performs at the conclusion of the Nobel Peace concert in OsloDonna Summer performs at the conclusion of the Nobel Peace concert in Oslo
x
Donna Summer performs at the conclusion of the Nobel Peace concert in Oslo
Donna Summer performs at the conclusion of the Nobel Peace concert in Oslo
She was known as the Queen of Disco and, for many, her iconic songs came to represent the best of the 1970s Disco era.  Donna Summer died Thursday after a quiet battle with cancer.

Donna Summer was "Hot Stuff" for multiple generations of music fans - her hit songs resonating with music lovers long after they topped the music charts.

But as hot as she was, she said for a long time she was never really comfortable with her celebrity.

"Whenever success comes it is a stranger," said Donna Summer. "When it knocks, it is something you hope for, but the form it takes on when it comes, and sometimes the moment it comes in, is so odd and so obscure."

Born Donna Gaines on December 31, 1948 in Boston, Massachusetts to a religious family, the five-time Grammy Award winner got her start singing in her church choir.

By the time she reached high school, she was starring in school productions and just weeks before her graduation, she was cast in a production of the musical "Hair" - a role that took her to Germany.

She stayed in Germany - and in 1974, she recorded her first solo album, "Lady of the Night."  The album was a hit in Europe, but failed to crack the charts in the U.S.

Her luck changed the following year, when a recording she did of the song "Love to Love You Baby," caught the ears of record company executives and started rising on U.S charts.

Summer returned to America and continued to gain fans, in 1979 becoming the first female singer to score three number-one songs in a single year.

Summer kept recording even as the popularity of Disco began to fade, scoring another big hit in 1983 with "She Works Hard for the Money."

And while she no longer ruled the pop music charts, Summer kept singing and performing to the delight of fans.

Summer died early Thursday in Florida, where she had been living with her husband, singer and songwriter Bruce Sudano.

A statement from her family says they "are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy.''
 
Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco, dead at the age of 63.


Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

At Washington’s Blues Alley jazz singer Jane Monheit and her quartet perform songs made famous by Judy Garland. Monheit sits down with "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten to talk about her music, the singers who influence her, and her life traveling with family on tour.