Summer Love

I’ve been having a Summer love affair, Donna Summer that is.

While I’ve been doing a lot of vinyl to digital conversion and recording, and setting up my CTProduced.com blog where I’m going to look at the work and production of Creed Taylor, I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz. A lot.

Kate scored us 2x tickets for the Donna Summer musical. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it, but if nothing else, it reminded me how upbeat and joyful true dance music is.

Disco will… never be over. It will always live in our minds and hearts. Something like this, that was this big and this important, and this great, will never die.

Donna Summers story is both fascinating and repeated. Both unique and the same. The musical touched on everything from how she ended up living and working in Germany, not as I expected because her Father was serving in the US Military there; how she got involved with now famed producer Giorgio Moroder; how they made the legendary “Love to Love you baby” track; also her relationships; her problems with the 70’s/80’s male dominated music industry; it also briefly covered her abuse by a Priest, physical abuse by her first husband, and the anti-gay incident, finally the cancer that killed her.

These were all part of her life but don’t overpower the musical. These incidents though, were at the time, I suspect fairly common for women in her position. Pictured below is Donna and Paul Jabara. They’d known each other for a long time, and worked together on great songs. Note though how the caption says, without a hint of remorse, that Paul “locked her in a bathroom” to get Donna to listen to a song. The same incident is also recalled in her autobiography[read online], except she says she was “trapped”.

While the musical covered her life and the great music that defined it, and the sets were great and featured some of Donnas abstract paintings, the singers although very good, never quite captured Donna Summers singing style for me. The music was presented out of sequence, but this was to fit the music to the story, which worked. It just wasn’t the chronological view of her recording history, with a story mapped to it I was expecting.

It’s great though, if you can go, do. Either way, enjoy this 17-minute version of MacArthur Park from the Live and More album. It captures both the era, the Donna Summer lyrical range, and the amazing production of Giorgio Moroder.

Author: Mark Cathcart

Formerly an Executive Director of Systems Engineering and a Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell. Prior to that, an IBM Distinguished Engineer working for the Systems Group in NY and Austin. I'm currently "retired until further notice".

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