Disco queen, Donna Summer, dies
By 18/05/2012 08:57:00
THREE months after the death of Whitney Houston, the entertainment world was thrown into another mourning mood yesterday with the death of music diva, LaDonna Adrian Gaines, known by the stage name Donna Summer.
Earlier this year, “Soul Train” creator, Don Cornelius, was found dead at his Sherman Oaks home. He apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, while Blues legend, and the At Last singer, Etta James, passed away after a long bout with leukemia.
The five-time Grammy award winner, with a mezzo-soprano vocal range, who was regarded as the Queen of Disco, died in Florida after a battle with cancer. She was 63.
Born on New Year’s Eve 1948 in the Dorchester neighbourhood of Boston, Massachusetts, she was one of seven children raised by devout Christian parents.
The late Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the U.S. Billboard chart, and she also charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period.
Influenced by Mahalia Jackson, Summer began singing in the church at a young age. She dropped out of school convinced that music was her way out of Boston, where she had always felt herself to be an outsider, even among her own family who ridiculed her for her voice and her looks.
The Unconditional Love crooner rose to superstardom in the ‘70s with hits such as Hot Stuff, Last Dance and Bad Girls.
Summer, along with producer Giorgio Moroder, was accredited with defining the ‘70s dance music era, influencing a slew of acts including David Bowie and Duran Duran.
By mid-1977, struggling with the media’s titles of her as the first lady of love, she began suffering from depression and started having anxiety attacks.
During this time, she self-medicated on prescription medication resulting in an addiction. Following a nervous breakdown at her home in 1979, Summer went to a local church attended with her sister Dara and declared herself a born again Christian.
Summer then decided that from then on, the song that had won her international fame and recognition, Love to Love You Baby, would no longer be performed.
Her success continued well into the ‘80s with This Time I Know It’s for Real, and She Works Hard for the Money.
Summer married Bruce Sudano, the Brooklyn Dreams singer, back in the ‘80s. They have two daughters.