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December 31, 2020

Queen of Disco: 30 Stunning Photographs of Donna Summer on the Stage in the 1970s

Donna Summer (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012) was the multimillion-selling singer and songwriter whose hits captured both the giddy hedonism of the 1970s disco era and the feisty female solidarity of the early 1980s.


With her doe eyes, cascade of hair and sinuous dance moves, Summer became the queen of disco — the music’s glamorous public face — as well as an idol with a substantial gay following. Her voice, airy and ethereal or brightly assertive, sailed over dance floors and leapt from radios from the mid-1970s well into the ’80s.

She riffled through styles as diverse as funk, electronica, rock and torch song as she piled up 14 Top 10 singles in the United States, among them “Love to Love You Baby,” “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff,” “Last Dance” and “She Works Hard for the Money.” In the late 1970s she had three double albums in a row that reached No. 1, and each sold more than a million copies.

Her combination of a church-rooted voice and up-to-the-minute dance beats was a template for 1970s disco, and, with her producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, she pioneered electronic dance music with the synthesizer pulse of “I Feel Love” in 1977, a sound that pervades 21st-century pop. Her own recordings have been sampled by, among others, Beyoncé, the Pet Shop Boys, Justice and Nas.





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