Thursday, 17 May 2012


LaDonna Adrian Gaines (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012), known by the stage name Donna Summer, was an American singer/songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the 1970s. She had a mezzo-soprano vocal range, and was a five-time Grammy Award winner. Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the US Billboard chart, and she also charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period.
Summer died on May 17, 2012. AP reports that she died in the morning at her home in Key West, Florida at age 63 following a battle with cancer.

The lady of "unconditional love"

At a musical performance in 2011


Summer was one of seven children born and raised in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, living on the first floor of a three-decker home. Following her move to Austria in 1971, she met and fell in love with actor Helmuth Sommer while the two were acting in Godspell. In 1973, the couple married and that year Summer gave birth to her first child, daughter Mimi Sommer. However, the marriage crumbled and by 1975, they had formally divorced. Summer took her husband's last name, slightly altering the spelling, as her stage name. After she had divorced from Helmuth, she moved into her Los Angeles house with lover Peter Mühldorfer, who was a respected surrealist painter. As her fame increased, Mühldorfer resented all the press and public attention and it drove a wedge between them. She has stated that he became violent and with the help of Casablanca Records mogul Neil Bogart he was eventually forced to return to Germany after his visa was revoked.
In 1978, while working on the hit track, "Heaven Knows" which featured Brooklyn Dreams member Joe "Bean" Esposito on vocals, Summer met fellow member Bruce Sudano. Within a few months, Summer and Sudano became an item. The couple married on July 16, 1980. A year later, Summer gave birth to another daughter (her first child with Sudano), Brooklyn, named after Sudano's group. A year after that, Summer and Sudano had their second child, Amanda.
Summer had often talked about her early successful years as a period of confusion and anxiety. By mid-1977, struggling with the media's titles of her as the first lady of love, she began suffering from depression and anxiety attacks. Summer wrote in her memoirs that she had attempted suicide several times. Her rapid rise to success, combined with some serious regrets about mistakes in her personal life, began to take its toll. 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. A quarter of a century later, however, she began performing the song again live. As recently as 2011, she even rerecorded the track, complete with racy sighs and moans, for the "Loverdose" fragrance advertisement by Diesel.
In 1994, Summer and her family moved from Los Angeles to Nashville where she took time out from show business to focus on painting, a hobby she began in 1985. In 1995, Summer's mother died.


In the mid 1980s, Summer was embroiled in a controversy. She had allegedly made anti-gay remarks regarding the then-relatively new disease, AIDS, which as a result had a significantly negative impact on her career and saw thousands of her records being returned to her record company by angered fans. Summer, by this time a born-again Christian, was alleged to have said that AIDS was a punishment from God for the immoral lifestyles of homosexuals. However, she denied that she had ever made any such comment and, in a letter to the AIDS campaign group ACT UP in 1989, she said that it was "a terrible misunderstanding. I was unknowingly protected by those around me from the bad press and hate letters ... If I have caused you pain, forgive me." She went on to apologize for the delay in refuting the rumours and closed her letter with quotes from Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians from the Bible.
Also in 1989, Summer told The Advocate magazine that "A couple of the people I write with are gay, and they have been ever since I met them. What people want to do with their bodies is their personal preference." A couple of years later she filed a lawsuit against New York magazine when it reprinted the rumours as fact just as she was about to release her album Mistaken Identity in 1991. According to a Biography television program dedicated to Summer in which she participated in 1995, the lawsuit was settled out of court though neither side was able to divulge any details.


One NAACP Image Award
One time Juno Award nomination for Best Selling International Single,"I Feel Love"
Three Multi-Platinum albums in the United States
Eleven of her albums went Gold in the United States
Twelve Gold singles
Six American Music Awards
She was the first female African American to receive an MTV Video Music Awards nomination ("Best Female Video" and "Best Choreography" for "She Works Hard For The Money")
Two Golden Globe Award nominations (one win for "Last Dance" Song and one nominated for "The Deep" John Barry's Song)
Summer has received five Grammy Awards.
1979 – Best R&B Vocal Performance (Female), Last Dance
1980 – Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female), Hot Stuff
1984 – Best Inspirational Performance, He's a Rebel
1985 – Best Inspirational Performance, Forgive Me
1998 – Best Dance Recording, Carry On

Twelve Grammy Award nominations (total of seventeen).

Summer placed a Top Forty hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in every year from 1976 ("Love to Love You Baby") to 1984 ("There Goes My Baby").
Summer was the first artist to score three consecutive number-one double albums.
Summer was twice honored by the Dance Music Hall of Fame; once with her induction as a recording artist and again with the induction for her influential single "I Feel Love".
Summer's music career has landed her as the eighth most successful female recording artist in history according to Billboard
Summer's career span of Billboard number-one Disco/Club Play hits spans from 1975's "Love to Love You Baby" through 2010's ".
Summer was nominated for 2010 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but was not chosen.

Culled from wikipedia


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