A Fond Goodbye To Donna Summer

May 17, 2012

A lot of people looked down their noses at the Queen of Disco because, well, because she sang disco. But they secretly dug Donna anyway. You could tell.

Great tunes. Great beat. And a great voice for it. The seventies wouldn’t have been “The Seventies” without Donna Summer. (Alright, add a sprinkle of Barry Gibb, and let’s call it a decade.)

The last dance sucks but it can also soar.
RIP, Donna. Your voice became an emblem. And high art or low, that takes a great artist.

[A Side Note On Snobbery]

After writing this post as it appears above, it became apparent that those who “looked down their noses” at Donna Summer obviously included many of the high and mighty in the music business. Having lived through the Zeitgeist of that time, I can sum up the attitude for you: Disco is trivial. It’s shallow, formulaic dance-fad stuff – a kind of musical soft-core porn lacking in redeeming social value. Disco was seen as music so commercial in nature it was almost dirty. If you liked it, and you probably did, it was a guilty pleasure you kept to yourself.

And it looks like those attitudes lived on. As was reported by Jon Pareles in the NYTimes:

Jon Landau, the chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, issued a statement — an unusual one in which he said it was unfortunate that the hall had never inducted her:
“There is absolutely no doubt that the extraordinary Donna Summer belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Mr. Landau wrote. “Regrettably, despite being nominated on a number of occasions, our voting group has failed to recognize her — an error I can only hope is finally and permanently rectified next year.”

Harrumph. Damn right. And, by the way, yes you could dance, heck, you wanted to dance, to Donna Summer’s records but the songs also had substance. They said things. You can’t sell as many records as Donna Summer sold with nothing but fluff.

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