Nightlife » Music

Love to (Still) Love Donna Summer

by JC Alvarez
Monday Oct 14, 2013

Contemporary dance music owes its popularity indisputably to only one dance diva. Before Donna Summer breathlessly emoted the suggestive lyrics of the disco hit "Love To Love You Baby" by the legendary Giorgio Moroder, "disco" was still being classified as R&B/funk on the charts. Donna Summer took the genre to new heights and inspired a trend in musicality that resonates still with today's mainstream pop beats. The dance floor owes its heart and soul to her melodies; her voice has moved us and thrilled us, led us to writhe in abandon, sweat it out, and brought us back again.

To celebrate her life and contribution to music, Donna Summer's enduring sounds - her greatest hits and other favorites - are getting remixed and remastered in the commemorative compilation entitled "Love To Love Donna Summer." Though Donna Summer was lost to us in 2012, in her battle with cancer, her commitment to her gift of music was recognized when she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, solidifying dance music, and certainly Donna Summer, an eternal place in history.

Those contributions, hits that date back to disco's earliest days, are being revisited and re-imaged in a way that proves Summer continues to exact an influence over many of today's best remix producers. On the compilation to be released on Oct. 22, music producer Chris Cox opens the set with a remix of Moroder's "Love To Love You Baby" that lustfully recreates the magnificence of the original, and proves that disco is far from dead. Afrojack's reworking of "I Feel Love" is an aerobic workout in wings, that once unleashed a dozen knock-offs, never compromising the driving beat of its forebear.

The Masters At Work provide their version of the favorite "Last Dance" which is rich and romantic, and still speaks to their house music sensibility, though rooting the new imagination in its disco base. Laidback Luke delivers on the well-arranged and bass-thumping "MacArthur Park," remixes of which have already been circulating to the clubs. The album also features Summer and Moroder's "La Dolce Vita," an obscure single from the artist's collection that was previously unreleased, but stands up well against the rest of the set list.

EDM with its dense electro-baselines, may not have the rhythmic complexity that is relevant in disco and made it successful dance music, but Donna Summer's catalog as presented on "Love To Love You Donna" will leave no doubt, hers was that voice that inspired every female dance act that would follow. If it weren't for Donna Summer, we wouldn't have Madonna, Rihanna, Britney Spears or Lady Gaga. Kristine W has cited that Donna Summer has always been one of her greatest inspirations, and that couldn't be more evidenced than on KW's recent "Shower the People" on her "New & Number Ones - Club Mixes Part 2".

Summer's legacy fans of her greatest hits - especially the purest - can rest assure that delicate care was taken to pay proper homage to the music created by this artist, that inspired a movement. "Love to Love Donna Summer" couldn't have been more perfectly realized. Disco as performed by Donna Summer, couldn't singularly be considered a musical genre - it was an experience. Disco never died - it was remixed!

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".


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