Long before Madonna and Gaga there was Donna Summer, a woman whose influence on pop and dance began in the 1970s and continues to this day. Summer died Thursday at her Florida home, after apparently succumbing to cancer, aged 63.
“While we grieve her passing, we are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy. Words truly can’t express how much we appreciate your prayers and love for our family at this sensitive time,” read a statement from her family.
Mary J Blige tweeted that the 5-time Grammy winner was” truly a game changer”, Elton John lamented her absence from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame while Kylie Minogue said Summer was one of her “earliest musical inspirations.”
Summer’s avant-garde approach to music has ensured that songs like I Feel Love and Love To Love You Baby sound like new releases. That her lyrics and synthesized beats have remained dance floor staples –either in their original form at ’80s nights or Guetta-ized at raves– allows multiple generations to truly understand her gifts.
For the few that may still be unaware, get yourself to the nearest karaoke bar and have ‘MacArthur Park’ cued up. Few songs have destroyed as many budding songster’s dreams as that track. It seems cutting one’s teeth on the Boston gospel choir circuit like Summer tends to weed out the unworthy long before they ever get close to a stage.
Words like inspirational and iconic may have long become trite, but they still seem two of the best ways to sum up Donna Summer.
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