Donna Summer’s 12 Greatest Songs and Greatest Discs (Representative Songs and Hidden Masterpieces)

In this issue we have created a ranking of Donna Summer.

She may be someone who is often spoken of in terms of her disco image.

But I would like to introduce her diverse charms.

I would be happy if you rediscover her charms.

This blog is an automatic translation of a Japanese blog into English.

Please understand that it may be difficult to read.

No.1「Bad Girls」(Album:Bad Girls)


■Song Title:Bad Girls
■Album Name:Bad Girls
■Video link:「Bad Girls」

This Album was a huge hit despite being a two-disc set.

I did not check the charts in real time, but my research revealed an interesting fact.

On Billboard’s Album chart, this album was competing with Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America” for the #1.

Four weeks from May 19: Supertramp at #1

One week from June 16: Donna Summer at #1

Two weeks from June 23: Supertramp was #1

Five weeks from July 7: Donna Summer #1

Two historic masterpieces are battling for #1.

Surely the hit chart fanatics of the time would have watched this battle for #1 with excitement.


No.2「Hot Stuff」(Album:Bad Girls)


■Song Title:Hot Stuff
■Album Name:Bad Girls
■Video link:「Hot Stuff」

It is said that with this album, she fused rock and disco.

In fact, the combination of disco-like riffs and rock-like guitars was very attractive.

The guitarist is Jeff Baxter.

By the way, the songs on this album were recognized by the Grammy as follows.

“Hot Stuff” won Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

“Bad Girls” was nominated for Best Disco Recording.

“Dim All the Lights” was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance

She was nominated in three categories: Rock, Disco, and R&B.

This is a very typical situation for her.

No.3「Happily Ever After」(Album:Once Upon a Time)


■Song Title:Happily Ever After
■Album Name:Once Upon a Time
■Video link:「Happily Ever After」

This article was inspired by an interaction with a man named Tony Blass, who is well known as the creator of the classic documentary “The One Man Beatles” about the resurrection of Emmitt Rhodes.

He had extensive contacts in the music industry and was friends with Donna Summer.

He asked me what I thought about Donna Summer and I decided to respond with a review article.

I felt that he and I shared similar concerns and I have much to write about her.

I am grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to write this article.

However, the song selections for this ranking purely reflect my preferences.

If you feel that the song selection is biased, that is a matter to be attributed to me personally.


No.4「Protection」(Album:Donna Summer)


■Song Title:Protection
■Album Name:Donna Summer
■Video link:「Protection」

The producer of this album is Quincy Jones.

He was instrumental in turning Michael Jackson around from disco to greater success.

Quincy used the rock elements to his advantage during the transformation.

This song was written by Bruce Springsteen.

He is known for his ability to easily provide songs he writes to outside parties.

Even that masterpiece “Hungry Heart” he tried to give to others if people around him didn’t stop him.

Quincy has taken a song written by the BOSS and turned it into a hard pop song, typical of the 1980s.


No.5「Try Me, I Know We Can Make It」(Album:Live and More)


■Song Title:Try Me, I Know We Can Make It
■Album Name:Live and More、
■Video link:「Try Me, I Know We Can Make It」

I recommend listening to this Album with headphones or volume turned up.

It may be like a dish that tastes better when warmed up.

I only realized the true value of this Album when I listened with the volume turned up.

If you keep that in mind, I can promise you a very sweet and exciting musical experience.

The best parts of this song are at 2:08 and 3:42.

The original version of this song can be found on “A Love Trilogy”.

There is one more song on that Album that I love, and I’d like to share it with you.

Donna Summer – Come With Me

She is someone who deserves more attention from club DJs.


No.6「I Remember Yesterday」(Album:I Remember Yesterday)


■Song Title:I Remember Yesterday
■Album Name:I Remember Yesterday
■Video link:「I Remember Yesterday」

Her activities took off with the hit song “Love to Love You Baby” from her second album.

This album was followed by “A Love Trilogy” and “Four Seasons of Love”.

In this album, she has not yet established her own personality.

In her early days, she sometimes resembles Diana Ross.

For example, listen to this song.

In this song, she is sweet and elegant.

Later she emphasizes her tough image, but I think she is great at this time too.


No.7「I Feel Love」(Album:I Remember Yesterday)


■Song Title:I Feel Love
■Album Name:I Remember Yesterday
■Video link:「I Feel Love」

This song is from the same Album as No. 7.

It is interesting to note that songs with an older image, such as the one just described, and songs with a more radical image, such as this one, coexisted during this period.

In the case of this song, however, the contribution of producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte may be significant.

I believe Giorgio Moroder is underrated.

Incidentally, Giorgio Moroder also produced the following song.

Japan – Quiet Life

Do these two songs have similar rhythm patterns?

Furthermore, this rhythm pattern was later inherited by Underworld and others.

I think this song deserves the same recognition as the songs by Kraftwerk and Devo.


No.8「True Love Survives」(Album:I’m a Rainbow)


■Song Title:True Love Survives
■Album Name:I’m a Rainbow
■Video link:「True Love Survives」

Many of you may not know this Album.

This Album was released in 1996, but was recorded in 1981.

It was originally supposed to be released after “The Wanderer”, but it was never released.

That seems to have been the intention of Geffen Records, with whom she was working at the time.

The problem is not the quality of the music.

Rather, this album was guaranteed to be a hit.

The song “Romeo”, which was used in “Flashdance” and became a hit, was included in this album.

Donna Summer – Romeo

The following songs were also hits in the 1980s.

Donna Summer – She Works Hard for the Money

I wish the label had respected her and given her creative freedom.


No.9「Looking’ Up」(Album:The Wanderer)

■Song Title:Looking’ Up
■Album Name:The Wanderer
■Video link:「Looking’ Up」

She maintained the production team with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte until this Album.

This song was co-written by her and Pete Bellotte.

The title song of this album is well known, but I prefer this song.

She was called “Queen of Disco”, but from this album, she moved to a contemporary sound.

After this Album, MTV started in 1981.

Songs such as this one may be appropriate for the MTV era.

She survived the music scene in the early 1980s with this line.


No.10「MacArthur Park」(Album:On the Radio)


■Song Title:MacArthur Park
■Album Name:On the Radio
■Video link:「MacArthur Park」

The purpose of this article is to make you re-evaluate her.

For this reason, we have left out some well-known disco numbers, such as the following songs, from the list.

Donna Summer – On The Radio

However, it is hard to imagine leaving out “MacArthur Park”.

It was her memorable number one hit in the first place.

This album was her last album with Casablanca Records.

This album is the best album released in a hurry after the success of her last album “Bad Girls”.

It is a good selection of songs and a great way to get to know her.


No.11「Stamp Your Feet」(Album:Crayons)


■Song Title:Stamp Your Feet
■Album Name:Crayons
※Jacket is for a single
■Video link:「Stamp Your Feet」

It is said that since the late 1980’s she has been in a slump.

However, she made a comeback in 2008 with this Album.

This album reached #17 on the U.S. Album Chart.

This song, along with “I’m a Fire” and “Fame (The Game),” reached No. 1 on the U.S. dance charts.

But what is even more exciting is that the Album is wonderful.

She is an iconic disco singer.

But I regret that disco music is unfairly underrated.

I am not trying to say that all disco music is good.

I just want disco music to be treated like other genres such as rock and jazz, and not undervalued.

With this album, she is trying her hand at more contemporary dance music.


No.12「Last Dance」(Album:Live and More)


■Song Title:Last Dance
■Album Name:Live and More
■Video link:「Last Dance」

As a singer, she is regarded as not black.

Certainly not as black as the deep soul and southern soul singers of the 1960s and early 1970s.

I love Southern Soul as well.

But I do not feel comfortable with the trend toward musical blackness in Afro-American music.

In fact, since around 1980, there have been more Afro-American singers who are not black than before.

For example, Lionel Richie and Whitney Houston.

Both of them are great singers.

I consider Donna Summer to be their predecessor.

She has performed with Barbra Streisand, and she doesn’t emphasize blackness.

But nevertheless, she is an outstanding singer.

I submit this song as evidence of her appeal.

Try listening to it starting at 4:34.

It no longer matters if she is black or white.

You will be genuinely overwhelmed by the wonder of her singing.

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