Donna Summer passed away today at the age of 63 following a battle with cancer. But though the singer known as The Queen Of Disco is gone, her musical legacy — which includes four #1 hits, five Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards and an Academy Award for “Last Dance” — will, as one of her award-winning songs states, “carry on”.
We rounded up seven tunes from Donna’s extensive career that we feel highlight her contributions as an artist. Head below to revisit some of Summer’s best moments.
“Love To Love You Baby” (1975). Donna moaned and groaned her way to the upper reaches of charts around the globe with this disco classic. She later denounced the song upon becoming a born-again Christian, and refused to perform it live.
“I Feel Love” (1976). Giorgio Moroder and Paul Bellotte’s innovative use of relentless electronic sounds on this throbbing disco jam would go on to influence dance music artists and producers for decades after.
“Last Dance” (1978). Movie critic Leonard Maltin branded Thank God It’s Friday a “must-see for morons”, but at least it’s notable for two things — the first screen appearance of Debra Winger, and Donna Summer’s soundtrack contribution “Last Dance”, which won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.
“Hot Stuff” (1979). Summer became the first female to win a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance for this raunchy, guitar-infused floor-filler.
“She Works Hard For The Money” (1983). By this point in the ’80s, Donna had ended her working relationship with producer Giorgio Moroder. Unfortunately for her, that meant the hits were also few and far between, though “She Works Hard For The Money” is one of her standout successes in the decade, thanks in part to heavy airplay on a new channel called MTV.
“This Time I Know It’s For Real” (1989). Summer’s last Top 10 single in the US came courtesy of the British production team of Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman, who were also responsible for revitalizing Bananarama in the mid-’80s and launching the careers of Kylie Minogue and Rick Astley.
“Carry On” (1992). Donna partnered up with Giorgio Moroder for the first time in a decade on this dance track from the producer’s aptly-titled album Forever Dancing. A remix of the song later won the pair a Grammy for Best Dance Recording in 1998. We can’t help feel that this is the perfect tune to end things on — and so we shall.