dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Donna Summer Youth, Way After Disco Sucked

I'll just come out and say it: Donna Summer's passing at the age of 63 yesterday has affected me way more than Whitney Houston's death in February. To be completely honest, I had no emotional investment in Whitney. Her music in the mid-to-late 1980s was so bland and saccharine to me. It just wasn't sexy.

Of course, I say this, and my introduction to Donna Summer really came with her 1989 Another Place And Time album — the one produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. The one with "This Time I Know It's For Real". Now that was a jam.

I had just turned 15 when that song was released, and, really, it opened up the floodgate for my high school friend Becky and I to delve deep into all the disco music we missed out on (by being toddlers) from the previous decade. "MacArthur Park". "Last Dance". "Hot Stuff". "On The Radio". And this was at least three years before disco became retro-cool again in the early-'90s. Disco still sucked. We were cheesy. But it was a lot of fun.

One particular memory is of Becky and I being in her green Volvo, driving through the downtown parking lot behind the public library one Friday night in early 1992, where all the metalheads hung out. We drove through the lot, circled back around and did it again repeatedly, all the while blasting Donna Summer and Bee Gees and Sylvester. We were wearing sunglasses and trashy velour suits we'd bought at the Salvation Army.

Some kids got wasted on the weekends. We chose to find those kids and give them a shock to the system with disco. Like I said, we were cheesy.

I will say one thing — discovering this clip of a 1975 performance of "Love To Love You Baby" was the highlight of yesterday. It's all about the main backup dancer dude.



So thanks making boring teenage life in the suburbs into fun times, Donna. Your music is truly timeless.

I wrote these on Idolator yesterday:
* Donna Summer Dead At 63
* Donna Summer: 7 Great Music Moments 

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