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Donna Summer Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (30) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 31 December 1948Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 17 May 2012Naples, Florida, USA  (lung cancer)
Birth NameLaDonna Adrian Gaines
Nickname Queen of Disco
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Donna Summer rocketed to international super-stardom in the mid-1970s when her groundbreaking merger of R&B, soul, pop, funk, rock, disco and avant-garde electronica catapulted underground dance music out of the clubs of Europe to the pinnacles of sales and radio charts around the world. Maintaining an unbroken string of hits throughout the 70s and 80s, most of which she wrote, Donna holds the record for most consecutive double albums to hit #1 on the Billboard charts (3) and first female to have four #1 singles in a 12 month period; 3 as a solo artist and one as a duo with Barbra Streisand. A five-time Grammy winner, Donna Summer was the first artist to win the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female (1979, "Hot Stuff") as well as the first-ever recipient of the Grammy for Best Dance Recording (1997, "Carry On"). In 2004, she became one of the first inductees, as both an Artist Inductee and a Record Inductee (for 1977's "I Feel Love") into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in New York City. Born Donna Gaines on New Year's Eve to a large family in Boston, she developed an early interest in music. From the age of eight, Summer sang in church choirs and city-wide choruses, and by her early twenties, was performing in musical theatre in Germany, winning parts in such highly-acclaimed shows as "Hair," "Showboat," "Godspell," and "Porgy and Bess" as well as performing with the Viennese Folk Opera. She released her first single, a cover of the Jaynett's girl group classic, "Sally Go Round The Roses," in 1971. While singing backup, she met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte who produced her first single, "Hostage," which became a hit in the Netherlands, France and Belgium. In 1975, Moroder and Bellotte produced the international hit, "Love to Love You Baby," which rose to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and triggered Summer's triumphant return to the United States as a key figure of the then-emerging disco genre. "Love To Love You Baby" paved the way for such international hits as "MacArthur Park," "Bad Girls," "Hot Stuff," "Dim All The Lights," "On The Radio," and "Enough Is Enough," as well as the Grammy and Academy award winning theme song "Last Dance," from the film "Thank God It's Friday," which remains a milestone in Donna's career. In 1980, Summer became the first artist to sign with David Geffen's new label, Geffen Records, leaving her disco days behind and moving into the next phase of her career ." In the years that followed, Summer collaborated with writers and producers such as Quincy Jones, Michael Omartian and England's dance-pop production compound Stock Aitken Waterman and produced a steady stream of hits from "State of Independence," featuring Michael Jackson on backing vocals, to the abiding feminist anthem "She Works Hard For The Money," one of the most-played songs of all-time, and the infectious "This Time I Know It's For Real." In 1994, she released "Endless Summer," a greatest hits retrospective containing a new song, "Melody of Love," which became Billboard's #1 Dance Record of the Year. She also released the critically acclaimed gem "Christmas Spirit," a collection of Summer's original songs and holiday standards recorded with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Summer spent the '90s continuing to tour, performing to sold-out audiences worldwide. In 1997, when the new "Best Dance Recording" Category was created at the Grammy Awards, Donna Summer was the first winner with her fifth career Grammy award for "Carry On." In 1999, Sony/Epic Records released "VH1 Presents Donna Summer: Live & More - Encore!," an album and DVD of Summer's critically acclaimed VH1 broadcast taped at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. The show premiered on VH1 as one of the network's highest rated shows to date and featured live performances of Summer's top hits. In addition to her five Grammy Awards, Summer has won six American Music Awards, three consecutive #1 platinum double albums (she's the only solo artist, male or female, ever to accomplish this), 11 gold albums, four #1 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart, 3 platinum singles, and 12 gold singles. Summer is also the first female artist to have a #1 single and #1 album on the Billboard charts simultaneously ("Live & More;" "MacArthur Park" 1978) a feat she also repeated six months later ("Bad Girls" & "Hot Stuff" in 1979). She has charted 33 Top Ten hits on the combined Billboard Disco/Dance/Dance Club/Play charts over a period of 37 years with 18 reaching the #1 spot solidifying her as the undisputed Queen of Dance. In addition to her recording and performing career, Summer is an accomplished visual artist whose work has been shown at exhibitions worldwide including Steven Spielberg's "Starbright Foundation Tour of Japan" and The Whitney Museum as well as a prestigious engagement at Sotheby's in New York. Since 1989, she has sold over 1.7 million dollars in original art - with her highest piece going for $150,000. In 2003, Random House published her autobiography "Ordinary Girl," co-authored with Marc Eliot. Also that year, Universal released "The Journey," containing all of her original hits, as well as two new songs. In 2008, celebrating four decades of milestones, Summer adds another accomplishment to her list with the success of her new album "Crayons." The album debuted at #17 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart making it Summer's highest debuting album ever. It also debuted at #5 on the Billboard R&B chart - another personal best. "Crayons" is Summer's first album of all new studio material in 17 years and is her highest charting album since "She Works Hard For The Money" in 1983. To date, the album has spawned three #1 Dance hits "I'm A Fire," "Stamp Your Feet" and "Fame (The Game)." It is estimated that Summer has sold more than 130 million records worldwide. Ranked #24 on Billboard Magazines 50th Anniversary issue's "Hot 100 Artists of All Time," Donna Summer was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame on April 18, 2013 in Los Angeles. By: Brian Edwards (II)

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Brian Edwards (II)

Donna Summer rocketed to international super-stardom in the mid-1970s when her groundbreaking merger of R&B, soul, pop, funk, rock, disco and avant-garde electronica catapulted underground dance music out of the clubs of Europe to the pinnacles of sales and radio charts around the world.

Maintaining an unbroken string of hits throughout the 70s and 80s, most of which she wrote, Donna holds the record for most consecutive double albums to hit #1 on the Billboard charts (3) and first female to have four #1 singles in a 12 month period; 3 as a solo artist and one as a duo with Barbra Streisand.

A five-time Grammy winner, Donna Summer was the first artist to win the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female (1979, "Hot Stuff") as well as the first-ever recipient of the Grammy for Best Dance Recording (1997, "Carry On"). In 2004, she became one of the first inductees, as both an Artist Inductee and a Record Inductee (for 1977's "I Feel Love") into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in New York City.

Born Donna Gaines on New Year's Eve to a large family in Boston, she developed an early interest in music. From the age of eight, Summer sang in church choirs and city-wide choruses, and by her early twenties, was performing in musical theatre in Germany, winning parts in such highly-acclaimed shows as "Hair," "Showboat," "Godspell," and "Porgy and Bess" as well as performing with the Viennese Folk Opera. She released her first single, a cover of the Jaynett's girl group classic, "Sally Go Round The Roses," in 1971. While singing backup, she met producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte who produced her first single, "Hostage," which became a hit in the Netherlands, France and Belgium.

In 1975, Moroder and Bellotte produced the international hit, "Love to Love You Baby," which rose to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and triggered Summer's triumphant return to the United States as a key figure of the then-emerging disco genre. "Love To Love You Baby" paved the way for such international hits as "MacArthur Park," "Bad Girls," "Hot Stuff," "Dim All The Lights," "On The Radio," and "Enough Is Enough," as well as the Grammy and Academy award winning theme song "Last Dance," from the film "Thank God It's Friday," which remains a milestone in Donna's career.

In 1980, Summer became the first artist to sign with David Geffen's new label, Geffen Records, leaving her disco days behind and moving into the next phase of her career ." In the years that followed, Summer collaborated with writers and producers such as Quincy Jones, Michael Omartian and England's dance-pop production compound Stock Aitken Waterman and produced a steady stream of hits from "State of Independence," featuring Michael Jackson on backing vocals, to the abiding feminist anthem "She Works Hard For The Money," one of the most-played songs of all-time, and the infectious "This Time I Know It's For Real."

In 1994, she released "Endless Summer," a greatest hits retrospective containing a new song, "Melody of Love," which became Billboard's #1 Dance Record of the Year. She also released the critically acclaimed gem "Christmas Spirit," a collection of Summer's original songs and holiday standards recorded with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Summer spent the '90s continuing to tour, performing to sold-out audiences worldwide.

In 1997, when the new "Best Dance Recording" Category was created at the Grammy Awards, Donna Summer was the first winner with her fifth career Grammy award for "Carry On." In 1999, Sony/Epic Records released "VH1 Presents Donna Summer: Live & More - Encore!," an album and DVD of Summer's critically acclaimed VH1 broadcast taped at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. The show premiered on VH1 as one of the network's highest rated shows to date and featured live performances of Summer's top hits.

In addition to her five Grammy Awards, Summer has won six American Music Awards, three consecutive #1 platinum double albums (she's the only solo artist, male or female, ever to accomplish this), 11 gold albums, four #1 singles on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart, 3 platinum singles, and 12 gold singles.

Summer is also the first female artist to have a #1 single and #1 album on the Billboard charts simultaneously ("Live & More;" "MacArthur Park" 1978) a feat she also repeated six months later ("Bad Girls" & "Hot Stuff" in 1979). She has charted 33 Top Ten hits on the combined Billboard Disco/Dance/Dance Club/Play charts over a period of 37 years with 18 reaching the #1 spot solidifying her as the undisputed Queen of Dance.

In addition to her recording and performing career, Summer is an accomplished visual artist whose work has been shown at exhibitions worldwide including Steven Spielberg's "Starbright Foundation Tour of Japan" and The Whitney Museum as well as a prestigious engagement at Sotheby's in New York. Since 1989, she has sold over 1.7 million dollars in original art - with her highest piece going for $150,000. In 2003, Random House published her autobiography "Ordinary Girl," co-authored with Marc Eliot. Also that year, Universal released "The Journey," containing all of her original hits, as well as two new songs.

In 2008, celebrating four decades of milestones, Summer adds another accomplishment to her list with the success of her new album "Crayons." The album debuted at #17 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart making it Summer's highest debuting album ever. It also debuted at #5 on the Billboard R&B chart - another personal best. "Crayons" is Summer's first album of all new studio material in 17 years and is her highest charting album since "She Works Hard For The Money" in 1983. To date, the album has spawned three #1 Dance hits "I'm A Fire," "Stamp Your Feet" and "Fame (The Game)."

It is estimated that Summer has sold more than 130 million records worldwide.

Ranked #24 on Billboard Magazines 50th Anniversary issue's "Hot 100 Artists of All Time," Donna Summer was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame on April 18, 2013 in Los Angeles.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Brian Edwards (II)

Spouse (2)

Bruce Sudano (16 July 1980 - 17 May 2012) (her death) (2 children)
Helmuth Sommer (5 August 1971 - 24 November 1976) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (30)

While living in Germany in the late '60s, she became a regular in the Munich production of the musical "Hair.".
Spoke fluent German.
Only person to have guest-hosted New American Bandstand 1965 (1952).
Was the first solo artist in history to have three consecutive #1 double-albums on the Billboard charts. The only other musical act to accomplish this feat was The Beatles.
Was also an exhibited artist. She sold over $1.2 million in original art beginning in 1989; her most expensive piece sold for $150,000.
Her orgasmic 16-minute song "Love To Love You Baby" was the first extended-release single, the mother of all dance maxi-singles.
She charted 30 #1 hits (singles and albums) on the Billboard Pop/R&B,Disco/Dance, Album charts combined, over a period of 33 years.
In the summer of 1979 she became the first female artist in music history to have two hits in the Billboard Top 3 at the same time (with "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls"). She did it again in the fall with a #1 duet with Barbra Streisand and a #2 hit, "Dim All the Lights".
She and writer/producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte created an electronic, dance-driven sound that was the forerunner of today's "techno" music. Upon hearing the 1977 song "I Feel Love", Iggy Pop declared it the "future of music". Samples still continue today, most notably in Madonna's 2000 hit single "Music".
Bruce Springsteen, a great admirer of hers, wrote two songs for her. The first one, "Cover Me", he decided to use on his "Born in the USA" LP. The second song, "Protection", Donna recorded and Springsteen'& band supplied the music track. Donna and Bruce actually recorded the song as a duet, but that version has never been released.
Ranked #37 on VH1's Greatest Women of Rock N Roll
Held the most ranked dance songs on VH1's 100 Greatest Dance Songs with "MacArthur Park" at #89, "I Feel Love" #76, "Love To Love You Baby" #63 and "Last Dance" at #6.
Cited her 1978 hit "Last Dance" as her favorite of her own past recordings.
Became a grandmother in 1997 when daughter Mimi gave birth to a baby girl, Vienna.
Daughter of Andrew Gaines and Mary Ellen Gaines.
Was one of seven children - she had 5 sisters and 1 brother.
Ranked #80 on VH1's 100 Sexiest Artists.
In 1978 she became the first female artist in history to have a #1 single ("MacArthur Park") and a #1 album ("Live and More") simultaneously on the Billboard charts. She broke her own record just a few months later when her single "Hot Stuff" and the album "Bad Girls" both reached the #1 position on the Billboard charts at the same time.
In 1979 she was nominated for five American Music Awards and won three: Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist (nominated), Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist (nominated), Favorite Disco Artist Female (won), Favorite Disco Album: "Live & More" (won), Favorite Disco Single: "Last Dance" (won).
In 1980 she was nominated for four American Music Awards and won three: Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist (won), Favorite Pop/Rock Album: "Bad Girls" (nominated), Favorite Pop/Rock Single: "Bad Girls" (won), Favorite Soul/R&B Artist (won).
Ranked at #24 on Billboard Magazines 50th Anniversary issue featuring the Hot 100 Artists of All Time.
Nominated in 2008 for The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.
Has won 5 Grammy awards with a career total of 18 nominations.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Her grave is located in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens, a cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.
Was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 18, 2013.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 24, a daughter Mimi Sommer on February 16, 1973. Child's father is her now ex-1st husband, Helmut Sommer.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 32, a daughter Brooklyn Sudano on January 5, 1981. Child's father is her now widowed 2nd husband, Bruce Sudano.
Gave birth to her 3rd child at age 33, a daughter Amanda Sudano on August 11, 1982. Child's father is her now widowed 2nd husband, Bruce Sudano.

Personal Quotes (7)

God had to create disco music so that I could be born and be successful.
[in 1999] Most people don't get called a queen. I appreciate the reference and that I've gotten to be part of people's lives. But now I have to make a new title for myself. That diva thing is getting a little used.
[about her suicide attempt] It sorta snuck up on me, and I think it because I had my daughter, and during that period my marriage broke up, and I was alone, and I was staying up at night, and I would go out and work and then I would be getting 2 to 3 hours a sleep a day. It was scary, and so I couldn't deal [with] another minute of it, and I was on my way out the window, I was sticking my foot out, I was shifting my weight, and I got caught in a curtain and the maid opened the door, exactly that time. I was literally shifting my weight, and I was looking at my curtain, the chain rattled on the door and I looked after I saw the maid looking at me, and I thought, "Oh, my God!", It really kind of shook me, it woke me up and I'll let you in, and then I let her in, and I got on the phone, and I think I called somebody and said, "I need help", and thank God that lady came, because I'd be gone today.
[on making a comeback upon recording a new album at almost 60 years of age] I was sitting at home, watching TV, eating potato chips, fast becoming a "Desperate Housewife", as I sing onstage, which is my onstage light, and I thought, "Is this going to be the rest of my life? Is this all there is?" I mean, I can't do this forever, I'll be this big and that wide, and I've got to find a day job. And so, at first, I thought I would go to designing school and study architecture or something, and then, all of a sudden, my light bulb went off on my head one day, and said, "You probably should go start recording again", and it happened to me in the beginning of my career, it was sexified, and it was difficult because I was fighting, not being that way, because it was not that accepted back then, and they were pushing me to be that way, and I kept going, "Why can't I just be who I am?" when it was a big struggle, and they kept pushing me more towards that, and I kept emptying my weight back, this way, and I think eventually, over the course of two or three years, I kind of put my foot down and said, "That's it, I'm not doing that anymore!". It's really hard being a diva these days, and that they have to learn to let me grow older and let me grow gracefully, because I don't plan on having 900 facelifts to please them.
The minute that I got off the plane from Germany, with Susan Mineo, and we got in a limo. George [Giorgio Moroder] was getting the bags and got back, we sat in a limo and the doors closed. Susan Mineo and I--who at the time, was with my record company--looked at each other, and all of a sudden the driver reached over and turned on [what they thought was] an eight-track CD or whatever, only it was the radio. The radio was playing exactly that minute. All of a sudden, we heard the baseline, and we started screaming out loud, and from that moment on my life was just gone--it was no more. The old me was departed and the new me was on the rise.
[on her popularity as a disco singer] I think, no question, when you're a singer and you're looking to become so successful, it's the moments of success, singing the Oscar-winning song and having that moment, winning Grammies and all that, but after you get those things, you're sorta sitting there in the room and you're thinking, "OK, what next?". When actors say they got the Oscar and then they didn't get [a] job for five years . . . it feels like internally, and it's like, "Oh, OK, is that all there is?" and so I think you just have to keep setting new goals for yourself. For me, after I had success on that level, my next goals were personal, they were my family, go on it's time now, "You've done this, you've proven this, let's get on with your real-life".
Whenever success comes it is a stranger. When it knocks, it is something you hope for, but the form it takes on when it comes, and sometimes the moment it comes in, is so odd and so obscure.

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