Donna Summer easily could have quit the music business. She dropped out of college in Boston and moved to New York with a psychedelic rock group. The strangely-named Crow broke up soon after. Without options, she auditioned for the musical Hair and failed to secure the part. It was at this point the doubts no doubt crept in, but luckily, she was such a close second to Melba Moore that when the show moved to Europe, producers asked Summer to step in. She was barely in her twenties.

A few years later, the future Queen of Disco started playing around with the lyric, “love to love you”. A full length song was hammered out with a producer, and she recorded the track with an eye toward selling it to an established artist. Her version was so good it was released on its own and became a big hit in Europe. An American single and a seventeen minute dance version for clubs came after, skyrocketed Summer to immediate fame. Charting singles like “MacArthur Park”, “Hot Stuff” and “She Works Hard For The Money” followed, cementing the singer’s place in popular culture for the rest of her life.

Summer died at her home this morning from complications with cancer. According to TMZ, she got lung cancer through inhaling toxic particles in downtown New York City on 9/11. She didn’t publicize her illness or reveal the extent to which it affected her life. She simply continued recording and fighting because that’s who she was. She was only sixty-three.

Pop Blend’s thoughts go out to Summer’s entire family, as well as the millions of fans who cherish her music. She might be gone, but her songs will continue to offer joy for decades to come.



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