She Loved To Love You, Baby
A disco queen has died. “Last Dance” quips may be expected. But Donna Summer’s influence was great. She didn’t just have a moment—she had 17, the epic length of “Love to Love You, Baby,” the track she recorded with Giorgio Moroder, the Italian producer with whom she helped to shape the entire genre of dance music. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, borrowing may go one better—and everyone from Madonna to Whitney to Diana to Beyoncé has sampled Summer. Several generations of one-namers recognize her as one of their own.
Summer’s onstage style may not have been as influential as some of her fellow seventies dollies. But her music gave the beat to the better part of a generation. She had a catalog of hits nearly unrivaled among disco divas, and continued well into the pop/R&B of the eighties: In addition to “Love to Love You, Baby” and “Last Dance,” there were “I Feel Love,” “MacArthur Park,” “Bad Girls,” “On the Radio,” and “She Works Hard for the Money.” She won five Grammys and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The fashion world has long appreciated Summer. In 2010, she and Marc Jacobs duetted on “On the Radio” at the opening of Louis Vuitton’s New Bond Street maison. (Kim Jones, Vuitton’s menswear designer, later called on Moroder to create and spin the soundtrack to his Fall ’12 men’s show, too.)
Summer died this morning, following a private battle with cancer. She was 63.