Disco queen Donna Summer's greatest hits are collected on The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer, due September 30th. The two-disc package includes eighteen hits, a pair of new tracks recorded with Summer's longtime producer Giorgio Moroder and a bonus disc of extended remixes of tracks such as "Hot Stuff" and "I Feel Love."
The Summer and Moroder partnership combined for string of hits in the late Seventies, including "Bad Girls," the Jimmy Webb cover "MacArthur Park," "Hot Stuff" and "I Feel Love," but it began quite humbly when the pair were writing songs in Germany. "They were really bubblegum songs," says Summer. "A lot of songs written on different women's lives, 'Virgin Mary,' 'Denver Dreams,' 'Lady of the Night.' The biggest of those songs at the time was 'The Hostage,' that put my name on the map because there was a real hostage situation in Germany and they banned the song."
Soon after, an early version of Summer's first U.S. hit, "Love to Love You Baby," caught the ear of Casablanca Records head Neil Bogart. "I'd written the song with Giorgio," says Summer. "It was a simple demo. I didn't think it was finished, I thought it was still being written. He took what he had to MIDEM [an annual music biz trade show in France]. Neil Bogart heard it and asked if he could make it longer. He said it was so seductive he wanted to hear what it sounded like as a longer song, so it wound up being seventeen minutes."
Summer recently completed an autobiography Ordinary Girl: The Journey, chronicling her struggles with fame, a suicide attempt and domestic violence. "I'd heard people say how painful books would be, but I didn't think it would be that painful," says Summer. "Going into your own past is hard. Normally in your life you live out a bad experience -- you have it and it's bad and it's gone. In a book you consolidate a series of things you wouldn't ever live through at one single time."
The Very Best of Donna Summer track list:
Love to Love You Baby
Could It Be Magic
I Feel Love
I Love You
Dim All the Lights
No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
On the Radio
Love Is In Control (Finger on the Trigger)
State of Independence
She Works Hard for the Money
This Time I Know It's For Real
I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro)
That's the Way
Dream-A-Lot's Theme (I Will Live for Love)
(September 30, 2003)