The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Mojo

January 2004

HELLO, September 1973, I had a couple of years where I was sort of running around Europe, in musicals. I thought that's how I'd be successful. I met Giorgio when I was hired to do a commercial he was producing in Munich. He was a very funny looking guy: a lot of hair, a thick moustache - my nickname for him was 'the mad scientist' . He was very business-like, but in a really pleasant way, personable and humorous. I liked him instantly and we hit it off. it was easy to get to know him, because he's a very simple person in terms of how he approaches life, very.....Italian.

Immediately, we started working together. I returned to his studio every day. When he realised that I was a quick study and could emulate anything he heard, we started doing these schlaga - German bubblegum songs, but on another level. Back in those days we had a very white sound. He wanted me to sing things very pop, very clean, and would say, ''That's too R&B.'' The Hostage came out, a Top 10 hit in Holland, then Lady Of The Night. The schlaga was what was happening there at the time and so thats what I had to do - but they were successful. We did maybe eight or 10 of those songs. One day when we were working, I gave the line ''I'd love to love you'' to Giorgio. He was really excited, and I laid down the first vocal track for the song. Giorgio had this thick accent, and he cried, ''Perfecto!''' He built Love To Love You Baby around my title.

GOODBYE, June 1980, In 1975, I was an unknown singer with a 17 - minute song. Then something happened. Club demand for Love To Love You was so strong that they actually played the full - length version on US radio every day. I was told that when John Lennon first heard it, he locked himself in a room and listened to Love To Love You over and over, proclaiming to himself, ''This is the future!''

Giorgio was like a mentor and a brother to me. We'd had 10 Top 5 songs together and we'd been through a lot of ups and downs together, it was a very tight, deep union. Then David Geffen came up to me at a party and said he wanted me on his label. When I signed with Geffen, he felt I wasn't R&B enough. He wanted me to have a darker, more funky sound and make a dance record. That was the beginning of the break. Geffen Records told Giorgio and, of course, he wasn't happy. We started off together, and it wasn't something we'd have opted to do, but David was paying the bills.

I started working with Quincy Jones. it wasn't my idea; I was excited to work with Q, but it was a strange situation. He's from the old school where they sort of force you to do it again and again, they want it to become perfect. Working with Quincy was very tedious at times. Giorgio liked clarity and he liked to hear the melody, but his methodology is to hit it the first time and get it right.

We never stopped talking though.

Giorgio wanted to do what was right for me, and he had many other projects going on and many hits without me; he was enormously successful in his own right. I think for both of us it showed that we were entities unto ourselves, and able to be ourselves. But the break was really, very painful.

(As told to Alex Stimmel )

 © January 2004, Mojo
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