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Donna Summer

Last update: June 28, 2015

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News:

Donna Summer: She could sing anything, anywhere, with anyone, at any time.


[JUN 28] Greetings all and happy Sunday! Let's start off with an interview with David Day about  this year's Donna Summer Roller Disco Party in Boston. It was recorded before the party actually happened.

[JUN 28] It's been pretty quiet on the Donna front this week, but the rest of the family is busy. First up is Bruce. If you follow him on Facebook, well then you need to update your follow list to include www.facebook.com/brucesudanomusic. That's his new Facebook url, so that's where he'll be posting updates. He's also got an Instagram account now, so you can follow him there too. Both accounts have sneak peeks of his Songwriter Series video session.

[JUN 28] If you want to see Bruce performing live, well he'll be in NYC at Joe's Pub on September 9 (for a record release party!) and in Philadelphia at World Cafe Live on September 10. Tickets for both are on sale now.

[JUN 28] Speaking of touring, Johnnyswim is still on the road. And they have just added a July 19 date at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, NY.

[JUN 28] Savanna Dohler fans - she's  selling some of her visual art on Society6.com. Go check it out when you get a chance.

[JUN 28] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Usually I pick a theme for the clips based on what I am in the mood for when I do the update. But this time I picked my theme on Friday. After the news of the Supreme Court ruling, what else could I pick but "love"? :-)  So let's go with some love songs.  There is the Love Is In Control video, I Love You live from the Tonight Show,  I Will Go With You live on Oprah,  Anyway At All from Jay Leno,  Stor Dubine's video for I Got Your Love Love Is The Healer from The View, I Will Live For Love the live symphonic clip,  La Vie En Rose live in Paris, and Sand On My Feet live.  My congratulations to all the newly engaged and/or married couples out there. May you have many years of happiness together - in all 50 states!  :-)

[JUN 21] Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! And happy first day of Summer!

[JUN 21] Hmm.. .let's start with Boston. They had their big Donna Summer Roller Disco Party the other night and it looks like they had fun.  :-)  There is a whole album of photos on Facebook here,  and WBUR.org has an article and a couple of photos here.

[JUN 21]  In the Donna is everywhere category, she was the answer to a Jeopardy question again the other night. No wait, that's backwards. She was the question an an answer. (If you have never seen the show, that's the way the game is played. They give you an answer and you have to come up with the question.)  The answer was: "MacArthur Park: Richard Harris in 1968, the Four Tops in 1971 and this disco diva in 1978." The appropriate response was (of course!) , "Who is Donna Summer?" And having said that, I don't think I ever heard the Four Tops version. I should go look for it.

[JUN 21] Those who are waiting for Donna to be on the CNN series The Seventies have a little longer to wait.  We went from episode 1 being about TV to episode 2 being about Watergate and now episode 3  (Thursday June 25) will be about Viet Nam. Don't forget, if you are watching the series, episodes do repeat at various times during the week. 

[JUN 21] Johnnyswim fans - the duo played the Telluride Bluegrass Festival the other night. Heyreverb.com has photos from the event, but only one of Johnnyswim.  (It's #4)

[JUN 21] Vienna Dohler fans,  check out the new video of her singing "karaoke". (I use quotes because when I think of karaoke, I think of drunks performing badly.  LOL This is DEFINITELY not that!  LOL)  In this video Vienna sings the Leonard Cohen version of Hallelujah. I feel very sorry for whoever had to follow her.  ;-)

[JUN 21] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's see... why not celebrate the day this time? For Father's Day we have Papa Can You Hear Me, and Celebrate Me Home to honor the dads who are no longer with us.  Then for the  first day of summer, well you have to have Sand On My Feet. And Driving Down Brazil always feels like summer to me.  And of course it wouldn't be summer (or Summer) without a little Hot Stuff, and a few Bad Girls. Then we can Dim All The Lights, while we hear what's On The Radio and we ask the important question, Could It Be Magic.  (Ok, I'll stop now.  LOL) Oh what the heck - let's just have a whole concert on the beach - Jones Beach.  :-)

[JUN 14] Happy Sunday everyone!  Boston - don't forget that this Friday (June 19) is the free Donna Summer Roller Disco Party at City Hall Plaza.  From all accounts, last year's party was a lot of fun, so if you are in the neighborhood this year, go check it out.  :-)

[JUN 14] As many of you know, CNN started a new series called The Seventies. Now if you missed this week's episode, never fear, they are repeating episodes at various times. Plus, the last episode was on the TV shows of the Seventies, so Donna wasn't in that one.  This week will be Donna-free too as the topic is President Nixon.  But if you want to catch it anyway, it debuts Thursday at 9 PM on CNN and will be repeated at various times after that.

[JUN 14] Johnnyswim fans - They are making a live recording at Rockwood in NYC on July 13 and July 14.  There is a presale for tickets that goes until noon Monday (June 15). Use the links above and the promo code: LIVEATROCK

[JUN 14] SFGate.com has a new interview with the Amanda and Abner to promote their concert at the Regency Ballroom Tuesday.  The article is short but good.  :-)

[JUN 14] Also, the last Johnnyswim New Music Monday was Villans (with bonus cameo by Joachim at the end.) What will they play tomorrow?  I can't wait to find out.  :-)

[JUN 14] I guess that brings us to YouTube.  Let's see... maybe some live duets this week?  Let's start with Donna's performance with Seal from the David Foster & Friends show.  And of course we need to include Heaven Knows with the Brooklyn Dreams.  Then there is Try A Little Tenderness with Joss Stone, a country medley with Eddie Rabbit,  a Grammy medley with Kenny Rogers,  a short clip from 1979 with Rita Coolidge,  and some gospel music with Mac Davis, Tom Jones and Dolly Parton. (Ok, technically that's at least a quartet - more if you count the choir that joins in.) And of course I can't leave out the duet of Enough Is Enough with Mary "The Real Diva (TM)" Gaines Bernard.  :-) (Unfortunately in this video you don't really see much of Mary, you just hear her. I think the guy filming was just too afraid of overwhelming his camera with all the diva power.  ;-)  )

[JUN 7] Happy Sunday everyone!  Let's start with the Another Place And Time  UK singles box set.  It is now available from Amazon - both the US and UK stores.

[JUN 7] Last week I  did a YouTube list of Donna's long form interviews. Well A&E's Biography was missing (mostly) from the list, but now the complete version is available for your viewing pleasure.

[JUN 7] Bruce Sudano fans -  he will be playing Joe's Pub in New York on September 9.  But if you need a musical fix before then, check out some of the music from the Joe Bruce & 2nd Avenue album on YouTube.

[JUN 7] Johnnyswim fans -  they are on tour all summer, so make sure you check out the current list of dates on their website.  Then check out the latest New Music Monday.  This week is a new song from their upcoming album. It's called Rescue You... or not.... Maybe it's untitled?  LOL (You will understand when you see the clip.) What's coming tomorrow? Who knows? We'll have to tune in and see.

[JUN 7] I think that brings us to YouTube. And since tonight is the Tony Awards, let's do a little Broadway Donna Summer style.  First up, her cover of Don't Rain On My Parade  (from Funny Girl). Then we have Don't Cry For Me Argentina (from Evita), a brief 2009 clip of Aquarius/Wasserman (from Hair/Haare),  My Life and Begin Again (from Ordinary Girl which Donna hoped to bring to Broadway),  I Will Live For Love (from another musical Donna was working on), an audio clip (that sounds like it's been speeded up a little)  of O segne Gott mein Seel (from Godspell) , Someone To Watch Over Me (from Ok Kay and Crazy For You),   and finally Hot Stuff (from Priscilla Queen Of The Desert).  Okay - I admit that last one is cheating.  LOL

[MAY 31] Greetings everyone! Tomorrow is June 1 so it's time for a new Summer Fever Pick. So this month She Works Hard For The Money... or in my case, the no money.  ;-)

[MAY 31]  Okay, let's start off with the Record Store Day release of Another Place And Time: The UK 12" Singles.  I know some of you were disappointed that you couldn't find a copy in stores, but here's some good news for Europe and Australia. Donna's store at MyPlayDirect.com has a number of copies available for sale.  So before you drop a lot of money on ebay, go check out Donna's store.

[MAY 31]  In other release news, the Hits Singles & More compilation is out. It's a 2 cd set with 16 tracks a piece and it comes in a cardboard slip cover with the cd case inside. And interesting bit of trivia... the photo on the cover is the  - well I won't say unretouched because I sincerely doubt there is such a thing as commercial photo that isn't retouched in some way  LOL - but it hasn't been edited to hide the baby belly.  Yup, that's Amanda hiding behind that big belt. (And now don't you all feel old!  LOL) The albums is available at Amazon UK and as an import at Amazon US, and you can probably find it in a bunch of other places as well.

[MAY 31]  Moving on to Italy,  our friends Giovanni and Andrea (the guys behind the excellent book La Disco) did a special tribute to Donna in Rome on May 17 where DJs and journalists got to reminisce about Donna and her artistry.  That was followed a couple of days later by Andrea's appearance on a morning show to promote the book. (Jump to about 6:18 to see that. And yes it is in Italian, so if that's not your language, then find some hunky Italian to help you out.  ;-) )

[MAY 31] Huffington Post posted an article by David Munk about his personal memories of Donna. It's a beautiful article - well worth the read!

[MAY 31] Johnnyswim fans - this week's New Music Monday features the littlest member of the family - Joaquin.  :-) And of course Amanda and Abner are there singing Moon River/ Falling In Love. (Hmmm.. Joaquin is looking at Abner's guitar like, "I could play that if I wanted to!  LOL)

[MAY 31] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's go with some long-form interviews this week.  First up, Donna's 2004 Lifetime Intimate Portrait has turned up on YouTube. Catch Part OnePart Two, Part Three, and Part Four.  Then there is the 1999 Behind The Music.  A&E's Biography used to be up on YouTube, but only part 5 still remains. SIriusXM posted a couple of clips from Donna's Artist Confidential from 2008. So you can watch Science Of Love and Last Dance - both with a bit of interview before the songs. Now let's change it up with a short one - Nightline's Playlist where Donna gets to talk about some of her favorite songs by other artists.

[MAY 24] Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Let me take this opportunity to thank all the service people and their families who sacrifice every day so that we can spend the weekend enjoying all the summer pleasures.

[MAY 24]  CNN will be airing an original series called The Seventies that will examine the politics, culture and historical events of the Seventies.  Donna's photo is featured in a couple of the trailers, and I'm sure her music will be featured in the appropriate episodes.  The series debuts on Thursday June 11 at 9 PM.

[MAY 24]  Bruce Sudano fans - catch him performing Bad Girls at the Sunset Sessions in Mexico in this YouTube clip.

[MAY 24] Johnnyswim fans - don't forget to check out their New Music Mondays on YouTube. Last week they did a song called Live While We're Young.  What will they do tomorrow? Who knows? You'll just have to wait and see.  :-)

[MAY 24] Speaking of Amanda, she and Brooklyn (and their mom) and the subject of an article on ILoveOldSchoolMusic.com.

[MAY 24] Congrats to Vienna Dohler - a brand new high school graduate!  Here's to a bright future filled with endless possibilities!  (And yes, I feel old again...    LOL)

[MAY 24] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's see... it's officially the start of the summer season here,  so let's go with some stuff that reminds me of summer. First up, Sand On My Feet. (And what is up with that ad YouTube threw on the video?  Something about a 3000 lb sea monster? Are you guys seeing the same ad?  LOL)  Then we have a clip that includes bits of Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Spring Affair, and of course Summer Fever. If you have a little time on your hands, there is the full 2008 concert from Jones Beach.  Then there is a live clip of To Paris With Love, a clip of Nights In White Satin, and finally since Memorial Day is the day we honor our fallen soldiers, this audio clip of Let There Be Peace.  Maybe someday our human species will evolve to the point where we won't ever need to resort to conflict to settle our differences?

[MAY 17] Greetings all.  Well, it's been 3 years since the worst update I ever had to write.  I can't believe how time has flown by.  But even 3 years later I still find myself looking at the concert listings at the beginning of every summer, and then I remember I won't be seeing my favorite name on any list. 

[MAY 17] So with it being the anniversary,  everybody is posting tributes on their Facebook pages, etc.  Bruce had this to say this morning:

It was my privilege to walk with you in life
And down the darkened road
That leads to the forever
Someday we all will know
Your grace was ballerina
Your heart was purest gold
Our love was burning fire
And I held you
Until I had to let you go
Forever I'll remember...

He also posted a new video on YouTube for Beautiful History. It's just audio, but it fits the day perfectly. :-)

[MAY 17] Now enough sadness.  The Donna Summer I remember was about fun, and a sense of humor, and having a good time.  So let's have a good time! So let's go right to a demo for This Girl's Back In Town - sung in its entirety by Donna.  (In the actual released version, Donna only solos on a couple of lines.) Then for the Facebookers out there - one fan has posted a VIDEO for Worth The Wait.  The quality is a little rough because let's face it, VHS doesn't always wear well - especially after a couple of decades. But this is the whole song!

[MAY 17]   Now let's have some fun with YouTube.   :-) As Donna always said - sing if you wanna sing and dance if you wanna dance. (Although I will qualify that by saying that if you are reading this at your job.... you might want to save the singing and dancing for your break times.  ;-) ) First up, my favorite YouTube clip - Donna with Barry Manilow just having a total blast with Could It Be Magic. Then another favorite of mine, MacArthur Park from Live & More Encore. That one always rings back such fond memories for me. Then there is the classic Bad Girls performance from the Johnny Carson Show, and Enough Is Enough with a short version of the classic red Ferrari story. I know some people got tired of the red Ferrari story, but I always enjoyed seeing how much Donna would ham it up each time.  :-)  Then we have Donna owning Divas 2000 with Love Is The Healer. I could watch that long note forever! And then we have Nathan's video for Fame The Game. I loved that song live in concert! And finally - this is something silly Donna made with some software Nathan showed her.  And with that I hope many of you are remembering Donna as I am now - with smiles instead of tears.  I still miss her, but the happy memories are keeping her light in my life.

[MAY 17] And finally on a personal note - I did my MS Walk yesterday. A little rain at the start didn't deter us!  Thanks to your generosity, I raised over $1800! Special thanks to lastdnce who always goes over and above what anybody has a right to ask.  :-)   Someday there will be a cure - and I can say with certainty that in the 5 years I've been walking, I have seen progress in the treatment of MS.  Thank you all - and I will be getting out the rest of the bracelets I didn't mail yet sometime during the week.  :-)

[MAY 14] Just a quick update for you to hold you over until the weekend. First up - Sunday is the 3rd anniversary of Donna's departure from our world. (Can you believe it's been 3 years already?) Tom over at the fan club is putting together a page where fans can share their memories of Donna. If you head over to The Donna Summer Fan Club, you can listen to Friends Unknown while you read all the details, and instructions on how to publish your memories. (And please note, if you are following the fan club on Facebook - that's cool, BUT you need to share your memories on the actual fan club website and not the Facebook page if you want to be part of this.   :-) ) Then after you do that - go play some more Donna tunes!  Summer is right around the corner and we need more tunes playing - preferably at a high volume with all the windows open!  ;-)

[MAY 14] And while I'm here - Nathan DiGesare has released another clip from his vault. This song is called Half The Battle, and you can view  the clip on YouTube.  I'll see you all on Sunday night. I wonder which CD I'll be playing while I update? So many to choose from.....   :-)

[MAY 9] Happy Mother's Day weekend! Let's start off with an article about vociferous fans.  LOL Spin.com has an interview with  the remixers Holy Ghost! in which they talk about their experiences mixing a few artists - including Donna. (If you recall, they did the Working The Midnight Shift remix that featured a different vocalist.) In the article they explained why that happened, and what their experience with angry fans was like.

[MAY 9] Giorgio Moroder fans - his interview for Out is now online. He talks about Donna  quite a bit in it.  He's also got an interview with Billboard that's done as sort of a "pearls of wisdom" list of things he's learned over the years.  There is also a video companion piece on YouTube to go with the Billboard article.

[MAY 9] In Johnnyswim news, they had a song called Falling For Me (from their Diamonds album) featured on the VH1 show, Swab Stories.  And don't forget, the pair are on tour again, so try to catch them when they come to your area.

[MAY 9] Brooklyn Sudano fans - she's on Instagram now. If you are on Instagram too, give her a follow.

[MAY 9] Bruce fans - we had Live In Rehearsal Part 1. Then we had part 2. Are you ready for part 3?  Also, Bruce has recently been performing at Sunset Sessions Tulum, and he took part (with all the other artists there) in a tribute to the late great Ben E King.

[MAY 9] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's go with some early Donna this week.  We have Flesh Failures from Hair (in German. You will see Donna at about 2:25, so be patient with that clip.)  Then there is Black Power from a German TV show,  a clip of Lady Of The Night, a humorous clip for The Hostage,  a clip of Meglio StaseraVirgin Mary (audio only),  O segne Gott mein Seel (audio only from the German Godspell soundtrack), and Love To Love You from Soul Train.

[MAY 9] As you all know, next weekend is special. Sunday is May 17, the third anniversary of the day Donna left this world.  As always, I would like to mark the anniversary by celebrating Donna's legacies. So let's crank those tunes (wake the neighbors if you have to!  LOL) and  honor the musical legacy.  And then to honor Donna's humanitarian legacy - do something nice for someone.  I leave it to your imagination and means to decide how to do that. You can donate money or time to a worthy cause,  you can cook dinner for your significant other, you can let someone cut you in line at the supermarket.  Whatever works for your lifestyle.

[MAY 9] Also on May 16, I will be walking for MS again.  I have already collected enough to wear my Donna gear to the walk instead of my team gear.  (Thank god! The team shirt is orange and I hate to wear orange!  LOL)  But there is still time to contribute if you would like to. And as an added bonus, I have a really cool guy out there who will match any $20 donation made this week.   :-)  And I still have those neat little wristband. (Some of those have been mailed out already. I think I still have 3 or 4 left to mail - so far.)  If you would like to donate - the link is here.

[MAY 3] Greetings all and happy May!  It's time for the new Summer Fever Pick and this month it's the self-titled album, Donna Summer.

[MAY 3] Ok let's start off with a new release.  There is a new 2 CD compilation called  Hits, Singles & More coming out in a couple of weeks. (Amazon UK lists it for May 25, Amazon US lists it for June 2.) The set is a collection of 32 tracks  (hits, album tracks, and mixes) culled from the Geffen and Atlantic years.  For a complete track list, just check out the Amazon link.

[MAY 3] In the Donna's music is everywhere category,  Love To Love You made the monologue for Saturday Night Live last night.  Scarlet Johansson sang a bit of the 'lullaby" she says she sings to her new baby - yup, it was Love To Love You Baby.  It's pretty funny, you can watch it here.

[MAY 3] Giorgio Moroder fans, he has an interview in the latest edition of Out Magazine, and another in Variety. Of course Donna gets mentioned.

[MAY 3] Johnnyswim fans - they have brought back their YouTube series, New Music Monday.  This past Monday they perform Take The World. Tune in every Monday for more new offerings.

[MAY 3] Bruce Sudano fans - remember last week I mentioned he posted a video called Live In Rehearsal Part 1. Well, Part 1 is always followed by a part 2, and that is now on Youtube as well.

[MAY 3] Vienna Dohler fans - if you are in Nashville (or will be), she is playing at The End on May 15. Tickets are available here.

[MAY 3] I think that brings us to YouTube.  First up is a 16 minute segment from a 1995 Brazilian talk show.   Then there is a 1992 performance of Breakaway (also from Brazil), and a 2009 interview from Brazil's Video Show. (That comes  with an English transcript in the description. The actual audio  has Donna's interview in English, but then with a Portuguese interpreter speaking over it. ) Also see the live performance of Say A Little Prayer from a 1992 concert in Brazil.  And then let's round out our Brazil theme this week with a little bit of Driving Down Brazil live.

[MAY 3] And on a technical note, you might have noticed that I changed the theme colors again.  For some reason this time I had a heck of a time getting the changes to publish. So if you run into a page with the old theme still, just holler and I'll fix it.  :-)

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Quote Of The Week:

[JUL 4]

After she sang Silver Girl, she told the audience that she was very patriotic, "not because I think that America is perfect, but because we have the foundation that allows us to be the greatest nation in the world." She further said that "I love this country and I’m dedicated to making it better"

- Ken Allan quoting Donna in a 1986 concert in Ken's Korner, September 15, 2001

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July 2015:

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Editorials

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Ken's Korner

[AUG 10]

On The Boardwalk in Atlantic City, with Donna (part 1).

As many of you are aware the casino industry in Atlantic City has been hit hard by competition from nearby states that have allowed casinos to open, and an over saturation of casino gaming in general.  There are other factors involved with Atlantic City as well, BUT for many of us die-hard Donna fans we will always have a soft spot for Atlantic City. 

The Resorts International Years:

From the fist year that casino gaming started in Atlantic City (1978), Donna was a featured headliner, and there were not many years when Donna did not appear for at least one engagement.  From 1978 to 1986 the Superstar Theater at Resorts International was Donna’s home in AC.   Before the newer casinos built larger showrooms the “Superstar” was the biggest showroom in AC, and in particular for music fans it had a reserved table policy. If you snagged tickets for Donna at Reports early enough you could score a seat at table A-6 (remember that Quay!).  Back then many of Donna’s gigs ran for a full week at a time, including a 10 day marathon run during June of 1983.  Donna’s tenure at Resorts included her crazed years of 1978 and 1979, but her engagements in 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 remained wildly popular.

During this time span I lived in Brick, N.J., about 75 minutes north of Atlantic City, and I attended as many of Donna’s shows at Resorts as I could.  There are many precious memories from these shows, some of which include;

June of 1986, Donna’s final gig at Resorts (with Louise DuArt opening the show), these shows featured incredible versions of America The Beautiful, and the original song, Silver Girl. 

October of 1985, these shows featured the debut of the “overture” that we came to know and love.  During a performance that I attended we gave Donna a standing ovation after she sang her hits medley, and she was so moved by the gesture that she stopped the show to thank everyone several times. 

September of 1984, fans were treated to rare live versions of I’m A Rainbow, Romeo, Love Has a Mind of It’s Own, There Goes My Baby, and an extended hits medley. This medley would continue to be used during the 1985 and 1986 “mini” tours.    

June 1983, this was the marathon 10 day gig I always talk about. I saw (3) shows during this engagement, and the closing night show, 11:30 p.m. on a Sunday night was priceless. Donna had many of her family and friends in attendance, and many jokes were peppered throughout the show. During Last Dance, Mimi came out wearing one of her Mom’s gowns , and Donna nearly cracked up with laughter during the bridge of the song.    

The encore of State of Independence complete with her entourage joining her on stage remains a favorite to this day.

August 1981, this was my first time seeing Donna at Resorts and the shows sold out quickly, as most of her 1980 tour was cancelled.  I saw 2 of these shows, and got to see her perform (3) songs from The Wanderer, Cold Love, The Wanderer, and I Believe in Jesus.  These shows also featured Love To Love You Baby (the last until 2004, not counting it’s brief inclusion during the “99 tour), and Sunset People. This tour was her last with the Summer Night’s Band. 

After June of 1986 Donna’s relationship with Atlantic City continued, and for that matter it continued right up to her final tour in 2010.   More on that in the next Ken’s Korner.

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