The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Summer Fever Pick for September 2016:

Bad Girls (1979)

Universal Deluxe Edition (2003)

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"Hit me with your bad stuff..."

In 1979 I was 15 years old and madly in love with a live album I bought the year before. It was the only album I owned at the time by that particular artist and I played it almost daily. And then one day I heard on the radio that the artist was putting out a new album. Part of me wanted to run right out and get it, but since I was on a very limited budget at the time, I had my doubts. What if it wasn't as good as the album I already had? What if there were no good songs? Could I afford to waste the price of a double album?

A couple weeks later, I heard the lead off single on the radio for the first time. I loved it! It was real Hot Stuff!  ;-) Apparently radio loved it too, because I heard it a lot. And I just knew I'd have to buy the new album. And at the very next opportunity I did. There was still a part of me that wondered if the whole album could be as good as that first single - but when I played it, I was NOT disappointed.  There wasn't a weak track on the whole thing.  I could not stop playing it, and I knew then that it would be my mission to collect every album that this artist ever recorded. (Many years later, it's still my obsession.)

The album (as if you hadn't guessed) was Bad Girls, the artist (of course) is Donna Summer, and I am by no means the only one who fell in love with it.  It is Donna's most successful album to date, and it spawned her most successful singles. Many, many fans list it as their all time favorite album  (the few who don't usually place it second only to Once Upon A Time), and I doubt there is a casual listener out there who hasn't heard at least some of the tracks on the radio, at a celebration, or at a club.  I don't think there is anyone out there who doesn't immediately recognize the now famous "toot toot hey beep beep" of the title track. And thirty years later, Donna was still singing those songs in concert (because she'd never have gotten out in one piece if she hadn't!  LOL)

So this month I invite you to take a look back at Bad Girls, the most essential album in any Donna Summer collection and so far, the only Donna album to get reissued as a Universal Deluxe Edition.

Normally when I scan the album art, I scan the CD cover because it fits on my scanner better than the vinyl. Usually that's OK, but in this case it's a bit annoying. That red bar advertising over 70 minutes of music is very distracting (not to mention wrong), and as you can see,  even the back cover isn't handled as well on the CD as it was on the vinyl. I guess it's the price we pay for CD quality sound. (Bad Girls actually ranks as number 3 on my "I hate what they did to the CD art" list. It follows Lady Of The Night with the horrible orange cover and the 1978 Live & More with the wrong picture on the front cover. Who can I yell at?)

This is the cover for the 2003 Deluxe reissue.

All I can say is thank god they didn't go with this cover!  LOL

 

Other Art:

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(Click any picture for a larger version)
These are the pictures that appeared on the inside of the album cover. (For the record, some were scanned from the album and some from the tour book for quality reasons. The captions appeared only in the tour book versions of the pictures.) bg2.jpg (16125 bytes) If you look at the pictures closely, you'll see that most of the "johns" are actually the Brooklyn Dreams (Bruce Sudano, Joe Esposito and Eddie Hokenson). The "bad girls" are Joyce Bogart, Susan Munao, Nellie Prestwood and Linda Steihl. And that guy in the pimp suit - that's Giorgio Moroder. Oh and take a look at the cop - that's Bruce too. (A cop AND a john - what would the guys at the precinct say?  LOL)
bg4.jpg (21657 bytes) bg1.jpg (23385 bytes) bg7.jpg (30026 bytes)
bg5.jpg (13903 bytes) bg3.jpg (20849 bytes) bg6.jpg (17985 bytes)

 

Some More Art:

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(Click any picture for a larger version)
bad.jpg (19158 bytes) newbgpic.jpg (19448 bytes) pent1.jpg (12714 bytes) pent2.jpg (13980 bytes)
dim.JPG (29513 bytes) bg.JPG (24504 bytes) hotstuff.jpg (28391 bytes) dim2.JPG (17170 bytes)
notbg.jpg (63327 bytes) dsflower.jpg (51588 bytes) DSfan.gif (45347 bytes) label.jpg (16496 bytes)
Hey Phil! Quit pretending to be Giorgio! The picture above is a reproduction of the original labels from the master tape.

 

2 More...

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A Few Quotes:

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"As for Bad Girls, we knew the week that it was released that it was one of the great double albums of all time - a perfect play, whichever of the four sides you dropped the needle on. But what we could only see in retrospect is this: its definitive production style, its vision of a truly global pop music, and its kaleidoscopic expression of a woman's outspoken, daring, emotional and observant sides would all remain timely and relevant, no matter how often fashions changed in music and the media. What was the savviest, most apt reflection of 1979 continues to be an essential expression of the present time, and the foreseeable future."

- Brian Chin, Bad Girls Deluxe booklet, 2003

"We didn't even do demos. At that time, whenever we had a melody, I would just give the musicians the tempo and Keith [Forsey] would know what to do. I remember vividly mixing in one room at Rusk, while Keith, Harold [Faltermeyer], and Pete [Bellotte] were in another studio with a guitar and a keyboard, and they composed Hot Stuff. As soon as I was done with the mix of one song, we went right in and recorded. Usually we composed and recorded in the same day."

- Giorgio Moroder, Bad Girls Deluxe booklet, 2003

"While I was recording Donna, say Pete would be recording a basic track for another song. But we had our sounds; we were on a roll. Donna is a great artist, very easy to work with. She could complete two or three songs a day, easily, without straining her voice or getting tired."

- Giorgio Moroder, Bad Girls Deluxe booklet, 2003

From the moment the needle settles into the first groove of Hot Stuff, Summer sets out on an unpaved highway in pop music - somewhere between disco and rock 'n' roll, but with disguised ties to what used to be called "soul music" back in the '60s. Summer's ability as a vocalist has never been displayed more convincingly that when she puts a surprising rough edge on Hot Stuff and then tones it down and smoothes it out for Bad Girls.

- The Daily News, 1979

Hot Stuff was a real hot number because when I get up for people I would have to do it three or four times in a row. And I would do it, and they'd want an encore, and then another encore, and then another encore, and I'd be zapped. I mean I would just be zapped out. I mean I have to lay on the floor, literally. Cause I'd fall down. I just couldn't breathe anymore. Cause I jump all over the stage, from one end to the other [when] we do this song. And at some point I said, "Oh, I'm too old to be doing this kind of jumping. I'm' not seventeen."

- Donna Summer, The Hot Ones March 6, 1983 (radio)

The breakthrough cut is "Hot Stuff," a sizzling plea for action, whose slightly retarded, toughened disco rhythm and stinging Jeff Baxter guitar solo suggest Foreigner-style rock, without rutting the energy in metallic sludge. Summer's characteristic coyness is replaced by a hard-boiled, street-cookie directness that makes Linda Ronstadt seem positively demure.

- Rolling Stone, 1979

A lot of people think I'm glorifying prostitution, which is absolutely not correct at all. It's totally the opposite. You know. I would come out of Casablanca Records, which is on Sunset Boulevard, and there would be a lot of girls, you know, soliciting on the street. And they had one at one point who used to dress up like me. And, you know, she really did look a lot type-wise like me - like the album cover, you know. It was frustrating to me that the law didn't provide some way or means for these people to be somewhere, but not where normal people were carrying on business everyday.

- Donna Summer, The Hot Ones March 6, 1983 (radio)

I wrote Bad Girls because I had a friend who had an experience on a street on Los Angeles, on Sunset Boulevard. And police stopped her, and , and they were going to arrest her because they thought she was a 'bad girl' quote unquote. And she was a secretary at Casablanca records at the time. And I was really affected by it, and I really felt kind of appalled by the whole thing. And Bad Girls started off as a social statement about prostitution really, and uh, became finally, at the time, my biggest hit.

- Donna Summer, You Write The Songs September 13, 1986

Dim All The Lights I wrote for my husband. I think I had had laryngitis and I sounded - so I sounded like Rod Stewart. And I figured I could give it to Rod Stewart to sing, you know. I ran into Rod at something we were doing, and I was so … petrified that I just couldn't say it. So I wound up singing it myself, and I'm glad cause it was a hit for me.

- Donna Summer, The Hot Ones March 6, 1983 (radio)

The closest thing to a social comment on Bad Girls comes in "Sunset People," a sweeping, high-rise view of Hollywood. Against an icy refrain of "doin' it right — night after night," the song telescopes the nightmarish glamour world of the Sunset Strip—with its teenage prostitutes, billboards, foreign cars and star worship — into an evocation of pleasureseeking as cold as it is tantalizing. If there's a moral here, it's in the music's ominous suggestion of the boredom beyond glitter and in the lyrics' telegraphed equation of the disco ethos with Hollywood and hooking. "Sunset People" just might be the disco culture's "A Day in the Life."

- Rolling Stone, 1979

On My Honor is a love ballad of some depth, exquisitely arranged to showcase the nuances of Summer's voice.

- The Daily News, 1979

Summer reached the top as a disco singer, but Bad Girls, her eighth album, defies anyone to confine her to such a narrow range. The 15 songs on the double album show the influences of disco, rock, soul, gospel, r&b, ballads and a few places in between that aren't on the map yet.

>- The Daily News, 1979

<snip>… Her new album, Bad Girls, is a giant step in a brilliant career that has already been marked by ten league leaps. In its sweep of fifteen songs - eight of which Donna had a hand in writing - she and her producers, Giorgio Moroder and Peter Bellotte, embrace new stylistic ground. They explore deeply melodic ballads while other cuts ass a rock-tinged edge to their solid platinum sound. Hot Stuff opens the album with a raunchy pulse highlighted by the blazing guitar of Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, an original member of Steely Dan and now a mainstay of the Doobie Brothers. A bouncy, thirties, Dixieland feel infiltrates Love Will Always Find You while on Our Love, Donna's steamy vocal, a gospel/R&B chant over swirling synthesizers, finds its roots in her very first singing experiences. The funky, get-on-up beat of disco still reigns supreme on Bad Girls but now serves as a foundation for many stylistic variations, from the hook-laden Walk Away to the album's stunning portrait of Hollywood nightlife, Sunset People. Side Three offers a change in mood with a suite of ballads that not only display Donna's voice at its most emotional and sensual but also show her power as an evocative songwriter. From On My Own Again which opens the side describing romance as "a gambler's chance: through to the celebrative, rock-influenced closing cut, My Baby Understands, Donna describes the shades and colors of love in a unique and tantalizing way… <snip>

- Bad Girls Press Kit 1979

*note: The song referred to as "On My Own Again" is actually "There Will Always Be A You".

The hottest female vocalist around is also prolific. This is her third consecutive double pocket set and considering the amount of product, Summer has remained consistently strong. "Bad Girls" represents somewhat of a departure in that the first two sides at least are more rock-oriented. Summer's vocals not only are more powerful and sexy but multi-dimensional. The music's strength carries over to all four sides. Based on a "bad girl" concept, Summer comes across in a seductive vein in vocal delivery and even through the album's graphics. Writers include producers Moroder and Bellotte, Brooklyn Dreams, Summer, Bruce Roberts and others. The musicians behind her supply her with pulsating and energetic firepower with some guest players also helping.

Best cuts: "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls," "Lucky," "Can't Get To Sleep At Night," Dim All The Lights," "Our Love"

- Billboard Spotlight Review May 5, 1979

And here it is: Donna Summer's seventh album in four years, "Bad Girls" (Casablanca) appears this week, a bountiful offering of fifteen A-side tracks (including four ballads) that's yet another step forward in a career already full of landmarks and triumphs. In this case, Summer and producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte don't drop a particular stylistic bombshell (as they had in each of Summer's first four albums): rather, they're catching the trend toward harder, rock and r&b oriented music on its upswing. In doing so they have drawn several crucial trump cards that establish "Bad Girls" as an immediate standard setter, both in terms of music and marketing.

- Brian Chin, Record World May 5, 1979

read the rest...

Hot Stuff is the hottest song in the discos across the nation right now, and Bad Girls has shot up to the top of the album charts. But Donna Summer, at 30, has done more than make a hit record here - she's pushed back the walls of her career and guaranteed that whatever she does from now on will get a lot of attention from more than just all those dancing feet out there.

- The Daily News, 1979

But BAD GIRLS was a landmark in more than mere popularity and commercial success. The album was more soulfully sung, with more R&B horns and fewer strings, than previous disco discs. Its definitive production style (from the celebrated Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte), vision of a truly global pop music, and expression of a woman's outspoken, emotional and observant sides (the busiest co-writer is Summer, who wrote three songs solo and co-wrote five others) signaled a new era in music.

- Universal's press release announcing Bad Girls Deluxe

Every young diva who has followed, whether from R&B, pop or country, has been influenced by the BAD GIRLS of Summer.

- Universal's press release announcing Bad Girls Deluxe

Donna talking about Bad Girls on the radio special Words & Music (1982).
Donna talking about Hot Stuff on the radio special Hollywood Live in 1982.

 

The Tracks:

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Click the audio icons for streaming MP3 clips.

1-1. Hot Stuff (P.Bellotte/ H.Faltermeyer/ K.Forsey)
1-2. Bad Girls (D.Summer/ E.Hokenson/ B.Sudano/ J.Esposito)

1-3. Love Will Always Find You  (G.Moroder/ P.Bellotte)

1-4. Walk Away (P.Bellotte/ H.Faltermeyer)
1-5. Dim All The Lights (D.Summer)
1-6. Journey To The Centre Of Your Heart (G.Moroder/ P.Bellotte)

1-7. One Night In A Lifetime (P.Bellotte/ H.Faltermeyer)

1-8. Can't Get To Sleep At Night (B.Conti/ B.Sudano)
1-9. On My Honour (D.Summer/ H.Faltermeyer/ B.Sudano)
1-10. There Will Always Be  A You (D.Summer)
1-11. All Through The Night (D.Summer/ B.Roberts)
1-12. My Baby Understands (D.Summer)
1-13. Our Love (G.Moroder/ D.Summer)
1-14. Lucky (G.Moroder/ D.Summer/ B.Sudano/ J.Esposito/ E.Hokenson)
1-15. Sunset People (P.Bellotte/ H.Faltermeyer/ K.Forsey)
1-16. Bad Girls (original demo) (D.Summer/ E.Hokenson/ B.Sudano/ J.Esposito)
2-1. I Feel Love (12") (D.Summer/ G.Moroder/ P.Bellotte)
2-2. Last Dance (12") (P.Jabara)
2-3. MacArthur Park Suite (12"):
MacArthur Park (J.L. Webb)
One Of A Kind (D.Summer/ G.Moroder/ P.Bellotte)
Heaven Knows D. Summer/ G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
MacArthur Park (Reprise) (J. L. Webb)
2-4. Hot Stuff (12") (P.Bellotte/ H.Faltermeyer/ K.Forsey)
2-5. Bad Girls (12") (D.Summer/ E.Hokenson/ B.Sudano/ J.Esposito)
2-6. Walk Away (promotional 12") (P.Bellotte/ H.Faltermeyer)
2-7. Dim All The Lights (promotional 12") (D.Summer)
2-8. No More Tears (12") (P.Jabara/ B.Roberts) 
2-9. On The Radio (long version from Foxes) (D.Summer/ G.Moroder)
BONUS CLIP: An acoustic version of Bad Girls from the BBC Sessions broadcast c. 1994. That's Bruce on guitar.

 

Video

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Other Stuff:

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Bad Girls generated the following awards (Click the audio icons for the acceptance speeches):
Grammy award for Best Rock Vocal Female (Hot Stuff)
Grammy nomination for Album Of The Year (Bad Girls)
Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Female (Bad Girls)
Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance Female (Dim All The Lights)
Grammy nomination for Best Disco Recording (Bad Girls)
American Music Award for Favorite Female Soul Vocalist (presented by Peaches & Herb)
American Music Award for Favorite Pop or Rock Single (presented by Charlie Daniels)
American Music Award for Favorite Female Pop or Rock Vocalist (presented by Pat Boone)
American Music Award nomination  for Favorite Pop or Rock album.
Donna is the first female artist to have 3 number 1 songs on the Billboard Pop Chart in one year. (Hot Stuff, Bad Girls and No More Tears.)
Bad Girls topped the Billboard Album chart for 6 weeks.  Hot Stuff topped the Pop Chart for 3 weeks, Bad Girls  was number 1 on the Pop Chart for 5 weeks and Dim All The Lights peaked at #2 for 2 weeks. (Now you know why Donna was constantly heard on the radio in 79!)
Hot Stuff and Bad Girls (the single) both went platinum, the third single, Dim All The Lights, went gold, and the album itself went multi-platinum.
Rolling Stone magazine cited Bad Girls as the "only great disco album other than Saturday Night Fever."
Neil Bogart (head of Casablanca Records) originally didn't want Donna to sing Hot Stuff because it was too rock and roll. He wanted to give it to Cher instead. Donna won that battle, but Cher didn't lose out completely. The 1980 soundtrack to Foxes included a Cher song called Bad Love (written by Cher and Giorgio Moroder) which was both stylistically and thematically very similar to Hot Stuff.
A couple of times in interviews over the years, Donna has cited There Will Always Be A You as one of her personal favorite songs of hers.
The extended version of Walk Away included extra vocals that were not on the album version. (See clip above.)
The Bad Girls demo (a rare exception to the "no demos" style of Donna, Giorgio and Pete) was produced by Donna herself and remained locked in the vault until the Universal Deluxe edition of Bad Girls was released.
The original vinyl release used British spelling for the song titles. The later CD reissue Americanized the spelling. 

 

Thanks to Sandro, Barry and Javier for providing articles, and to Universal for getting rid of that stupid red band!   ;-)

 

Purchase Info:

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You can still purchase the original Bad Girls at Amazon.com, Amazon UK and other on and offline vendors. The Deluxe Edition is also available at Amazon, Amazon UK and other retailers. 

 

     

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