The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Summer Fever Pick for March 2016:

Love To Love You, Baby (1975)

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"It shocked my shoes off." - Donna (on the success of Love To Love You)

And here we go back to the beginning (well, the beginning as most casual fans know it.  It takes a diehard to track down Lady Of The Night.  LOL)

For those of you that don't know, Love To Love You, Baby is the song and album that broke Donna here in the USA. She had a few hits in Europe prior to that song, but Love To Love You is the one that changed everything. The song brought Donna, success, instant fame, and a sexy image that she still has to deal with today. It also completely overshadowed all the other songs on the album. Invariably, any discussion of the album focuses almost entirely on the title track - and the other tracks are forgotten. (You'll see that when you see the quotes I managed to dig up!) And that's a real shame because there are some real gems there - like my personal favorite, Pandora's Box. So if you haven't done it for awhile, dig out your album, flip it over and play side 2. (OK, if it's a CD then flipping it over isn't such a good idea.....   ;-)  Just start with track 2 for a change.)

So with no further ado, this month I invite you to relive the magic of Love To Love You Baby

 

Other Art:

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A Few Quotes:

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"So, one day I thought we should do something a little more sexy. Just for fun. There had been this big hit with Jane Birkin's 'Je T'Aime'  years before and I wanted to do something like that again. We left it for a while until Donna came back to me with an idea for the lyrics. We did it just to see if it worked, and it did." 

- Giorgio Moroder, New Musical Express, December 9, 1978

"We really just thought of 'Love To Love You, Baby' as a bit of fun. At one point I'd suggested doing a sexy song, almost like the Serge Gainsbourg hit 'Je T'aime', and one afternoon Donna came to the office and said she'd come up with the title 'Love To Love You, Baby'. That sounded good to me. Back then I had a studio in the basement of my Munich apartment building, called Music Land -- which later became famous when acts such as The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Elton John used it -- and it happened to be empty that afternoon, so I went straight down there and composed the song. Then, a day or two later, Donna came in and we did a very rough demo.

"The way I demo'd back then wasn't much different to the way I work now. In 1974 the first cheap little drum machines came out, so I would use one of those, and I also had a real drum loop with several different tempos. I would put up a tape from a 24-track and I would have a mic for the vocal, as well as some sort of keyboard -- a Fender Rhodes, maybe. Having established the tempo of the song, I would just record the rhythm, along with a guide vocal, and then go from there."

- Giorgio Moroder, Sound On Sound, March 1998

"'Love to Love You' was approached as an acting piece, as what I imagined it to be like for a man seeing his wife for the first time, or for a woman seeing his wife for the first time. I've been in that situation. There really isn't anything to say. I was in ecstasy without being touched. I was breathing heavy just from the thought that my dream was right there in front of me. Ecstasy comes in many forms, it's not just physical. But my song conjured up physical fantasies for people. My acting was done well and people believed the story I was acting." 

- Donna Summer, Penthouse, 1979

"During the recording of the record I had much more romantic thoughts than the record led you to believe." 

- Donna Summer, Penthouse, 1979

"When I made the record, I was a housewife and a mother and my message was that any woman can be sexy." 

- Donna Summer, Teen Beat c1979

[Shortly after making the demo, Giorgio played it at the MIDEM show in France.] 

"The reaction was absolutely incredible, so we went back to Germany, re-recorded the song and presented it to Neil Bogart of Casablanca Records. He took it, and then a few weeks later he phoned me at 3 o'clock in the morning with the idea of extending the number to cover the whole side of an album! So that's what we did, over the course of about two weeks."

- Giorgio Moroder, Sound On Sound, March 1998

"When I first heard Donna's single, 'Love To Love You Baby', I was totally captivated. It wasn't just the voice or the overall sound... there was something that was very special that I felt. I knew, then, that Donna would become a part of me and millions of other people. I sensed it was different - not one of those 'smash-a-roo' 'rise 'em-to-the-top-of-the-charts' hit singles. I guess that's why we waited and planned four months before releasing it, and then not in its single version of 3:50, but as an entire side of an LP - 16:30." 

- Neil Bogart, a mid-70s press kit

"I had played the single at a party. By the time the record was finished everybody at the party was dancing. One lady yelled 'Play that again', and when it finished the second time, someone asked that I play it again. I put the stereo on repeat... It must have been 2:00 o'clock in the morning when I called Giorgio Moroder, president of Oasis Records in Germany and co-producer of Donna's records, and asked him for a 20 minute version. I told him that it was the greatest love/dancing record that I had ever heard, and I wanted to release it as an entire LP cut." 

- Neil Bogart, a mid-70s press kit

"Within a week after we released the record, we sold 40,000 albums in New York City, just from disco play! That was something new for me - a record selling before radio started playing it! We scheduled a promotion tour for Donna, and by the time she arrived, 6 weeks later, the album had sold 400,000 units." 

- Neil Bogart, a mid-70s press kit

"It's funny because I had been away. I was on a ship and I came home and there were all these telegrams and dried up flowers at my door. I thought that somebody had died. Then I called them and found out what had happened. When they finally reached me, everyone was frantic because the record had become an underground hit in European clubs, L.A. and the major markets, and they needed me to come and promote it." 

- Donna Summer, Long Island Nightlife, 1987

"You know that record flopped twice in Europe. I was a clean cut, funny American girl who was in Europe doing top European music. That was my image. They didn't even acknowledge that record. It fell off the charts twice before it was released the third time and hit. It was hysterical." 

- Donna Summer, Penthouse, 1979

"I wasn't really in touch with what was going on in England and America. I got some feedback about how the record was selling through the music papers, but I was never one for going to the discotheques. I maybe visited  Studio 54 once or twice, but I didn't follow the scene and the trends too much. At the same time, Donna originally didn't want to do dance music at all. I mean, I knew her as a great singer with an incredible voice, so when we did the demo for 'Love To Love You, Baby' it was very different for her to be singing in that soft, breathy way. She hadn't sung that way for me before, and she wasn't too interested in disco. Ballads and musical numbers were more her style, but then that record took off and we had a bit of a problem.

"For the second album -- which was moderately successful -- we wanted to record disco tunes and we wanted to use her proper voice, but we didn't want to change the formula too much. She therefore stayed sexy but a little less so, while using a little more voice, and then for the third album she really sang like we knew she could."

- Giorgio Moroder, Sound On Sound, March 1998

"Sometimes magic happens when you're just trying to figure out how to get the rabbit into the hat in the first place. The sound that became world famous, the seductive moans and groans of 'Love To Love You Baby,' happened simply because we had run out of words, and I had to do something to fill up the time. When it was through, all anyone wanted to know was where the rabbit had come from!"

- Donna Summer, Ordinary Girl: The Journey (page 111) Villard Books, 2003

"I can pinpoint the exact moment everything changed for me. Giorgio and I had gone through customs and were met by Susan Munao, the head of publicity and artist relations at Casablanca Records. Susan and I jumped into the back of a stretch limo, the likes of which I had never seen. As the driver started the engine, the radio came on, and miraculously, out of his speakers came the bass line of 'Love To Love You Baby.' At first I thought it must be an eight-track, a 'nice touch' (and very Neil), but soon I realized it was a local radio station. When the music ended, a deejay came on and identified the song and mentioned my name. I turned to Susan in disbelief and saw she was just as surprised as I was. We both screamed at the same time, so loud the driver almost went off the road! I was thrilled! What a great way to start."

- Donna Summer, Ordinary Girl: The Journey (page 117) Villard Books, 2003

Donna talking about recording Love To Love You on the John Walsh Show. (November 4, 2003)
Donna talking about the writing of Love To Love You on NPR's Fresh Air (November 4, 2003) 
Donna talking about the recording of Love To Love You on NPR's Fresh Air (November 4, 2003) 
Donna talking about the writing of Love To Love You on VH1 Classic (November 2, 2003)
Donna talking about hearing Love To Love You on the radio when she first came back to the US.

 

The Tracks:

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Click the audio icon to hear any clip in streaming MP3 format

1. Love To Love You Baby (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte/ D. Summer)
2. Full Of Emptiness  (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
3. Need-A-Man Blues  (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
4. Whispering Waves (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
5. Pandora's Box (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
6. Full Of Emptiness (reprise) (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)

The following three tracks were included on some of the European releases:

Lady Of The Night (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte) *included on the German release
The Hostage (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)  *included on the German and French releases
Virgin Mary (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)  *included on the Dutch release

 

Other Stuff:

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Love To Love You was banned in the United Kingdom at one point.
The album Love To Love You hit #11 on Billboard's album chart, while the single peaked at #2 on the Hot 100. 
The single was certified Gold a mere 12 days after its release.
The 17 minute version of Love To Love You helped to popularize the 12 inch single format.
The album had different track lists in different countries. (See track list above for details.)
That's not a nightgown Donna's wearing on the front cover. It's an evening gown. You can see other pictures of Donna in that dress on page 123 and 126 of Ordinary Girl.
In honor of the success of Love To Love You and Donna's arrival in the USA, Casablanca threw her a party in New York. And at this party was a life- sized cake that was hand-painted to look like the back of the album cover. The cake was made in LA, was transported to the airport by ambulance, and was flown first class (in TWO seats!) with an escort.  (I guess Casablanca didn't know there are bakeries in New York.......   ;-) ) See the pictures above for a picture of the cake that I shamelessly stole from Donna's book.
Well, many of us thought this would never happen - but starting in November 2004, Love To Love You was back in Donna's concerts. She didn't sing it at every show (most notably she skipped it at EVERY show I was at!  LOL), and she didn't bring back the infamous microphone stand from 79 (sorry Eldo) - but the song was there. And many people freaked out when they heard it!  :-)
There was actually a TV commercial back in the day to promote the album.  It lives on YouTube, for those of you who want to see it. 

 

A Fan's View

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Over the years, Love To Love You has been reviewed and commented on countless times. Usually the comments have to do with the explicit nature of the song - heck even Time magazine counted the orgasms. (Why not just LISTEN to the song Time?). Not coincidentally (in my decidedly female opinion  ;-) ) - most of those reviews were written by men.  So it is my pleasure to share the other side of the coin with you. 

A long time ago, there was a discussion on the Endless Summer forum about Donna's early material. And in the middle of this discussion was a wonderful post by Nurse Fidji, which managed to sum up the female point of view very nicely. So take it away Fidji.....

I don't know how to explain my views about these early tracks with so called "sexual" overtones. My views are probably different to most and maybe being a woman (as is Donna) has something to do with this - you guys probably feel the same when you're with your Mister but you're gonna have to tell me LOL.

I never understood why "Love To Love You Baby" was labeled the "ode to the orgasm" and Donna "The first lady of lust" - somehow the critics/journalists just seem to have missed the point. They jumped onto the "moans" and missed the brilliance of the simple lyrics and Donnas performance that convey perfectly the feelings and emotions that you feel when your man makes that move LOL. However, Donna's physical interpretation at the time probably didn't help!! These songs paint a picture of something that is really beautiful and they do it so well, those wonderful feelings of being so close to someone you love and at that time never wanting to be anywhere else.. it's so innocent.... Those same innocent feelings come about from just being with that special person and doing nothing in particular.

I don't think I've really explained myself very well - but it's not easy!! To me it's not about the act of sex or lust but more about the feelings of being with and finding that special person.... just holding on tight with all your might and praying it'll never stop!

XOX Fidji

©2000 Fidji

 

Purchase Info:

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You can purchase Love To Love You Baby at  Amazon, Amazon UK and other on and offline vendors. Or you can get it boxed with A Love Trilogy and Four Seasons Of Love in the Chronicles box set also available at Amazon, Amazon UK and other vendors.

     

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