The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Ken's Korner

Ken's Korner Update

[MAR 20 2021]

There’s no place like home, in particular, when home is Boston !

Yes, I’m back and as opinionated as ever.

The last two years have been a challenge for us all, and best described by Donna’s haunting deliver of the song, Riding Through The Storm.

COVID postponed, and delayed many planned events on the entertainment world, including the touring production of Summer, The Donna Summer Musical.

With COVID restrictions started to be lifted (despite Omicron), the national Tour of Summer was on again.  I had a number of people ask me if we planned to attend one of the performances in Boston, at the restored Colonial Theater. Now gee, how important is Donna in my life, and here’s the musical based on her life, playing in her home town, and our adopted home town, of course we were going.

The evening we saw the show had a packed house of Donna’s fans, young, and old, and a number of people who knew Donna growing up in Mission Hill, and by her family through the Grant AME Church on the South End/Roxbury border.

The touring cast is outstanding, as are the 3 women playing Donna. Brittany Smith as Diva Donna, Charis Gullage as Disco Donna, striking an incredible likeness to Donna during her 70’s hey day, and Amahri Edwards-Jones  as Duckling Donna.  Did I have a favorite of the 3, after all this is Ken here, and yes, I did it was Amahri, as Duckling Donna. Ducklings solo is On My Honour (one of my all time favorite songs of Donna’s), and it did not take long for the tears to flow. Amahri brought a very poignant delivery of a young Donna trying to hold on to innocence, while growing up in a gritty urban landscape, that was much more violent than it is today.

We both enjoyed this version of the show much more than when we saw it on Broadway. The pacing of the store vignettes was improved, and they flowed more easily. To give two examples of this, during Donna’s cancer diagnosis, the use of Unconditional Love, played so much better, and the audience was able to follow it along. During Friends Unknown, we did not have the back drops, and that kept the focus on Diva Donna and Brian’s dialogue, and it came out far more meaningful, and it was again paced better.

The crowd was also a major part of the entertainment, when Diva Donna announced, I’m Donna Summer, and I’m from Boston, Massachusetts, the crowd roared, and the house vibrated.  During the major hits, you really felt like Donna was there (and in many ways she was), and the crowd would stayed through the night to hear all those great songs.

Boston loves their hometown Diva, and it showed !

I just have to add this is where the musical should have been tried out, prior to Broadway. As an example the musical based on Neil Diamond, Beautiful Noise, it being tried out in this very theater this summer.

As I said to Linda Gaines on Facebook, Summer, needs to make regular stops in Boston, whenever it is on tour.

You do have another chance to experience the show close to Boston, when Summer appears in Portland with 2 shows on June 5th.   As to which Portland, the late Bette Davis summed it up well in her movie, A Stolen Life.  When asked which Portland she was from, she looked forward and stated, “to a Yankee there is only one Portland, Maine”.

Lastly, yes, you have not heard from me in quite awhile, but don’t fret, I already have another Ken’s Korner in the pipeline. One of the my favorite topics is the Quincy Jones album, and I recently bought the deluxe edition, complete with the detailed booklet on it. I will have a lot to say about that !



[AUG 10 2014]

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.

JAN 12] 2014

Reflections on Remixes…………..

First and foremost I trust that everyone had a Happy Holiday Season, and I wish everyone the best for 2014. I know that some of our own have been going through health issues, and as someone who is dealing with a number of on going health issues I know 
all too well the meaning of that saying, when you have your health, you have everything.

The Love, to Love, You, Donna Remix album has been making news, and is doing very well. The remix of MacArthur Park has topped the dance charts, and the album as a whole is turning a whole new generation of fans onto Donna’s body of work. The recent impact of Daft Punk has also benefited Donna as their work has the genius of Niles Rogers and Giorgio Moroder behind it.

That said, I have mixed feelings about the remixes (pun intended), and as you all know I am not shy about letting these opinions be known. I guess my love for Donna’s original body of work does cloud my judgment of any and all remixes, and in fact when I think of my favorite 12 inch singles I most enjoyed the ones that extended these great songs without altering them all that much. 

For me, I can’t wait until Verve releases some of Donna last recordings, and possibly some gems from the vault (after all Donna co-wrote Silver Girl *with David Foster).
As for Donna’s vast released body of work, for me, there is nothing like the originals.

*One last note for this Ken’s Korner, I have a whole bunch of Facebook friends with a Donna connection, one of them being the comedienne Louise DuArt. If you don’t know the story of the song Silver Girl, ask Louise. Cathy and I, along with others also know the story, but we’ll charge you for the information, major credit cards accepted ! 



[SEP 29 2013]

A fresh look at the Donna Summer album.

Going back to the subject matter that first gave way to Ken’s Korner (Donna’s albums through the years), I thought it would be an interesting time to re-examine the Donna Summer album from 1982.

As you all may know, that release is not one of my favorites, and never will be, but I thought that it was due a new listen with an open mind. 

The background is a story on to itself. As we know, after Donna signed with David Geffen there was much debate about how her first Geffen release, The Wanderer, fared.
That album did achieve much critical acclaim (Rolling Stone gave it 4 and a ½ stars, a ½ star away from “classic”), but it did not sell like her Casablanca blockbusters.

In 1981 David Geffen commissioned a new double album that was ready for a mid-1981 release, and as we know Geffen decided to pass on the release. Instead Donna was paired with famous producer Quincy Jones for what was initially planned to be an all out R & B album. Production on this album dragged on in part as Donna was with child (Amanda), and Quincy Jones was a much in demand producer. In early 1982 MTV reported that this album would contain a Bruce Springsteen song, and that a song written by Jon Anderson (of the band Yes), and Vangelis was already completed and would be on that album.
Anticipation ran high for the release and the news from MTV gave hope that this album would be more diverse than the all out R & B album that was first reported from Geffen.

Further stroking the flames of anticipation was a cover story about David Geffen in a early spring1982 issue of New York Magazine. Many of us remember this article containing a photo of David and Donna with the caption “The trappings of success, a Hockney on the wall, and Donna Summer on the phone. In the article David assured the writer that her soon to be released album would be THE album of 1982.

With that said………………………

I recently downloaded my CD copy of the Donna Summer album into my iTunes library and onto my iPad. In turn I plugged into my new car stereo and let it rip at full power.
Blasting the tracks Love is In Control, Mystery of Love, The Women in Me, If Its Hurts Just a Little, and Love Is Just Breath Away, with open ears and mind revealed the intricate layers of sounds that Quincy brought into the production. Perhaps it was listening to these songs on a modern sound system, but I picked up on things I never heard when listening to this release “back in the day” In many ways this album was well ahead of it’s time. That’s not to say that I still find Donna’s vocals taking a back seat on some of these productions, but at least now I get what I think Quincy was trying to accomplish. 

Of the tracks that I mentioned, Love Is Just a Breath Away remains the most haunting, it’s very 80’s sound reminds me of Giorgio’s work on 80’s soundtracks, American Gigolo, Flashdance, and Top Gun. This track also allows Donna’s vocals to shine. 

As for the other tracks, State of Independence is a Donna classic, but, for anyone who saw her sing it live, the recorded version does not come close to capturing the essence of this great composition. Allow me a moment to indulge myself, in June of 1983 Donna had a 10 day run at Resorts International in Atlantic City, I was at the closing night show, and Donna’s entire entourage took the stage to sing along to State of Independence, when you experience that, the recorded version pales.

Livin’ in America is an interesting track, and one of the few on this release that Donna had a hand in composing. I like the song, and it’s meaning (as well as the fan dedication on the liner notes), but to me hearing Donna sing, America The Beautiful, God Bless America, The National Anthem, and Silver Girl live, Living In America takes a back seat.
I guess sometimes the tried and true trumps a new recording.

Speaking of the tied and true, the Donna Summer album does have something that no other Donna Summer STUDIO* album has, a true standard, Lush Life.
Lush Life never sounded lusher, and Q kept the production down, and in turn let Donna’s vocals shine. Speaking of minimal production, and as I have said before, Sometimes Like Butterflies NEVER should have been left off this album !!!!!

All in all the Donna Summer album is worthy of respect, and a fresh listen.
It will never be one of my favorite releases, but I like it more now that I feel I have a handle on what Q was looking to create.

*Yes, I said STUDIO albums, both Live and More, and Live & More Encore contain standards, but those were LIVE recordings. Further, I’m A Rainbow contains a studio recording of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, BUT that track was not yet a standard when it was recorded. Christmas Spirit contains Christmas standards, but not standard, standards.

Lastly, do not worry, I’ll be back soon with lot ‘s of opinions on all things Donna’s, and 
To quote Elton John, the “second rate” talent that think they are of Donna’s caliber.



[SEP 30 12]

Continued Reflections…

As we move forward, there still remains the yearning that Donna’s passing was one big nightmare. I’ll have lots more to say in the coming months, but for now I want to focus on a very important key to Donna’s enduring popularity, us, all of us.

I count myself fortunate that all those many years ago, there was something about Donna that crept into my soul, and remained there and grew stronger all through the years. Yes, I am paraphrasing from the songs, The Queen is Back, and Friends Unknown, as I will continue to do through this article

Form attending all those concerts starting back in 1981 I also knew that I was in good company. I was in the company of people who shared not only the common love of all things Donna, but people who are great in their own right. I have found all the Donna fanatics to be a group of kind, funny, smart folks, who in many ways mimic Donna’s personality. Far from simply fans, we are not only loyal to Donna’s music, but to Donna herself, her family, and her chosen family as well. We got to know the members of her touring band, and made them part of our extended family. 

Further despite our rabid loyalty we also knew the bounds that must be respected, and we did. Granted in our younger days we may have been a bit more bold, but we have all matured, and together we have grown. 

Just to give an example of how unique a group of people we are, I need to recall an event from earlier this year. Donna’s good friend and fellow Diva, Diana Ross was one of those artists who through the years never won a Grammy award. In part to make up for this and to honor her the recording academy awarded her a special Grammy Lifetime Award this past winter. When I heard about this I was reminded of something that Donna and Diana have in common, the love of their children, and how fine all the children have turned out. In turn I tried to get a conversation going on Diana’s primary tribute site about this, calling her 3 daughters her finest achievement. This went over like the proverbial lead balloon, and comments ranged from indifference, to one blogger writing back that they could care less about her kids. I was shocked, but then realized what a different group of people these are. 

We are in VERY good company.

I will continue to write my column, and I have decades of Donna memories to draw on.
Not to mention new memories from all of us, and Donna’s family as well.

Special note to Madonna, yes, you have been warned, I am not going anywhere !



[MAY 13 12] 

The Passing of Dick Clark.

Writing about deceased members of the music family is becoming all to common as of late, but in many cases they are too important to just let go of. They need to be celebrated, and in Mr. Clarks case, his story is also part of Donna’s story.

As we all know Dick Clark rose to fame as THE host of American Bandstand, and his production company would go onto produce countless TV shows, and annual events like the American Music Awards. Dick was a leader in his field, and a key point that separated him from his contemporaries (like Don Cornelius) is that in his love for music he moved effortlessly from one genre to another, and he embraced new trends as they were happening. On Soul Train, Mr. Cornelius never fully embraced Disco, and he spoke openly about not liking Rap and Hip Hop, Dick Clark on the other hand embraced both musical genres and many, many, more. Don and Dick did have in thing in common, in that they both thought the world of Donna, and that leads me to………….

Dick Clark welcomed new artists on American bandstand all the time, and he always made them feel comfortable and appreciated. In the early part of 1976 one such new artist was Donna, and they formed a bond that lasted to this day. In that classic episode of Bandstand, Donna sang Love to Love You Baby, and Try Me,. In between the 2 songs he interviewed her, and in those early days when folks viewed Donna as a sultry love siren, Dick showed the world the beautiful, humorous, and intelligent women that we have all grown to love. Donna would appear on bandstand many more times over the years, and of course guest hosted the show in 1978, an honor that no other musical act had during the time that Dick hosted the show.

Mr. Clark may have moved along with the times, but his promotion and admiration of Donna did not dim was Disco did. He continued to feature her, and her 80’s music on Bandstand, and in 1985, when he produced the 33 and 1/3 Anniversary of American Bandstand, Donna opened the show with Last Dance. Dick continued to sing her praises through the 80’s and 90’s, and he participated in the ceremony where she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and her feature on the A&E program Biography.

Perhaps most fitting is that in 2003 as part of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve, Donna was one of the headliners singing Your So Beautiful, and of course, Last Dance. That year was the last that featured Mr. Clark in all his glory, for in 2004 he suffered a stroke that he never fully recovered from.

Rest in Peace Mr. Clark, we loved you for many reasons, and we thank you for your constant support of Donna.

Some of many favorite “Bandstand” clips.





[FEB 19]

The Death of Whitney Houston

Whitney and I were both born in the early 1960’s at St. Michaels Hospital in Newark,
a hospital that is within sight distance today of the gleaming NJ Performing Arts Center.
Back then, Newark was still a largely working class and middle class city with a fairly diverse population. Even the high-rise housing projects like Stella Wright, and the Columbus Homes housed mostly working class families.

However by the mid-1960’s Newark was in the midst of not only “white-flight”, but “middle class” flight as well. Many long established Black families started to leave their old neighborhoods not long after their white neighbors did. Such was the case of our close family friends the Russo’s who lived on South 7th Street, and their caddy corner backyard neighbors the Houston’s. The Russo’s who were part of St. Antoninus Church moved shortly before the riots, and the Houston’s who were part of New Hope Baptist
moved shortly after. A tradition for many Newark families was to remain with their old church even after they moved, as the Houston’s did., and our family and friends did.
It was shortly after the 1967 riots that the choirs from St. Antoninus and New Hope Baptist got together for a unity concert that I first met the charismatic leader of the New Hope music ministry, Cissy Houston.

Fast forward to the High School years. One common thread in Newark and many of the town that surrounded it was that the public schools were not that great. Many families not only from Newark, but East Orange, Kearny, Irvington sent their kids to catholic or private schools, in particular for High School. I attended the boys only Seton Hall Prepatory School, and Cissy’s daughter Whitney, attended the girls only, Mount Saint Dominic Academy. Our schools were considered “sister” schools since Mount Saint Dominic was where our cheerleaders came from, girls for school plays and musicals,
special events, and the like. It was during my first 2 years at Seton Hall Prep that I met 
Cissy’s daughter Whitney, and her best friend Robyn Crawford. It was during this brief time that I got to know Whitney and Robyn, and we often talked about musical artists of the past and present. Like many of us by the time we got to our junior and senior year we were off doing our own thing, like working after school and the like. 

I knew that Whitney sang with her Mom, and was doing some modeling work, but it was quite the surprise when I bought my copy of the album, Paul Jabara and Friends in 1982, and saw that Whitney was featured on the track, Eternal Love. I followed her career a bit and when she signed with Clive Davis in 1983 I knew that we would hear plenty from 
‘Nippy. It would be a lie for me to say that I did not enjoy her first releases, and yes I danced away on the floor at Club Odyssey in Asbury Park to songs like How Will I Know and I Wanna Dance With Somebody. 

In 1986 Whitney launched her first tour, and I remember how taken fellow Donna fanatic Quay Foster and his then wife were taken by the show that they attended at the Mann Music Center in Philly. For a moment I thought that we may have lost them.
Then reality set in, for despite all the glamour of her songs, and the excitement around a new superstar, something was missing. Whitney launched a world tour that would run from 1987 to 1988 to support her 2nd release, Whitney, and I attended that show when it landed at the Garden State Arts Center in August of 1987. The place was packed as it was a celebration of Jersey’s own Whitney, and yet the show fell flat. The live versions of her songs were OK, none of them really caught fire, and she seemed to put a wall up between herself and the crowd. The crowd that started the evening in a party mood, left the show appreciative, but not feeling the love, or a wow factor. 

To me things got even weirder after the release of “I’m Your Baby Tonight”. At this point the girl from middle class New Jersey seemed to be heck bent on showing the world that she was really a home girl from the hood. After she met Bobby Brown she said in an interview that they were a perfect couple as Bobby was from the projects of Boston, and she was from the projects of Newark. When I heard this the first thing that I thought of was how hurtful that statement was to her Mom, for they never lived in the projects.
Whitney’s parents may have divorced, but they came together to ensure that their kids had a good home. For me despite the highpoints of her career (like the Bodyguard), she 
started down a dark path that she never recovered from.

So now we say goodbye to Whitney. I would like to say that we thank her for her music (which we do), but I can’t help but to close this story with the wish that whatever it is that got in her, and caused her demise, never took hold of her in the first place.


[DEC 11]

Holiday Season 2011.

Greetings all, yes it’s me ready to spread some Christmas Cheer (really !) First of all, I trust that everyone is stocking up on copies of Christmas Spirit, or the more easy to find, 20th Century Masters version. They are perfect for  grab bags, stocking stuffers, and the like. I recently posted a link from Amazon onto my  Facebook page, subtle isn’t it. Yes, folks I’m on Facebook too !

And for those who do not sell their quotas of Christmas Spirit ??

Not to worry I won’t send the middle aged dancing drag queens to visit you, I’LL visit you ! Not worried about this, I would be, as I’ll wear the house dress that I bought back in 1986 for a Halloween Party. I bought this fine example of rayon at the John Wanamaker budget store for the staggering price of $6.99, and that was full price. Trust me, it won’t be pretty, in fact you’ll probably have to move afterwards. So, go out, or go on-line, and buy some copies of Christmas Spirit, NOW !

I also trust that everyone read the recent article that dared to call Rhianna, the Donna Summer of out time. My comments are already posted, are yours ??

Now onto some real Christmas Spirit…………………

Each year I know that we all try to spread some holiday cheer to those less fortunate than ourselves, and at the same time many of us have gotten caught in the rip tide of our current economic times. It is very easy to become very judgmental of those whose economic conditions are bad, but the fact remains that bad things can happen to some very good people. As we enter the Christmas Season, many kids get caught in this rip-tide, and all they want is some fun during the holidays (and all children are entitled to that).

So what to do ??

You don’t have to be a total Pollyanna to spread some joy, nor do you have any justifiable reason to emulate Scrooge. Focus instead on the kids ! As an example, I work on Shelter Island, and we have a local charity, David’s Fund, that provides toys for children on the island in need. Need on Shelter Island ? Yes, need is real thing everywhere, and in particular in summer resort areas, many parents struggle in the off-season to find work, and because many work for themselves in 
the busy tourist times, they are not entitled to unemployment benefits. 

A charity like David’s Fund, allows a kid to be a kid, and that is what every kid should be able to be at Christmas.

Many towns have their own version of David’s Fund, I encourage you to find that one in your town. For information about David’s Fund here on Shelter Island, call Camille at  Jack’s Marine, 631-749-0114.

For those not sure where to find a charity to make a donation this Christmas Season, I would recommend a trip to Barney's.

Barney's theme this Holiday Season is Ga Ga's Workshop (as in Lady Ga Ga), and 25% of purchases made on Ga Ga's Workshop merchandise  will be donated to the Ga Ga run Born This Way Foundation. This foundation works to stop bullying, and empower youth.

Here is a photo from Barney's and a link to learn more.


[MAY 16]

It Was a Magical Mystical Night,
What were YOU doing on Friday, Evening, May 14.

My partner Phillip, and I know that we are truly blessed to live and work on the beautiful
“east end” of Long Island, a/k/a The Hamptons and The North Fork. One thing (among many) that make this place so special, and unique is that we are able to enjoy the rural atmosphere, and yet not be in “deliverance” country. As an example being a same sex couple here raises no eye brows, and in fact my partner is the Deputy Supervisor of the town that we live in. Further our area is home to the 2nd largest collection of vineyards outside of the Napa Valley, and the vineyards no only cater to tourists, but to the locals as well.

That leads me to the point of this story. The Wolffer Estate Vineyard has a “off season” Friday afternoon program known as Candlelight at the Vines. These events include live music, and the chance to chill out after a long work week. This past Friday, the final Candlelight until after Labor Day, featured Johnnyswim as their musical act. This all happened at the 11th hour, but Cathy was free, and I work about 20 minutes way from Wolffer so off we went.

As you know, Johnnyswim is the duo of Abner Ramiez, and Amanda Sudano-Ramiez, and they perform a mix of original tunes, to cover songs, with a diversity that runs from Cuban influenced pop, to folk, soul, and inspirational. They both have clear, powerful voices, and while we can say where Amanda inherited her powerful voice from, her sound is very much her own, with tinges of Alicia Keyes. I met them both after the 1st set, and their personas are as beautiful as their talent. With an invitation to hang out and enjoy the music, we savored the 2nd set, and Abner's Cuban songs are moving and them some. 

After the 2nd set, I was thinking I have to get home, and tend to errands, but then, guess who showed up to enjoy the 3rd set ?? yes, it was Donna, Bruce, and several of the friends. Donna approached Cathy to chit chat, and I got to meet my idol face to face for the first time ever. Donna & Bruce then sat at the table next to us, and looked on like the proud parents they are. Abner even worked in a bit of Music, Harmony and Rhythm into their next to last song. 

With their sets finished, we got to hang out with everyone for the next hour, and I had the chance to talk to Bruce and Donna, and it was every bit like talking to an old friend. Frankly it was a honor that Donna had the confidence to speak with us, and not have to worry about any people present with hidden agendas. One of the bartenders thought I was her bodyguard (I am 6’1 and 230lbs), just by the casual way we were speaking.

Not to worry, I did not monopolize Donna’s ear the whole time (Cathy can vouch for this).

Johnnyswim will be performing all over the place this summer, so catch them, when you can, you will not be disappointed.

As I told Donna & Bruce, their children, Amanda, Brooklyn and Mimi are their lasting legacy, and the fact that they are all fine adults today, is a testimony to their dedication as devoted parents.

A few other ramblings………….

First and foremost, we say goodbye to Lena Horne. What else is there to say, Lena was pure talent, grace, and dignity. Lena is a true black pearl, and the “lady and her music” will live on in our hearts forever.

Like many of you, I have been reading the reports of Whitney Houston’s tour in Europe, and the reviews and fan reports have been mixed to say the least. Worst are the You Tube clips coming in showing her struggling on stage, and for the most part she does not appear to be enjoying herself. My fear is that she will have a stroke onstage if this continues. Who ever it is that you believe in, pray to them for Whitney, she needs the good vibes, and wishes from all of us.


[NOV 14]

Faith Restored Via You Tube.

Yes, I have been nice in my last few Kens Korner columns.

I thought it might be time for a reversal, or in the words of Millie Jackson, from her Live and Uncensored album, "I've been far too nice, for too long, it's time to get nasty".

Well sort of nasty anyway. I promise no wishing of evil upon Madonna, after all the horse in
Bridgehampton never did finish the job (oops, sorry), so we are all stuck with her.

However I do want to vent a bit about the news media, and it's seemingly endless pre occupation
with rewarding bad behavior, for that matter encouraging bad behavior, while at the same time ignoring the good that many people do as part of their ordinary lives. I also include in this the fact that the news media seems to only pay attention to stars that act like sub-humans, while ignoring those who simply go about the business of entertaining their fans, and maintaining dignity in their personal lives.

As an example, I watched the Whitney Houston interview on Oprah, and found myself wanting to reach through the screen and smack both of them. I am glad that Whitney has pulled it together, and released a new album, albeit thanks to her Mother's intervention. However, Whitney, cut the crap, and don't make it sound like you had a minor problem, and were spending time being Mother of The Year to your daughter. As for Oprah, don't think this was your best interview, it was not all that. Try celebrating people who have made life work, even with all the issues we face, and were able to get it together by their own convictions.

One important note about Whitney, and her new album, I Look To You. If Whitney has one person to thank for this chance, it is Clive Davis. Mr. Davis is one of the last, active, music moguls left, and it shows that if one of these moguls believed in you, mountains could be moved for you. If you heard Donna speak about Neil Bogart you know how important he was to her (and remains in spirit). As Neil put it, "Why Head For The Mountain Top, When Your Reaching For The Sky."

Back to the news media for a minute, I have to add, where were they back on August 27, when Donna drew 35,000 fans to her concert at Coney Island ?? I guess that Donna should have thrown a few people in front of Subway trains, and seduced Marty Markowitz to get their attention ! It seems that for our jaded news media, dazzling 35,000 people is not enough !

That said, I have had my faith in humanity restored thanks to the ever growing collection of Donna clips on You Tube, and the comments that viewers have left.


From "A Song You"

WOW! i was the biggest fan of the whitney version until this!"

There are singers that are called legendary and then there are those that are legendary. This woman is increadible. She doesn't show off. She just gives the songs she sings a life that makes it worth listening to. Thanks for sharing this amazing piece of artistry that gives me chills.

From Larry King Live, on Michael Jackson

I have more respect than ever for Donna Summer after listening to her response regarding Michael's personal life and if the reports had changed her opinion of him. Rather than refute the reports or validate them, she simply conceded that there may be truth, but she preferred to give him the benefit of the doubt, and her opinion of him changed "...not at all". I am not Christian, but if more Christians walked the walk like Donna, I might feel differently.

From Mimi's Song

this song is THE reason i'm a Donna Summer fan.

wow ,look at the talents we had back then
her voice her style and her makeup is impeccable
look what we have now ,britney spears miming to tapes and loosing her weave on stage ??!!!
i dont know if i should laugh or cry

From God Bless America

Beautiful..true singer!..great performance

What an amazing voice! I wish more young singers would have chosen her as their vocal inspiration instead of trying to do vocal gymnastics like they do now. This is a great example of how to just sing the song, and do it right.

From Hot Stuff

i used to laugh at my mom for going gaga over donna's songs, i even got irked one time when she put 'hot stuff' in my ipod. but now, i gotta admit, this video totally turned the tables for me. she is freakin' awesome!

From The Impossible Dream

Magnificent ! Such a beautiful voice

From Something's Missing In My Life

One of Paul Jabara's best songs, coupled with one of Donna's best vocals, equals perfection.

Visit Ken on CDNow/Amazon to read his album reviews and Listmanias.

[Editor's note: Not that damn Jitney again!  LOL See, you don't have to wait on what comes out of it every summer. I'm pretty sure some of them are not even from this galaxy, let alone planet. ;-)  See my Coney Island report on the Coney Island fan page.]

[SEP 6]

Donna, A Hot Brooklyn Night !

A whole gaggle of Donna die-hards gathered for her free out door concert in Brooklyn on August 27th. Cathy and I met up with 2 fans who offered to drive in, and off we went ! (note: If we did not meet up with folks who wanted to drive in, I was going to let Cathy know one of the great secrets of Long Island. That being the Hampton Jitney does stop, and drop off along the service road at exit 60).

1. The Venue, The Line, and The Pre-Show.

First we were supposed to meet up with friends of ours from Bay Ridge, but after they attended a free show given by the B-52's, they said the crowds were too much, and the venue was not good. As it turns out the B-52's show was at a different venue (Wingate), and frankly I was very impressed with the way this out door venue is set up , and organized. The location is Asher Levy Park located at the eastern edge of Coney Island, actually the nicest part of Coney Island. The venue is set up with chairs in the center sections, and "lawn" areas along the sides, and in the back. In the lawn areas people brought beach chairs, blankets and picnics. The vibe reminded of the Garden State Arts Center of long ago when you could bring your own chairs, and picnic on the lawn, try this today at the PNC Bank Arts Center and you probably will be shot on site. (note 2: Not that I know about New Jersey, my living there is a foggy, distant memory).

We opted to wait in line for the chair section set up to the center right of the stage, and we were in line at 3:00 pm, with a few hundred people in front of us. The line was a show onto itself, where do I start ? Remember this is a free concert series, so line was quite the pageant of humanity, from the family in front of us which had 2 members who suffer from Turrets Syndrome (and yes, the bad kind where you start to shout out for no particular reason), to the women with day glow hair, day glow make up, and day glow clothing, you get the general idea ??

This concert series is sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has an ego larger than Atlantic Ocean (note 3: I hate competition), and from the time we were allowed in (5:45), until Donna came out (8:45) the man talked non-stop, oh well it is his kingdom. I take that back, there was an attempt to bring out a comedian (that Marty hired) around 8:00, but saying he bombed is being kind. By the time we were seated the line had grown to the point where you could not see the end, and the lawn sections were full. (note 4: we split up our seating between 2 rows, and yes the family with the 2 Turrets sufferers was right behind me.
Sitting to my left were 2 gentlemen who never saw Donna perform before, and their musical tastes were along the lines of Miles Davis, and Janis Joplin.

2. The Main Event

8:45, and DONNA !! Donna's orchestra kicked into high gear, and then into The Queen is Back. Donna hit the stage and the place went wild. Donna told the crowd that she loved being in Brooklyn, and that she promised Bruce that she would act like a lady. The Queen then took the audience through a tour of the Crayons CD, and many of the hits they came to hear. We did not know just how many people were in attendance, but through the show you would hear this thunderous roar coming from behind us. We would learn later that the head count was placed at 35,000, and set a record for this venue.

The set list was:

The Queen Is Back
I Feel Love
Dim All The Lights
I'm A Fire
Could It Be Magic
Mr Music
On The Radio
Stamp Your Feet
No More Tears
MacArthur Park
She Works Hard For The Money
Bad Girls
Hot Stuff
Last Dance

This was my first time hearing the Crayons songs live, and the audience got into them as well. They all sounded strong and fresh, with all of them becoming concert favorites. Fame kicks butt big time in concert, and having 35,000 New Yorkers (and yes some Jersey people) as back up only enhances it. This show included Smile, as her tribute to Michael Jackson, and the crowd loved every minute of it, with thousands of people shouting Thank You to Donna as she introduced the song.

As for my new found "friends" at the show, the 2 jazz-rock guys next to me were into it and then some. (note 4: I never saw supposedly straight men dance like that) The Turrets people behind me were also into it, and the crowd drowned out any their outbursts. One of them did scream out that he liked Donna a lot more than Pat Benetar (who played there 1 week prior). (note 5: I like Pat Benetar, she is never a victim of my rants about lesser divas).

One of the 2 guys sitting next to me commented that Donna remains a vibrant, dynamic superstar, who can be as current as she wants to, and she respects her back catalog as well. (note 6: how true).

Some of us speculated before the show that perhaps a Brooklyn Dreams reunion would take place, or other special guests might appear. However, the show was just what it should be, a spotlight on Donna, our national treasure, and GREATEST LIVING ENTERTAINER !!

3. The After-Show

With the "meet and greet" list firmly in the hands of Marty Markowitz, were off after the show in search of food.
Needless to say with 35,000 people leaving a venue in the middle of Brooklyn, we were not going anywhere fast. I mentioned that this concert venue is on the edge of Coney Island, in a nice area. Well, I thought that a good place for food would be Nathan's Famous in the heart of Coney Island. Once you walk west, and pass the New York Aquarium, you enter the Coney Island you have probably read about, or see in the news. As it as near 11:00 at this point, the time of night only added to the ramshackle look of Coney Island and the crowd at Nathan's battled with the crowd from the line earlier in the day for most "interesting"


[AUG 17 09]

The Loss of Michael Jackson.

I had to use this column to talk a bit of the death of Michael Jackson, why this has caused such a public out pouring of grief, and the obligatory Donna connection.

Like a lot of people my age (I'm 48), it is not stretch to say that we grew up with the music of Michael Jackson. From 1969 through the early 1970's, I watched the many TV performances of the Jackson 5, and Michael as a solo performer with great dedication. In 1974 I sang Ben solo, as part of our Junior High School's talent show, and I also sang a medley of J-5 hits with a band made up of classmates. To say that I dreamed of being Michael Jackson is no exaggeration, and that lasted up to the release of Dancing Machine.

Music has always been a big part of my life, and in the mid to late 1970's, something new emerged that I focused on, and it's number one star became the object of my "love from a distance", as it continues today. Michael Jackson changed with the times and in 1979 the Jacksons released the album Destiny, and the hit off the album was the infectious Shake Your Body (down to the ground). Late in 1979 Michael Jackson released his landmark album, Off The Wall, and it battled with Bad Girls for playtime on my stereo, be it vinyl, 8-track, or otherwise.

In 1982 my interest in Michael Jackson was piqued when we learned that Donna's forthcoming, Quincy Jones produced album would contain the track State of Independence, and that it featured an "All Star Choir", including Michael Jackson. Yes, the Quincy Jones album may not be my personal favorite, BUT I have come to respect it more today, and it seemed to open doors for Donna in terms of being around different artists,

Needless to say late in 1982, Thriller, the album burst on the scene, and took many of us for a ride in it's wake.

After Thriller, there seemed to be a shift in Michael's work, and I personally found his later releases to be less adult orientated, and as we all know something seemed to happen with Michael the person, as he became more reclusive and more of a mystery.

That said, why the huge public outpouring of grief in his death ??

For one as I mentioned before so many of us grew up with Michael Jackson, and so many others came of age with Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory, and the like. Further Michael's story was not always a happy one, and that in turn made him all the more human to us. When I think of this I am reminded of the lines from Donna's song, The Queen Is Back. "Keep on Saying That I Make You Feel That You Belong" and "Keep On Saying That You Want Me When Your All Alone", speech to the real relationship we develop with our musical icons.

I know that many people felt that they belonged thanks to Michael.

In the hours following his death, I took great pride in hearing Donna being interviewed on CNN first by Larry King, and then later by Don Lemon. Donna Summer spoke about Michael's thirst to be the best and how he raised the bar for all singers. Donna focused on his legacy, and spoke against the many rumors and allegations that he faced. Donna, perhaps better than anyone, knows how rumors and allegations can haunt you, and that no matter what you do, some lost souls will continue to harp on it.

Donna has continued her tribute to her lost friend my dedicating her powerful version of Smile to him at her recent show in Paris, complete with a backdrop of Michael through the years. I hope that she keeps this part of her show the balance of 2009.

I know that I have said this before, and I will keep on saying this for as long as I can, with all the legends that we have lost in the past years, now more than ever if this time to treasure Donna Summer, and support her for all it's worth !

On You Tube a poster to one of Donna's Michael Jackson tributes wrote that he was filled with grief over Michael's death, but would need to be put away if Donna ever left us. I don't think I would be ready for the nice men in white jackets to take me away if Donna ever leaves us, BUT it is not a day that I would ever want to see come.

Michael, Rest in Peace my friend, and Thank You for sharing your gifts with the world !

Donna, we all LOVE YOU, now more than ever !


PS Clips from Donna's recent Paris shows are all over You Tube, it was truly a HOT NIGHT IN PAREE !


[MAY 17 09]

Yes, it's me, I'm back, and ready to cause all sorts of trouble..........................

That said, I am actually going to talk FAVORABLY about a couple of other divas.

First, and sadly, disco legend Viola Wills passed away on May 6th. Viola is best known for her disco cover of "If You Could Read My Mind" and a host of other club songs

I found the notice posted on her official site ( to be beautifully moving, and I wanted to pass it on.

(Do notice the name of one of her children).
"It is with great sadness that Viola's family report Viola passed peacefully away after a long illness, May 6th 8.27am Pacific Time.
Viola leaves behind six children - Vincent, Christopher, Regina, La Donna, David and Rejal, 21 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Viola was just 69 years old. Viola's favourite saying to her family was always "Aim for the sky and always dare to dream"

Viola's service will be held at the Macedonia Abbey Baptist Church
1755 114St
Los Angeles
CA 90059
at 11.30 on May 15 2009
all are welcome. Internment follows at Angeles Abbey Memorial Park
1515 E Compton Blvd
CA 90221.
On Viola's behalf her family wish a special heartfelt thanks to all of Vi's fans over the years, whom, Vi always said, allowed her dreams to come true. (This line brought a tear to my eye)

[Editor's note: Rest in peace Viola - you will be missed.]

On to another Diva compliment.

Someone sent me links to 4 Stephanie Mills you tube clips from a show she did for the comedian, Sinbad.

Stephanie sings, I Feel Good All Over, Feel The Power, Home, and her mega hit, I Never Knew Love Like This Before, will a passion and sincerity that is becoming all to rare these days.

I will be back in a couple of weeks with a another new Kens Korner that will be 100% Donna, but I wanted to let everyone know where I have been.

In the past 2 years I made the transition from Banking to my new career in publishing, and last summer as Donna was staging the awesome Stamp Your Feet Tour, I was where ever the shows were NOT playing. I was home here in The Hamptons when Donna was playing Boston, and in Boston when Donna played Jones Beach, and the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. This is pretty much how last summer went, but that was last summer.

Happily settled in a routine of working from home, I will be at the show in Brooklyn come heck, high water, or the usual follies of the Long Island Railroad, oh wait a minute, I live on the east end of Long Island, we eschew the LIRR, and ONLY ride The Hampton Jitney. Perhaps the Jitney can run a special charter to the show, after all we east enders, don't do subways either LOL.

As for the show at Coney Island, now gee, where is Donna's husband from ?? What IS the name of her middle daughter ?? Where is her friend, and collaborator Paul Jabara from (and sadly laid to rest) ?? What was the name of Bruce's most famous band ?? This should be some show !

As for Crayons, did I like the CD, oh yes, and you will read all about it in more detail shortly.

One last detail for now, on You Tube, clips of Something's Missing In My Life, and Let It Be, have been relisted, BUT have very low view and comment counts. This needs to be corrected NOW, and if you don't ? Besides a 2:00 am visit from the middle aged, dancing drag queens of the Donna Summer van, your photos will be sent to Madonna letting her know you are available for adoption.



[MAY 17 08]

We ARE Family, A Family of Crayons, That Is...................

WOW, all the buzz about Crayons, can you stand it! I told everyone late last year, rest up and get ready, and will this a hot summer or what !!!

Needless to say, I am in love with Crayons ! Frankly parts of it remind me of Mistaken Identity (which I also love), but Crayons has managed to bridge the "summer sound", with very contemporary sounds, AND unlike Mistaken Identity, we now have a record company 100% behind this product, and her A & R firm, Pure Tone, as well.

I have heard, MOST, but NOT all of Crayons to date, Why you ask ?? Simple, I want some discovery when I go to my local indie record store, Long Island Sound, in East Hampton (yes they found a new spot, after being evicted from their long time location in favor of another Ralph Lauren store).

I'll be back with my reviews of Crayons tracks after that.

MOST IMPORTANT IS BUY A COPY (or a dozen) FROM YOUR LOCAL CD OUTLETS, chain stores, or indies, JUST BUY IT !!!

...............and if you don't ?????

I have been training the middle aged Drag Queens from the Donna Summer Van in the martial arts, and they are prepared to demonstrate their new found skills. So be careful if your seen walking out of a CD store (and yes strange but true, you can still buy CDs IN PERSON). Needless to say if anyone is seen buying a CD about candy, and NOT Crayons, the DQ's have orders that I would rather not discuss. We'll work on the Amazon orders later !!


PS From what I have heard, Crayons contains one of Donna's finest ballads, Be Myself Again, I am using every ounce of self control not to take a listen before I own a copy of Crayons.

[Editor's note: You can only have your candy after you've played with your crayons.  ;-) ]


[MAR 16 08]

I just had to comment on the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held this past Monday in New York City. The female solo artist who WAS inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame, CHOOSE NOT TO PERFORM at the event. Gee, I wonder why, I guess they could not fit all the equipment NEEDED for this person to actually sound good on the small stage at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. However it was still wrong, and showed no respect to her fans (needless to say I am NOT one of her fans). I can say with 100% confidence that when Donna FINALLY gets her props and is inducted she will have the class to perform.


[Editor's Note: Fans of that female performer can find Ken all over the tri-state area with his van of scary drag queens. He's been whipping them into shape for the upcoming concert season.  ;-) ]


[FEB 21 08]

"Club Testing, I'm A Fire"

YES, not only is Donna's new CD, Crayons, happening, we already have an advance song release.

Shipping I'm A Fire to Clubs and DJ's was a smart move, and will create buzz for Crayons, for I'm A Fire has a buzz already.

With that in mind I decided to Club Test the song for myself. Just what Club did I go to, you ask ?? Lets back up for a minute, as someone who was in the Clubs back when Last Dance was a NEW song, my days of Clubbing in that sense are few and far between. These days my ideal Saturday night is a roaring fireplace, a good, DVD, good food, the Pug Dogs, and of course my Partner. I Chair a Foundation here on the east end of Long Island, known as EEGO* (East End Gay Organization), and when we hold a fundraising T-Dance it gives us a chance to dance, as by it's nature a T-Dance is held in the afternoon, when we are all awake enough to dance.

So you ask what Club did I test I'm A Fire In ??? If you have not guessed it, the Sports Club that we belong to, Sportime In The Hamptons, is where I tested it. Before anyone says, anything, no I am not a Gym Rat, far from it. Frankly I dislike working out with an outright passion, but it does produce health benefits, so off I go. After my 30 minutes in the weight room, and yes, I actually lift the weights not just ogle at the eye candy, it's time for 30 minutes of cardio. The only way that I can run for that amount of time is to play my favorite music, LOUD, on my I-Pod. So this past Wednesday, I ran to all the remixes of I'm A Fire.

I'm A Fire is HOT, and most importantly, it is not an attempt to recreate the classic Summer Sound. This track is fresh, and up to date, which is just what Donna needs to get her new songs in front of a younger audience. I love the use of tempo breaks in the song, and the Spanish thrown in gives it a salsa feel that can really let this song cross chart boundaries. That said, I'm A Fire is also not so removed from Donna's signature sound. I can see I'm A Fire being worked into concerts right along with Bad Girls and Hot Stuff.

Besides if I'm A Fire can motivate a now middle aged guy into running, I know it can motivate a room full of dance-club goers.

2008 should be a Hot Summer indeed.


PS The EEGO Foundation is 31 years old, it was NOT named after me. 


[FEB 9 08] 

"An Inspirational Tour of a Cemetery"

Provided that Cathy was able to include a recent picture of me, you may ask, why I am hanging out in graveyards ?? True I often do strange things, but stalking tombstones is usually, yes, usually, not one of them. [Editor's note: the photo is below.]

Phillip and I recently spent a weekend with some good friends who live in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (in a house I might add, and NOT in a graveyard), and we spent Saturday afternoon touring some of the old sections of Brooklyn. As some of you know, Brooklyn has been undergoing a transformation, and it is great to see so many areas prospering like they in some cases, never had.

On our tour was a stop at the famous Green-Wood Cemetery. Green-Wood is famous as it is the final resting place for hundreds of well known figures throughout history, and more recently the gothic style entry way towers have become home to a colony of green Parrots that attract bird watchers from all over. The parrots are native to South America, and when a group of them were being shipped, their container at Kennedy Airport broke open and the Parrots found and made a home at Green-Wood. These birds are SUPPOSED to only survive in a tropical climate, but they have managed to thrive and have been there for almost 4 years now.

In the field of music, Green-Wood is "home" to such names as Irving Berlin, BUT if you are as rabid a Donna fan as you say you are, then you know who is also "home" at Green-Wood. Green-Wood is very welcoming to all it's visitors, and they have a computer kiosk set up so you can look up any name, and it even prints a map so you can locate a grave. Needless to say the person who I was looking for is Paul Jabara. Green-Wood also has a map which lists it's notable "residents" by category, and under music, they list Paul as a "Disco Songwriter". Needless to say Paul was much more than this, but they have him listed none the less. Despite the map it was still quite a search to find Paul's grave, but we did it as you can see from the picture. Now that I know where Paul is, I made a promise that on our next trip I will bring something to clean the headstone with (the birds have left their mark) and some flowers. Considering all the joy that this man's songs have brought to all of us and millions word wide, it's the least we can do. I have been told that his headstone is usually adorned with flowers and notes, but in January, it looked pretty forgotten.

That said, I have often mentioned how important it is that we support our Donna, and appreciate her, as we have lost so many people in the music field in the past years. As we look forward to a new CD and full tour this year I wanted to take a step back and do a recap of some of the musical legends that we have lost, in particular those with a Donna connection.

Neil Bogart, the visionary who saw in Donna the Superstar that she is. From Donna's book she talks about that fact that when She Works hard For The Money became the smash that it is, "I had a huge hit record, and neither record company (Geffen or Polygram) were happy, it made me miss Neil" I often have said that had Neil not been lost to cancer, and even if he and Donna had not yet reconciled in 1983, he still would have been very proud of that hit, and in one way or the other would have supported it. Just imagine, if Neil was alive when Disco finally stated to gain the respect that it deserved in the 1990's.

Karen Carpenter, like Donna, Karen has that one of a kind voice, you now it's her as soon as the song starts, also like Donna, Karen fought to gain control of her career, and she recorded a solo album in 1979, produced by the great Phil Ramone. However like Donna's I am A Rainbow, Karen's solo album sat in shelf for many years before it was finally released. This album contains, Paul's song, Something's Missing In My Life, and is on You Tube. Paul and Donna recorded this song as a duet, and it is a favorite of many fans. This writer and our webmistress included.

Dusty Springfield, had a career that spanned decades, and while she was called by some to be underrated and under appreciated, Dusty like Donna has a legion of hardcore fans that will ensure that Dusty is never forgotten. Dusty also recorded a cover of Donna's, Sometimes Like Butterflies, another fan favorite and one of Donna's best ballads.

Salena, the queen of Tejano Music was also a rabid Donna fan from her earliest days. Selena conducted herself with the same appreciation, humor and humility that Donna has always shown, and had Selena not been taken from us, the sky was the limit. Selena also honored her idol with covers of On The Radio and Last Dance.

Vicki Sue Robinson, best known for Turn The Beat Around, was lost to cancer, but not before she recorded some new songs including, House of Joy. When interviewed for VH1, she referred to Donna and Sylvester as the Queen and King of "our" music.

Sylvester, like Donna, not only could create awesome dance songs, but showed an appreciation for all styles of music. He recorded a landmark live album, Living Proof, in 1979 and continued to record new music well into the 80's before we lost him to AIDS. As Donna said in an 2001 interview, he made it possible for many other people to record Disco. It is also worth noting that when a number of singers started to come out of the closet in the 1990's, some acted like they were the first. Sylvester was "out" in the 1970's.

Laura Branigan, a true vocalist, like our Donna. Laura was often compared to Donna, and following the old saying, "if you can't beat them, join them", Laura recorded a cover of Dim All The Lights. Laura had only returned to the stage when her life was taken far to soon.

Izadora Rhodes, one half of Two Tons of Fun, and The Weather Girls, recorded Paul's landmark song It's Raining Men, after Donna and almost every other female singer turned it down. However Donna agreed with Paul that he found the right artists for this song, and hence the way the liner notes read.

Ike Turner, was recently lost, and it's fair to say that his years of hard living caught up with him. What's the Donna connection you say ? If you do not know, rent a copy of What's Love Got To Do With It, and report back.

Luther Vandross, a legend and them some as both a singer, and producer. Luther got his first break with the Disco group, Bionic Boogie, and their smash, Hot Butterfly. Luther was also a background vocalist on No More Tears, and Donna honored him by covering, Power of Love, on his tribute album.

and of course,

Paul Jabara, one of Donna's biggest fans in his own right. Paul gave us Last Dance, and more, but just think of what he could have continued to give us. Hopefully the musical of his life, Last Dance will be completed in the not too distant future. it was initially set to open in the Summer of '07, but is not yet complete. Paul's website, will be updated as the show progresses.

There are others that we lost, but I think my list covers many of the key persons. My point being that most of these people were taken, far too soon, and they left behind their own legions of rabid fans who will no longer be able to enjoy seeing them in concert, or listening to new recordings. Yes, their music will always be there, but you can't reach out and touch those who are no longer there. Donna once said in People magazine that it is hard to look at her old scrapbooks because it shows the faces of people who with with her everyday, and now there not here.


On to 2008, as I have said before, get ready!, and it is up to all of us to promote Donna's new CD, and upcoming tour !!

And what if you don't, well, remember the Donna Summer Van ? That I keep parked in the Pine Barrens of Long Island ??. It is being tuned up for this year, and the middle aged, and then some, Drag Queens have been sent to the Gym to tone up for this year. For those who don't cooperate they will be paying you a visit, and to Quay, trust me, we will make it happen!

To Tom Gilliam, my thoughts are with you and your family on the loss of your Mother. Having just lost my Mom back in October, I know what you are going through. A friend of mine sent me a card that paid respect and said, that when you lose your Mom you lose your rock, and that leads to another Mom that was lost, Mary Gaines, Donna's Mom, and as Donna so well put it during her Intimate Portrait show on WE, I miss her everyday, you can
never replace your Mother.

Finally those wonderful people who continue to amaze me with their You Tube clips, have added a super clean copy of Donna with the Brooklyn Dreams, performing Heaven Knows LIVE on the Midnight Special. Joe "Bean" Esposito's vocals on this one will make you melt. Great clips of Donna on the Tonight Show from 1978 have also just been added.

Speaking of You Tube, there are some clips of Donna last year from a concert in Southern California. One long clip features the crowd going wild during the Try Me/I Feel Love/Love To Love You Medley as well as Cold Love, another being Natural Women, with some really funny stage banter, including Donna saying how she put Bruce on a "diet" to convince him to sing one of his songs live, and finally a clip of I Love You, and Could It Be Magic, the magic here being Donna's reaction to the crowd between the two songs, if dare anyone to watch this and not get a tear or two.


[Editor's note: visit Ken on CDNow/Amazon to read his album reviews and Listmanias.] 

[Editor's note: visit Ken on CDNow/Amazon to read his album reviews and Listmanias.] 

©  2008 Ken Allan
Copyright 1997-2021