The Donna Summer Tribute Site

 

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Donna Summer

Last update: December 9, 2017

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


[DEC 9] Happy Saturday all! Let's start off with a remix this week. John Morales has remixed Heaven Knows and put it on the M&M Mixes Vol 4; The Ultimate Collection. I think I have mentioned this before, but now there is a pretty decent clip available so you can check it out. Just head to Juno.co.uk for a 2 minute sample of that and the other mixes on the set.

[DEC 9] On to the  musical. TheaterMania has posted its review and unfortunately it's not overly enthusiastic. They love the music and the 3 Donnas, but have issues with the writing and the lack of depth in the other characters (as in the other characters really aren't given much to do.) On the other hand, sdvoice.info loves the show unreservedly.  :-)

[DEC 9] The Clarion Ledger has posted an article about the Dan Fogelberg Tribute album.There is a section where they talk about Donna's part in the album.  Apparently she was one of the first people to agree to record a song, but unfortunately her schedule was such that they had difficulty finding a time for her to come in and record. The end of Donna's part of the article will get you:

“But one day she called me up and said, ‘Norbert, I’m in California. My voice is feeling strong. See if you can book me into a studio.’ I was in bed with the flu, but I arranged for her to record at a studio in Malibu, and I had the engineer email me her vocal.

“She told me, ‘Book the studio for two days in case you don’t like what I do the first day, then I can go back in and do it over.’ ”

At his home studio in Florence, Alabama, Putnam dubbed Summer’s vocal over an orchestral arrangement that Fogelberg had written. “I had goosebumps all over me while listening to it,” he said. “I called her and said, ‘Donna, don’t worry about doing it over. It’s perfect.’

“What we didn’t know at that time was that Donna was battling cancer. She died just two or three months later (May 17, 2012). For her to do that while she was ill was really special.”

So there you have it. Netherlands is officially one of the last things Donna ever recorded.   :-(

[DEC 9] In the Donna is everywhere category, she was the $500,000 question in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire  the other day.  The question was, "Creating an anthem for working women, Donna Summer wrote the song, She Works Hard For The Money, based on an encounter she had with a tired what?" The choices were: A. Teacher, B. Meter Maid, C. Nurse, D. Bathroom attendant. Unfortunately the contestant was not a fan and had to walk away - even as I screamed at the TV "BATHROOM ATTENDANT!!!"  LOL So the lesson to be learned here is that everyone needs to be a Donna Summer fan!  ;-)

[DEC 9] Moving on to Bruce Sudano. He recently did an interview with Italy's Il Terzo Lato Del Vinile. The article on the website is in Italian of course, but Bruce has posted an English translation on his Facebook page. (If you aren't on Facebook - there is always Google translate.  :-) ) Also, he performed on Il caffè di Raiuno recently. You can see his performance of Bat Shit Crazy here at about the 28 minute mark followed by a short interview, but be advised that the site makes you register first.

[DEC 9] Johnnyswim fans: Baeble Music has a Christmas session with Johnnyswim. It's their version of WInter Wonderland/Baby It's Cold Outside. Now granted it was recorded a couple of years ago, but it's still a fun listen.  :-)

[DEC 9] Finally, for those of you still holiday shopping who might be looking for some handcrafted jewelry, Mimi has a shop on Etsy with some really pretty stuff. Go check it out.

[DEC 9] And that brings us to YouTube.  Let's start with the John Morales mix of Heaven Knows - audio only. (See, I warmed you up with the 2 minute clip above and here you get 7 minutes of Heavenly goodness.  :-) ) Let's do something else fun now. Let's look at a couple of Donna's early hits and compare the early performances with her later ones.  We'll start with Love To Love You in 1976 and then live in 2009. Then we have I Feel Love live in 1977,  and then live in 2008. Hot Stuff live in 1979 and again in 2009, and finally Last Dance live in 1977 and again in 2010/11. (It aired in 2011 but if I recall it was taped in 2010.)

[DEC 8] Sorry for the short notice, but I have breaking news for anyone who can see Summer: The Donna Summer Musical THIS weekend (December 9-10). Lodge Torrey Pines is offering a deal to stay and see the show. There are also tickets to a Sunday  brunch  meet and greet with the cast of the show. For details, RUN to the  Lodge Torrey Pines website.

[DEC 2] Happy December all! Can you guess what the new Summer Fever Pick is? (If not, then you must be new here.  LOL)

[DEC 2] Let's start off with Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (playing until December 24 in La Jolla.) We have a few more reviews now. There is a very enthusiastic one from BroadwayWorld.com, another pretty decent reviews from San Diego CityBeat, a positive review from the San Diego Reader, another from Entertainment Today, and one more positive review from the Fallbrook & Bonsall Village News.   :-)

[DEC 2] Moving on to the land of podcasts, Slate's Hit Parade recently did a whole show about Donna. You can hear it here.

[DEC 2] In social media news, RuPaul has been tweeting  and Facebooking about Donna lately. (He's been a fan forever!) He even begged the cast of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical to help him get tickets to the show. (And it worked - the La Jolla Playhouse tweeted back an invitation to the show.   :-)  )  I would love to hear Ru's review of the show someday.

[DEC 2] I think that brings us to YouTube. Oh what the heck, why fight it - everybody else is playing Christmas music so I may as well too. First up a fan video for Christmas Spirit, a lyric video for Christmas Is Here, a stampyuyfeet video for Donna's Christmas Medley and one for I'll Be Home For Christmas, a Patrice video for White Christmas, and a lyric video for Rosie Christmas.

[NOV 26] Greetings all!  Let's start with Nether Lands today. VintageRock.com has posted their review of the Dan Fogelberg Tribute album. The review is generally positive for the compilation as a whole, and they really love Donna's track, calling it "ethereal and gorgeous."  :-)

[NOV 26] On to the musical. A couple of reviews have popped up. The LA Times was not enthusiastic unfortunately.  The San Diego Times is more positive while still pointing out that some things need work. And the San Diego Union-Tribune expresses a similar opinion. Now keep in mind 2 things. First of all, the show will probably be a bit different by the time it hits Broadway. And secondly, reviews don't necessarily mean that much. Lots of musicals click with fans but not with the press - Wicked comes immediately to mind. The critics weren't fond of it (at least at first) and yet over a decade later it's still running on Broadway. So don't let a less than enthusiastic review keep you from seeing the show for yourself - especially now that the show has been extended to December 24. (And actually, the fact that the run has been extended twice says a lot more about the show than any review. You don't extend the run of a flop!  :-) )

[NOV 26] On to the Donna's music is everywhere category... some of you have already noticed that Walmart is using Hot Stuff in their holiday TV ads. And I Feel  Love is being used in the Netflix series The Punisher - episode 4 called Resupply. Apparently it is used in a car chase scene.

[NOV 26] In remix news look for a new mix of Heaven Knows on the  John Morales M+M Mixes Volume IV. You can hear a little taste of it on SoundCloud - just jump to about 24:10.

[NOV 26] Johnnyswim fans - keep your ears open while you are out holiday shopping.  Their song Christmas Day is playing in the holiday music rotation in some places. (It's playing in my store which is a national drug store chain. I decline to specify which due to various social media policies my employer has. But suffice to say, if my store is playing it then other places are too I sincerely doubt we have a custom playlist.)

[NOV 26] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's start with the first fan video for Nether Lands by our own Suecase Hall. Then we have more by Suecase Hall with several of Donna's Motown covers, a video for From A Distance, one for La Vie En Rose, one for Part Of Your World, one for her country medley with Eddie Rabbitt, and a clipfest he put together in honor of Mary's Once Upon A Time concert.

[NOV 19] Happy Sunday all! Let's start off with the musical.  Summer: The Donna Summer Musical has officially extended its run until December 24! I take that as a very good sign! Also, one of the guys who went to the show came back with some souvenirs. He bought a keyring (black rectangle with the Summer logo) and a t-shirt (blue with the iconic Live & More photo as seen in the musical's artwork with the Summer logo.)  I have received another fan report of the show, plus a couple have turned up on Facebook. So I think we are due for a fan report page that I will update as I hear from more of you guys. :-) Tonight I am adding Patrick's report and links to the Facebook posts. And please feel free to send me your reports if you are seeing the show.   :-)

[NOV 19] Moving on to media coverage of the musical, Broadway World has PHOTOS from the show. (Real professional photos!) So that will give you an idea of the look of the show. Playbill.com has an article about the extension of the run that includes one or two pictures that Broadway World didn't post. And AmericanTheatre.org has an interview with LaChanze who plays Diva Donna.

[NOV 19] That brings us to Nether Lands. It is officially available for sale along with the other tracks from A Tribute To Dan Fogelberg. If you have not heard the song yet - go listen!  And the buy it! (Or you can buy it first and then listen - I'm easy.  LOL) I can't tell you how many times I have played it since Billboard started streaming it the other night, or how many more times I played it once I was able to stick it in my Google Music. It just grows on me more every time I hear it. :-) I have to share one quote with you from Facebook because I really like the way Rael put it: "...that voice is like a warm welcoming of a missed friend...." That's exactly the way I feel about it.

[NOV 19] When I heard Nether Lands, one of my thoughts was that some clever fan would make a really cool video for this song at some point.  Well that hasn't happened just yet, BUT one of the fan mixers has gotten to work and has already made a "duet" version  with Dan Fogelberg and Donna singing together. It's on YouTube now. The mix is credited to DJ Moch who many of you may remember as Summer2k.

[NOV 19]  I mentioned in a previous update that Donna's official site now has t-shirts in stock with more items on the way. Well, someone got their limited edition t-shirt order recently and it came with a little notecard that says, " We hope you love & enjoy this exclusive product as much as we did creating it. With our very sincere thanks for your support, The Estate Of Donna Summer"  followed by the "Donna" signature you see on the new merchandise. That's a very nice touch!

[NOV 19] In the land of remixes, there is an EP out by Andy Buchan that includes a track called Caught In The Middle that is basically just a mix of Donna's version of If It Hurts Just A Little. You can listen to it on Soundcloud too.

[NOV 19] Before I get to the next thing, scroll up and see how many news entries I posted about DONNA just now. This is like the good old days again! Ok, moving on to Bruce. He has recorded a song called She Said No. Do I even have to tell you what it's about? Just look up the hashtag #MeToo to see where Bruce got his inspiration. (Or just look at recent headlines coming out of Hollywood and the world of politics.  :-(  ) You can listen to the song on Facebook.

[NOV 19] I think that brings us to YouTube. Let's do some random clips this week. Let's start off with Be Myself Again live.  Then we have Donna's live cover of Superstar, Smile live, Donna with Joss Stone on Try A Little Tenderness, Donna with Seal with Unbreak My Heart, Crazy and On The Radio, and finally stampyurfeet's fan video for Take Heart.  I will be back next weekend - I hope  my American friends have a very happy Thanksgiving! (Seriously? How did it get to be so late in the year so soon?)

[NOV 15] BREAKING NEWS! Billboard is now streaming the full Dan Fogelberg album including Nether Lands. They use Dan's instrumental track but unlike in Dan's version - Donna's vocals don't get buried at all. :-)  Fair warning - when you hear the song, some of you will cry.  I will be back this weekend with more on the play.  And now I'm off to stream Nether Lands a few million more times!

[NOV 12] OK - I came back on time.  LOL Happy Sunday all. Let's start off with the musical. BroadwayWorld.com has a forum with a little discussion of the show. You will want to jump down to post #11 for lots of details including exactly how the songs are used. There is also a regular article about the show on LGBT Weekly. I also wanted to mention that according to Donna's official Facebook, they are "woodshedding" the musical right now - that is, they are improving it as they go. For those of you who know how musical theater works - skip ahead to the next part of the update. For those of you who don't know so much about it, let me explain the process a bit. When a musical is written, the creators hone it as much as they can before it ever gets to an audience. But then before they bring it to Broadway, they open it out of town in a place like La Jolla in order to see how an audience responds. Depending on how the play works in front of the audience - changes may be made. Maybe the book gets adjusted, maybe songs changed, but whatever needs working on gets improved. Just as an example, I'm sure many of you have heard of the classic musical Oklahoma. (It was made into a film in the 50s starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae.) Now that was a pretty successful musical, but when it opened out of town, it had a completely different title and it was missing the iconic Oklahoma title song.  You see, when they played it for audiences, they discovered that they needed a rousing song at the end to lighten up the mood after all the dark things that happened in act 2. So what I am getting at is that whatever you see in La Jolla - it could be quite different when it hits Broadway. (Or maybe not if the audience responds well to what is there.)  The other thing I wanted to mention is that no matter how much the production crew plans, they can't predict an exact date for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical to hit New York.  No matter how ready the show is for Broadway, they still have to wait for a theater to become available - meaning that something has to close first - and they will be in competition with other shows hoping to open on Broadway.  So we are all going to have to hang in there and try not to be TOO impatient. (What? Whoever heard of Donna fans being impatient?  LOL And yes, that advice is for me too!)  Also (true confession time here), I haven't really listened to anybody but Mary sing Donna's songs since 2012. So when the show does come to town, I am going to have some really mixed feelings about seeing it. I mean, I'll go - try and stop me!  But there is a part of me that is nervous about someone else singing Donna's stuff.

[NOV 12] Enough musical talk for a second.  Let's take a look at Donna's website.  :-) The look of the main page has been updated and then if you click on the shopping link you see several new items listed. Now, the t-shirts are all available for sale now, but the caps and hoodie are not in stock yet. You can see what they look like though.  :-)

[NOV 12] Bruce Sudano fans - he has posted a svide on Facebook called Damned Lonely On The Road.  He's also posted a photo of himself wearing a t-shirt that says "She said no." His comment said "New song... New t-shirt... Men supporting women..."

[NOV 12] I think that brings us to YouTube. Let's do some of the songs being used in the musical.  :-)  I'll skip some of the bigger hits for now and go with the deeper cuts.  First up is Faster And Faster To Nowhere live in Japan. Then there is Friends Unknown from the Walk Of Fame, an I Believe In Jesus fan animation, My Life live (audio only), On My Honor (audio only - sigh, I would have loved to hear her sing it live), To Turn The Stone (lyric video), White Boys (Donna's German version combined with footage from the movie of Hair), and The Queen Is Back (promo video).

[NOV 9] This is just a quick update with the first fan review of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. I will probably not be able to do the regular update until Monday or Tuesday.  So here we go from Christopher Blackwell from Phoenix:

Came back today from seeing the premiere of The Donna Summer musical. The La Jolla Theater was a cute classy theater. I stood in the lobby with my spouse and I saw a few of Donna's family members. I shook Bruce's hand & told him that I'm glad that this musical is finally happening & thanked him. I forgot to introduce myself. We just were facing each other & I decided to shake his hand. It was a great moment for me.

The musical started with the stories intertwined with one another. The play touched base on how Donna started singing in the church. She came from a strict and caring religious background. It discussed vaguely about Donna witnessing a crime with someone she knew. Being abused by a boyfriend. There was a vague story regarding an inappropriate relationship with a church member. Most of the stories were easy to follow. Some of the stories were a bit hard to fully understand. That would be my slight critique of some of it; If I had to pick one.

Other than that I thought the play was entertaining throughout. The music felt like it was written for the musical. I liked the fact that both hits and obscure songs from Donna's catalogue were used. I loved the fact that at least one of the intended original songs from the play " My life" was used. Using that song in the play I felt tied the whole thing together with the original play concept & the "live and more encore" from which mentioned. I felt that the cast did a great job bringing the roles to the stage. The acting wasn't so much as an imitation of the people they were playing but more of the feeling that these people invoked throughout the character lives. I felt the real emotion of the story in spite of knowing it wasn't the real Donna Summer on stage.

The play got towards the later years in her life and her untimely death and her reflection on her artistic and personal legacy. It showed a strong and powerful woman taking charge of whatever circumstances came her way. The play showed how Donna was one of the first female singers to fight the music industry. Towards the end of the play was when things got to my heart and I couldn't keep a dry eye. The play ended we went back to our motel. Unexpectedly the play is still sticking with me. Meaning that I still keep thinking about it. I even cried few times the day after the play. So I guess you can say that I took something from the play. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to go to the world premiere of it.

 

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[DEC 9]

"I grew up in Boston in a very interesting situation. My dad listened to Sinatra, Nat Cole, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and a lot of jazz. My older brother listened to Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach and that genre. I came up with rock 'n' roll and country music. All this stuff was going on in my household. The way my mother would get me to go to sleep was she would put me in the crib in front of the classical station. That would make me completely peaceful. She knew there was some connection between me and music. Sometimes I think my sense of melody and ability to sing was affected by all that."

- Donna Summer, Sacramento Observer, October 30, 2003

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