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Donna Summer

Last update: March 17,  2019

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

 

 


[MAR 17] Happy St. Patrick's Day all! And to the people of New Zealand... I have no words that are adequate for what you are going through. But please know that good people everywhere stand behind you. And I hope that some day we figure out how to stop these sort of mass-killings from happening.

[MAR 17]  In musical news, Summer The Musical will be performed at  ASU Gammage in Tempe , AZ January 7 - 12, 2020.

[MAR 17] In the Donna is everywhere category, Grand Analog has a song called Donna Summer.

[MAR 17] Johnnyswim fans - don't forget that the duo is on tour and those tickets are going FAST. Check the list of dates and places here.

[MAR 17] Check out Bruce Sudano's lyric video on Facebook for September In Your Eyes from The Burbank Sessions. That should help tide us all over until the new music comes out.  :-)

[MAR 17] That brings us to YouTube. Let's do some really early stuff this week.  Let's start with the audio for Sally Go Round The Roses and So Said The Man. From Haare we have video of The Flesh Failures (jump to about 2:33 to see Donna), and audio of Der Wasserman. From a rare early TV appearance we have Black Power - this particular clip combines the actual footage of Donna with some other stuff to fill out the whole song.  (In the TV show the song mostly played behind the scene that was going on.) And from Godspell we have an audio clip of O segne Gott meni Seel.

[MAR 10] Happy Sunday all! I guess we can start with the musical. Summer will be in Denver, CO at the Buell Stage January 28 to February 9, 2020.  And it will be at the Fox Theater in St Louis, MO January 15-26, 2020.

[MAR 10] Bruce Sudano fans - mark your calendars for November 4. That's when Bruce will be playing at the O Mansion in Washington DC.  Also, Bruce has been spending lots of time in the studio lately, so you know what that means - new music on the way!

[MAR 10] I'm sure many of you remember a few weeks ago that I was talking about an episode of  the REELZ Autopsy series that was about Donna.  The show has found its way to YouTube for those of you who didn't get to see it.  I highly recommend watching some of your favorite Donna clips afterwards to put your mind in a better place. At least if you are watching the show now, you are going in with the knowledge that they will be discussing Donna's death -- that fact was a very unpleasant surprise for those of us who watched it when it first aired. We were all just expecting a regular artist profile along the lines of Behind The Music, etc.

[MAR 10] I think that brings us to YouTube. This week we have  a new mix: the JQ Trance mix of Could It Be Magic. Then we have an audio only concert from 1977 featuring one of the earliest performances of Last Dance, a 1995 concert from Brazil, and finally, my favorite clip of Could It Be Magic with Donna and Barry Manilow. (If that REELZ Autopsy show depressed you, this clip should make you smile!)

[MAR 2] Happy Saturday all! It's a new month so it's time for the new Summer Fever Pick. This month we are going blonde for some Mistaken Identity.  ;-) (Ok, maybe I'll just be blonde in my head...)

[MAR 2] We have new dates for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. It will be playing March 31 to April 5, 2020 at the Schuster Center in Dayton Ohio.  It's also coming to the Playhouse Square in Cleveland, OH October 8 to 27, 2019.

[MAR 2] Mary Gaines Bernard fans - don't forget that she is performing Friday March 8 (THIS FRIDAY!) at the Lyric Theatre in Stuart, FL. And in case you are looking for a little taste of what Mary's show is like, check out this YouTube promo.  :-)  I wish I could be there!! (Quick somebody get me the winning lottery numbers so I can ditch this whole job thing.  LOL)

[MAR 2] Bruce Sudano  fans should also save March 8. On that day he will be a guest on TGIF With Tom & Laura on BBOX radio from 1 to 2 PM Eastern. And yes, you CAN listen online! If you do Facebook, you can  check out the show's page here. (If you like what you hear - be sure to let Tom & Laura know!  :-) )

[MAR 2] If you are looking for fine art prints of Donna (and have deep pockets) 1stdibs.com has a few things available for sale. If you have a more modest budget, Amazon has a Donna Summer adult coloring book.  Of course, if you  have access to Photoshop (or something similar), you can make your own coloring book with the images of your choice.  :-)

[MAR 2] I think that brings us to YouTube.  In honor of the new Summer Fever Pick, let's do some Mistaken Identity clips.  First up is a blonde Donna live in Yokohama. Then we have Donna live in Brazil from 1992. Then in the land of shorter clips, we have Friends Unknown live,  Work That Magic from European TV, a fan video for Fred Astaire, Heaven's Just A Whisper Away from the Apollo,  and a fan video for Let There Be Peace. And finally, I shared this mystery video last week.  It has nothing to do with Mistaken Identity and I'm pretty sure it won't stay on YouTube long, so check it out while you can.  It's a full length thing so leave yourself plenty of time to view it.  ;-)

[MAR 2] And finally  - I am doing my annual MS Walk at Jones Beach again this year on May 18.  If you would like to donate, my link is here.  I still have lots of pens from last year to hand out to my donors, and who knows.... maybe I'll come up with something else to share with you as well.  :-) You  guys have always been awesome about supporting my walks and I really do appreciate it!

[FEB 24] Happy Oscar night all! Some of you may have run into a couple  of  tabloid-ish stories about Donna coming out of the UK press this week.  It's all because REELZ is repeating their Donna Summer episode of "Autopsy: The Last Hours of..." tonight. I will not be tuning in. I hated it when it first ran, and I'm sure rewatching it would just piss me off again.  LOL (Besides it's Oscar night - I think it's a law that people have to watch at least part of the awards.  LOL)

[FEB 24] In honor of Oscar night, EW.com has an article listing the 19 best Oscar musical performances.  And yes - Donna made the list with Last Dance.  :-)

[FEB 24] In musical news, the Washington Post has an article about the recent invasion of jukebox musicals on the Broadway stage.  They discuss a number of the recent, current and upcoming musicals and while noting that Summer has some flaws, they seem to get why people like the show.

[FEB 24] Johnnyswim fans - keep checking their tour list! They are adding new shows including a just announced date in New York City. If you see your city on the list - GRAB YOUR TICKETS IMMEDIATELY!  They will sell out fast!

[FEB 24] Bruce Sudano fans - Bruce is live on the couch again on Facebook. This time he's performing a classic Brooklyn Dreams tune.

[FEB 24] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's go with a movie theme this time. So first up is Donna performing Last Dance on the Oscars, followed by her performance a few years later of Papa Can You Hear Me. Then we have The Power Of One from the Pokemon 2000 movie,  Ordinary Miracle from Let It Be Me,  Whenever There Is Love from Daylight,  Down Deep Inside from The Deep, Highway Runner from Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and Romeo from Flashdance.  And finally a surprise mystery video that will probably not last long on YouTube. This one is not movie related.  :-)

[FEB 17] Happy Sunday all! This week the news is Johnnyswim.  As you know, last week they released the video for their new song Bridges.  This week they've released the official stream for the new song, Flowers.  :-)

[FEB 17] As you know, Johnnyswim is touring this summer with dates starting March 29 and ending (so far) September 8. These dates include appearances at the Moon River Festival in Chattanooga, TN which is now SOLD OUT. This is why I always say that if you want tickets to see Johnnyswim, you better grab them as soon as they are available for sale. Those tickets do not stick around long!  (And if you have never seen Johnnyswim live, then you really have no idea what a treat you are missing!)

[FEB 17] I think that brings us to YouTube.  First up - the alternate version of Can't We Just Sit Down (And Talk It Over). (For those who don't know where that came from - it randomly appeared on a remastered I Remember Yesterday. Since it wasn't promoted as an alternate version, I'm thinking that Universal didn't realize they used a different master.) Let's keep going with some rare tracks. Next up is Sometimes Like Butterflies, the b-side to Love Is In Control,  then Face The Music - the b-side to  Supernatural Love, and Tearin' Down the Walls - the b-side to Dinner With Gershwin. Then there is the lost track Walk Hand In Hand which has only been released on one or two of compilations over the years. Then we have the alternate version of People Talk (with the rap in the middle) and the original demo of True Love Survives.

[FEB 10] Happy Sunday all!  Let's start with the musical. You guys in the Hollywood area will be able to see it November 5 to 24 at the Hollywood Pantages. Right now tickets are available to season subscribers - keep checking their website to see when tickets for individual shows become available.  West Palm Beach, FL  - you will get the musical too, but you have to wait until April 28 to May 3, 2020. (Yes, I said 2020.) That will be at the Kravis Center and tickets are not on sale yet. Season ticket renewals don't start until March then they will sell new season tickets before they sell individual shows. (If I was there, I'd get the season subscription - they have a great lineup!)

[FEB 10] Johnnyswim fans - the music video for Bridges is out now!  :-)  It's a really cool video - but I can't describe it in a way that does it justice. Just go watch it! (And that song is going to be a great addition to their live shows!)

[FEB 10] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Since it's Grammy night, let's show some clips of Donna at the Grammys.  First up, the duet medley with Kenny Rogers. Then we have She Works Hard For The Money performed at the Grammys,  and Donna winning the Grammy for Last Dance. Then in honor of Valentine's Day this week, we have Love To Love You on the Midnight Special, the video for Love Is In Control Love Is The Healer live on The View, and a video for To Paris With Love. (That's 4 decades of love if you weren't paying attention.  ;-) )

[FEB 2] Happy Groundhog's Day all! The groundhog here is predicting an early spring. He better be right because I can easily find a recipe for groundhog stew.  LOL It is also a new month, so it's time for the new Summer Fever Pick.  This month it's time to dance to Another Place And Time.

[FEB 2] As you may know, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Another Place In Time. And while we all sit here feeling old about that, a 30th Anniversary boxset has been announced for  a March 29th release. Amazon UK has the CD boxset which is 3 discs. The first is the album itself and the other 2 are packed with various mixes. The website has the full list. Banquet Records is also showing a 2 disk vinyl set also available March 29.

[FEB 2] We have musical news! Miami - you will get to see Summer: The Donna Summer Musical at the Adrienne Arsht Center on the very fitting dates of May 12 to May 17. For more details, check the venue's website.  I'm not sure if that will be the official touring company or if they just licensed the show themselves, but either way it will be a good time. (And if you need some swag to wear to the show, the official musical site is still selling things.  :-) )

[FEB 2] Calling The Netherlands - Carolina Dijkhuizen has just started a Thank God It's Donna tour. For info and dates, check out this site.

[FEB 2] Bruce Sudano fans - catch him Friday March 8 on BBOX Radio from 1 to 2 PM (ET) on the TGIF with Tom & Laura show.  One of the hosts, Tom Ragu is a long time Donna fan and a comedian, so it ought to be a fun show.  :-)  You can tune in at BBOXradio.com/listen or at  bboxradio.dreamhosters.com/player-live.html. And you can connect with the show on Facebook.

[FEB 2] That brings us to YouTube. Let's celebrate our Summer Fever Pick!  First up is the video for This Time I Know It's For Real, and the video for Love's About To Change My Heart. Then we have a short clip of APAT footage that includes some behind the scenes footage of the photo sessions, a playlist for the CD+G decode of the APAT songs,  an Another Place & Time megamix,  the video for When Love Takes Over You, and the video for I Don't Wanna Get Hurt which does NOT include Donna.

[JAN 27] Happy Sunday all! It's a pretty quiet week, but let's start off with Bruce.  He's got a video up on his Facebook page of a recent performance of Bad Girls.

[JAN 27] Johnnyswim fans - their new album Moonlight is due out on April 19. And don't forget that the new tour starts May 3.  Grab your tickets early if you want to go because Johnnyswim tends to sell out FAST! (You have been warned!  LOL)

[JAN 27] And that brings us to YouTube. Let's so some long form profiles on Donna this week. First up is the 2004 Lifetime Intimate Portrait. Then we have the 1995 A&E Biography. And to go with that, we have a live clip of Worth The Wait. And then there is 1999's VH1 Behind The Music. To go with that one we have  Junior's Sound Factory Mix of My Life and a SoundCloud file of No Ordinary Love Song.

[JAN 20] Happy Sunday all!  I'm going to start with Johnnyswim this week.  Their new album, Moonlight will be released on April 19 at all the usual music vendors. With the album is a new single called Bridges that you can get now - also at all the usual music places.  There are also links on the Johnnyswim website to preorder vinyl, or  bundles including the vinyl, the cd, and other merchandise. But that's not all - there is also a tour! They have dates listed from early May to mid-June so far. And they are working on booking more places. SO if none of the cities listed is close to you, just keep checking back.  Head to Johnnyswim.com for details on all of the above.  And while you are there, sign up for their newsletter if you haven't yet. Doing so will get you access to perks like presale codes for concert tickets.  :-) Also, check out YouTube to hear the new single Bridges.

[JAN 20] Moving on to Donna... let's talk briefly about that REELZ special from last week.  The show was billed as "Donna Summer : Disco Queen". It was actually an episode of their series "Autopsy: The Last Days Of...". They ran a marathon of that series the night they debuted the Donna show and strangely Donna's episode was the only one that didn't make it clear that the show was about the death of a celebrity.  So.... I know there are some of you that still have a heard time dealing with Donna's loss. If I would have known what the show was, I would have given you a heads up so that you would have been prepared. (Hell, I would have liked to have been more prepared myself when I tuned in!) Now if you saw the show and know what it's all about - fell free to skip ahead to the next entry of the update. For those who didn't (or couldn't) see it, let me give you a short recap.

Ok, so first of all you have to know that REELZ is tabloid TV for the most part.  So a show like Autopsy is looking for scandal. Of course, it's a lot harder to make something like lung cancer seem scandalous especially when you compare it to something like drug overdose, homicide, etc. But they get points for trying, I guess.  LOL  So what we have is a forensic pathologist laying out facts and speculations based on available info. Supplementing him was a psychologist, and then some Donna Summer experts - Josiah Howard (author of a Donna biography), Joe "Bean" Esposito (of the Brooklyn Dreams), Robert "Omega Red" Grant (Donna's nephew and the guy behind Donna Summer Day in Boston every year), and Peter Muhldorfer (Donna's ex boyfriend - referred to in her autobiography by a pseudonym.)

Now the set up of the show is that they spend a few minutes in the beginning just giving an overview of Donna's career. (Literally - a few minutes. I think it was 5. )  They combine footage of the pathologist explaining various things (real info about cancer, speculation about Donna's specific situation) with clips from interviews with the Donna experts, and clips of actors re-enacting certain moments in Donna's life - including her deathbed. (Yikes!)  The show is broken into various segments where they discuss some aspect of Donna's life and try to link it to cancer somehow. And then they drop a sort of cliffhanger just before going to commercial. (Literally after a discussion about how Donna was insecure about her appearance as a kid, they ended the segment with the question "Did Donna's quest for success and acceptance lead her on a path to destruction and early death?". Seriously? How can I explain this? The show kind of reminds me of those click bait articles you find on the web. You know the type - "Learn the shocking secret behind blah blah blah"  and when you actually click it, you go through multiple screens to find out that there is nothing particularly shocking.  LOL

Anyway they talk about various things. There is some real info about lung cancer in general - how it spreads, what the usual prognosis is, how cancer patients tend to lose weight, etc. But then they speculate on the specifics regarding Donna.  Was smoking a factor? They note that she was a non smoker most of her life, but also mention that she worked in a lot of smoky clubs back in the days before they banned smoking in public buildings.  They did a lot of talking about Donna's weight and how she gained weight in her later years. But then after doing that, they decide that weight is no factor in lung cancer. (So then why bring it up? Guess they needed to pad the hour.) They talked about Donna's history of depression - not as a contributing factor to the cancer but as a clue as to how Donna might have handled the diagnosis (and as an excuse to reenact the 70s suicide attempt.) They also talk about 9/11 and the possibility that the dust in the air was a contributing factor. (My opinion on that is that it's something you can never definitively prove one way or the other BUT if the discussion ends up shining a light on the cancers that the first responders and recovery workers have experienced and gets them help, then let's keep talking!)

In the end after a lot of drama that really goes nowhere (because really, lung cancer isn't scandalous!) they decide that probably the main factors in Donna's cancer were smoky clubs and genetics, and that she spent the end of her life privately with her family - EXACTLY THE WAY SHE WANTED TO. 

I did not record the show.  It aired twice (so far) and because of the time it came on, I missed the first half of the first airing and I was so mad at the tabloid aspect of the show that I spent the second half yelling at the TV. (My mother actually tuned in to see what I was yelling about!  LOL)  When I watched the second airing, I was taking notes so that kept me more focused. (So I was able to listen instead of yell!  LOL) Honestly - Donna deserves WAY better.  And I find it interesting that REELZ was reportedly deleting negative comments about the show from their Facebook page. (Apparently a number of fans were upset that the REELZ website wasn't upfront about the fact that it was an episode of Autopsy, and posted words to that effect.)

[JAN 20] So let's put REELZ and Donna's final days out of our heads and look at a real profile of or favorite Diva.  About a year ago Slate's Hit Parade podcast did an episode about Donna.  That one is a true overview of Donna's career. It's over an hour long, but it's worth a listen. We also have an article from Pop Dose from 2006, but it's an interesting look at  the Wanderer singles.

[JAN 13] Greetings all! Don't forget that tomorrow we have the REELZ special at 9pm (ET). You can check the REELZ website or your local listings to find out where to find REELZ in your area. (I found that for me, the REELZ site gave the wrong channel number and I was better off just checking with my cable company's website.)

[JAN 13] And that brings us to YouTube.  Since the temperature around here is about to drop like a rock, I think we should counter that with some Hot Stuff - from a UK TV appearance (and yes, it goes into Bad Girls  lol). Then we have the Spring Affair/Summer Fever medley live from Brazil. (As a bonus the clip also has Heaven Knows and Melody Of Love.) And we have Sand On My Feet live in New Hampshire (featuring the sunset from Donna's balcony),  and the full concert from Jones Beach in 2008 (a venue that always brings happy memories of music on the beach on a warm summer (or Summer) night.  :-)  )

[JAN 13] Florida - don't forget that Mary Gaines Bernard is performing her tribute to her big sister at the Duncan Theater in Late Worth, FL on January 16. Be there!  :-)

[JAN 13] Johnnyswim fans - our favorite duo has a new album coming out soon. They have been teasing it on social media all week. Check their instagram feed for the video tease and make sure you click each of the pics to see the song titles. Or you can watch the video on their website and then sign up for their newsletter (if you haven't already.)  And I believe we will see the teasing stop tomorrow in favor of an official announcement.  :-)

[JAN 13] Bruce Sudano fans - catch him next weekend at the 30A Songwriter's Festival in South Walton, Fl.  And check out his new video on Facebook for Common Sense.  When you watch it, pay very close attention to the lyrics. They become more relevant  every single day.

[JAN 13] And I think that brings us to YouTube. First up a full length concert from Brazil 1995.  (You will love how much fun she has in some places in the show!  :-) ) Then we have the video for Fame, and my favorite clip - Donna with Barry Manilow on Could It Be Magic.  ANd for fun, here is Mary featuring Andrew Christian on Heaven Knows from her recent show in Aventura, FL.

[JAN 6] Happy Sunday all!  And happy belated birthday to Brooklyn Sudano! Reminder - we have the REELZ special on Donna coming up on January 14. (So nice to have something to look forward to on TV again.  :-) )

[JAN  6] Let me wrap up the musical coverage (at least until the tour starts or the West End production starts.) Grosses for the final performance week (December 30) were $1,094,723 so it ended with a bang.  :-)  You can see the cast's final bows on Facebook. And if it's still there, check out Storm Lever's takeover of the Broadway World Instagram feed.  (Just look for her name in the stories bar. It was there as I typed this, but Instagram stories do tend to disappear after awhile.)

[JAN 6] I wanted to take this opportunity to put Summer's run into some sort of context. Because it opened so late in it's season, I'm going to look at both the 2017-18 season and the 2018-19 season - and of course, just the musicals.  Over those 2 seasons we have had 17 musicals open so far (by my count.)  Only 8 of those are still open and some of those are VERY recent like Kong Kong,  Cher, and The Prom. Looking at the ones that closed, Summer had a pretty good run with 289 regular performances.  Going from the lowest to highest number of performances we have  both Getting The Band Back Together and Rocktopia with 40 performances each.  Then we have Escape To Margaritaville with 124,  the revival of Carousel with 181, Head Over Heels with 188 (that one just closed today),  Springsteen On Broadway with 229, then Summer with 289,  Spongebob Squarepants with 327, and  Once On This Island (also closing today) with 458.  That leaves the following shows still open: The Band's Visit which opened November 9, 2017, Frozen  which opened  March 22, 2018 (that's Disney's hot property so it may run forever  lol) , Mean Girls which opened April 8, 2018, the revival of My Fair Lady which opened April 14, 2018,  Pretty Woman which opened August 16, 2018, King Kong which opened November 8, 2018, The Prom which opened  November 15, 2018 and Cher which opened December 3, 2018.  And of course there is still plenty of time for more to open for the 2018-19 season. So in a nutshell, I'm pretty happy with Summer's run - especially since they are taking it on the road.  Yeah, I would have preferred it to run forever  lol but I think this was a pretty decent run.  :-)

[JAN 6] Moving on to the Diva herself.  :-)  As you know Donna's birthday was the 31st and that means fans were celebrating - i ncluding those who work in the media.  :-)  So the Daily Beast posted a really nice tribute, Albumism reposted their profile of Donna,  BBC Radio 2's Sounds Of The 80s played a Donna Summer Mastermix, and a journalist named Luis Lapuente came out with a book called Historia De La Música Disco which of course mentions Donna.  There is an article about the book here, but be advised that it is in Spanish.

[JAN 6] Bruce Sudano fans - check out his rendition of Things Are Changing from his Threefer Madness show at City Vineyard.

[JAN 6] I think that brings us to YouTube.  Let's watch some New Year's Eve clips . We have You're So Beautiful from Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve 2004,  Could It Be Magic  and Try Me from the 1977 New Year's Rockin' Eve, Donna on Merv Griffin's 1993 New Year's Eve special,  and Donna and company singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight on the 1976-77 New Year's Rockin' Eve.

[JAN 1]  Happy 2019 all! It's a new month so it's time for the new Summer Fever Pick.  This month we look at All Systems Go.  :-)

 

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[MAR 17]

"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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