The Donna Summer Tribute Site

Summer Fever Pick for October 2017

Lady Of The Night (1974)

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"I immediately believed in the recording..." 

- Peter Kirsten, Global Records

When people think of Donna's first album, invariably they think of Love To Love You Baby. And while that was the first one to be released in the United States, it was not Donna's first solo album ever. There was one before that called Lady Of The Night. It was only released in Europe and it was quite different from the albums that would follow.

I'm sure most people reading this are familiar with the song Love To Love You Baby. The high pitched vocals, the sensual vocalizations, the slow disco groove - it was an instant hit that truly changed Donna's image and the direction of her musical career over night. But before 1975 that sexy disco icon didn't exist. The pre-1975 Donna Summer was more of the girl next door type, and the songs she sang were more in the vein of pop/rock/folk acts like Sonny & Cher, The Mamas & The Papas, etc. The vocals are all very straightforward, telling tales of hard luck characters, love gone wrong, working together - in other words, the usual early 70s fare. I know that sounds like a put down, but it's not. I happen to like the album very much (just ask my poor family who have been forced to hear it play endlessly while I've been working on this!  LOL) - but it is typical 70s material. I just don't know how else to say it.

Unfortunately, information about Lady Of The Night is hard to come by. It's not an album Donna got to talk about much, and old promotional material is almost non-existent. Yet the album itself has become easier to find over the years thanks to a couple of fairly recent CD reissues. So this month I invite you to explore an early treasure - Lady Of The Night.

 1974 LP & 1999 CD

1974 LP

1995 CD

1995 CD

 

Other Art:

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Click any image for a larger version.
sumladynight.jpg (14540 bytes) ger-hos.jpg (19286 bytes) ger-lady.jpg (25966 bytes)
fre-hos.jpg (23200 bytes) dutchlotn.jpg (19742 bytes) The picture to the left is the Dutch album cover.

 

A Few Quotes:

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"Giorgio Moroder had offered [The Hostage] to virtually every other record company and couldn't get a deal. It was later I found out that we really were their last chance. However, I immediately believed in the recording, and we made a deal for three singles with additional album options."

- Peter Kirsten (owner of Global Records) Billboard, September 3, 1994

"I signed Donna Summer because I was genuinely optimistic about her prospects and reckoned I could almost smell success for [The Hostage]. You don't always sense these things right away, but this time everything worked out. I had this feeling of excitement and those butterflies in the stomach, like when you meet a beautiful woman for the first time."

- Peter Kirsten (owner of Global Records) Billboard, September 3, 1994

"Donna performed The Hostage on this comedy show Disco Corner, hosted by Sjef van Oekel. While she was singing, Sjef played out a funny sketch and she had to try and keep a straight face. This sketch went down so well that it was repeated several times by special request, and the record started selling and eventually went on to the No. 2 spot on the German national chart."

- Tony Berk (Basart Records) Billboard, September 3, 1994

"The first time I heard The Hostage, I got goose bumps. I really believed in that song, so I started working on the record. My first response was from Radio Veronica. We visited every single radio DJ in Holland and did jingles like, 'Hi, this is Donna Summer...' That first comedy TV showcase actually proved she had acting ability, too."

- Ton van den Bremer (Basart Records) Billboard, September 3, 1994

"I had a hit record with [Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte] in Holland and France. I hadn't even signed a contract. They released it, it was on the market, it was on the charts, and I hadn't even signed a contract. I did it as a demo. Now this is a record you  don't even know. It's called The Hostage."

- Donna Summer, Saturday Night Special, August 1, 1981

"(Laughing) Oh god, was [The Hostage] released here? I'd have to take someone to court over that! It was an awful song... one of my first Giorgio Moroder productions written for the European  market where it was a huge (and controversial) hit despite the fact that it was banned in many places."

- Donna Summer, Dance Music Report April 26, 1990

"With the second single, Lady Of The Night, she broke in Belgium, and we started doing clubs so she could make some money. Every Friday afternoon, I would leave the office to pick her up at the airport in Brussels. I was the chauffeur, roadie, bodyguard and agent all in one. We'd do club performances all weekend, then she'd fly back to Munich and I'd drive home, completely exhausted."

- Ton van den Bremer (Basart Records) Billboard, September 3, 1994

 

The Tracks:

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Click the audio icon to hear any track in streaming MP3 format.

1. Lady Of The Night (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
2. Born To Die (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
3. Friends (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
4. Full Of Emptiness (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte) *vinyl release only
5. Domino (P. Bellotte)
6. The Hostage (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
7. Wounded (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
8. Little Miss Fit (G. Moroder/ P. Bellotte)
9. Let's Work Together Now (P. Bellotte)
10. Sing Along (Sad Song) (P. Bellotte)

 

Videos

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Black Power
(see below)

Lady Of The Night

The Hostage

The Hostage
(funny clip)

 

Other Stuff:

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Lady Of The Night was issued on CD two times. The first time was in 1995 when it featured a hideous orange cover with recent photos of Donna. Then it came out again in 1999 with the original 1974 artwork.  It returned again as an MP3 album with the original cover and digitally remastered shortly after Donna's death.
The Hostage was banned in Germany after a prominent Berlin politician was kidnapped by terrorists.
The Hostage was a number 1 hit in Holland and Belgium, a number 2 hit in France, and a top 10 hit in both Spain and Scandinavia. 
Despite the fact that The Hostage was a big hit in Europe, greatest hits compilations rarely feature that (or any other track from Lady Of The Night.) A notable exception is a 1977 Greatest Hits album that was widely available as an import here in the US. That album included The Hostage, Lady Of The Night and Virgin Mary.
Full Of Emptiness was on the original vinyl release of Lady Of The Night but not on the CD releases. That is probably because it was reused on the Love To Love You Baby album and the rights are most likely tied to that now.

 

Bonus Picks:

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Before Lady Of The Night came out, Donna made a few other recordings in Europe as well. She made a few German cast albums (covered on a previous Summer Fever page) and the following singles and tracks. 

(Click any image below for a larger version.)

1969:

Black Power (P. Thomas)

(originally performed on the TV show 11 Uhr 20 and released on the 1998 CD Moonflowers And Mini-skirts)

bp.jpg (48565 bytes)

1971:

1. Sally Go Round The Roses
2. So Said The Man (Malouney/Parkinson)

(produced by Vincent Malouney and credited to Donna Gaines)

sgrtr.jpg (104036 bytes)

1972:

1. If You're Walking Alone (H.Hammerschmied/D.Gaines)
2. Can't Understand (H.Hammerschmied/D.Gaines)

(credited to Donna Gaines)

ifwa.jpg (56764 bytes)

1974:

1. Denver Dream (P. Bellotte)
2. Something's In The Wind (G.Moroder/P.Bellotte)

(produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte)

denver.jpg (12336 bytes) denver2.jpg (65838 bytes)

1975:

Virgin Mary (G.Moroder/P.Bellotte)

(produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte)

* Ok - I know this came AFTER Lady Of The Night, but this seemed like the best place to include it.

vm.jpg (35897 bytes)

 

Purchase Info:

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You can purchase Lady Of The Night (with the black cover) at Amazon.com, Amazon UK and other on and offline vendors. The orange cover version is mercifully out of print. The MP3 version is available at Amazon.com and iTunes.

 

     

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