It’s time for another issue of A To Z of Black Voices In Music. Today is brought to us by the Letter D, and the glitter-fabulous-disco queen, Donna Summer. A favorite of mine as a roller rink loving kid in the 70’s, and later as a club-going late teen who would dance to her music every Sunday at Club 1970. And now, I blast some Donna when I want to work out and/or dance around my house – or when I feel like indulging in disco while driving around Los Angeles.
A To Z of Black Voices In Music
The Letter D
Roller Rinks were all the rage in the 70s and 80s, my elementary and junior high days. I was in love with skating – around my neighborhood, yes, but especially at the Skate Ranch and Holiday Skate. The music was a mix of disco, pop hits, classic rock, and of course the couple skate love songs. Donna Summer was big at the rinks and I loved skating to songs like “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” – the latter especially, singing the “beep-beeps” with my friends as we tried to choreograph our skating to the song.
“Bad Girls” by Donna Summer
from the album, Bad Girls (1979)
“Toot toot, hey,
Also, check out Donna’s sunglasses in the video above. FANTASTIC.
Another song they liked to play at the rink, and that I also liked to blast on my stereo at home, was Donna’s duet with Barbra Streisand, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”. It was fun to skate, and dance to, especially because of the tempo change. It starts out slow and then turns into an all-out danceable anthem. I still LOVE it.
“No More Tears (Enough Is Enough” by Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand
from the album, Wet (1979)
“Just look him in the eye and simply shout –
Enough is enough (enough).
I can’t go on,
I can’t go on no more no.”
My favorite Donna song to dance to, back in 1988-1990, on Sunday nights in Hollywood? Definitely “Last Dance”. My best friend and I made a pact that we had to dance with someone when this song played. I remember a few times when we had decided to leave before closing and heard this song come on as w were heading to the door. We immediately turned back around and found someone to dance with. I met two different boys that way that I ended up going on a date or three with. Neither were great loves or anything, but they were some fun memories.
“Last Dance” by Donna Summer
from the album, Thank God It’s Friday (1978)
last dance for love.
Yes, it’s my last chance,
for romance tonight.”
One of my favorite Donna songs – maybe my most favorite – is one that came out in the 80s. Less disco and more anthem. Big woman power anthem really. A song that still resonates with me today. I feel it a lot actually. Working hard for my money.
“She Works Hard For the Money” by Donna Summer
from the album, She Works Hard For the Money (1983)
“She works hard for the money.
So hard for it honey.
She works hard for the money.
So you better treat her right.”
My daughter has been working on an art series based on women in music. Donna Summer is one of the women in music she’s completed. Isn’t it wonderful?
art by Julia Lynch – check out her work and support if you can
Do you have a favorite Donna Summer song? Do you have any Donna memories or stories that her songs or albums connect you to? I’d love to hear them.
Following is a Playlist of my 20 all-time favorite Donna Summer songs. I hope one of your favorites are among the tracks. Enjoy!
My Favorite Songs
“She Works Hard For the Money”
“On the Radio”
“No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” with Barbra Streisand
“Dim All the Lights”
“Could It Be Magic”
“I Feel Love”
“This Time I Know It’s For Real”
“Heaven Knows” with Brooklyn Dreams
“Cats Without Claws”
“Crayons” with Ziggy Marley
“Working That Midnight Shift”