Tell us your favorite song by Boston disco legend Donna Summer


The city’s Donna Summer Disco Party will mark its 10th edition on Thursday, June 27.

Donna Summer swings the skirt of her leopard-print dress during her concert at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles in 1979. AP Photo/File

Let’s face it: Donna Summer is criminally under-mentioned in the conversation about Boston’s greatest contributions to the musical firmament. 

People love to talk about local groups like New Kids on the Block, but compared to Summer (née Donna Adrian Gaines), they were just flashes in the proverbial pan. (Sorry, Wahlbergs.) Even Aerosmith, while they may have sold more records  — 150 million to Summer’s 100 million — falls short when it comes to hit songs. Summer had 32 chart singles in her lifetime, with 14 hitting the top 10, and four going all the way to number one. 

But for Donna Summer — raised in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood by Andrew and Mary Gaines, a butcher and a schoolteacher, to eventually become the undisputed 1970s “Queen of Disco” — it was always about much more than just records sold. The woman engineered a vibe that helped define an era, brought people to their feet around the world, and exuded an unflappable positivity — not to mention a romantic flair, and even a raw sensuality that sometimes raised an eyebrow or two.

Then, as the disco era wound down, Summer expanded her sound to include more diverse influences, including rock: You can hear it plainly on her biggest hit of the ’80s, 1983’s “She Works Hard for the Money,” a working woman’s anthem and arguably one of the best songs of that year in any genre. 

Sadly, Donna Summer left us way too soon, dying of lung cancer at her home in Naples, Florida in 2012 at age 63. It’s that early loss that makes the city’s establishment of the Donna Summer Disco Party, a free family event at City Hall Plaza that marks its 10th edition on June 27, even more special. 

August Turner, April Mosely, and TJ Howe strike a pose during last year’s Donna Summer Disco Party at City Hall Plaza. – Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe

The party, started in 2014, has become an annual celebration that draws people from all walks of life, including disco originalists and younger fans of the many artists who’ve drawn inspiration from Summer’s music, from Rihanna and Robyn to Lady Gaga and Sabrina Carpenter. It’s a legacy that continues to resonate, as recently as last year with the release of the HBO documentary “Love to Love You, Donna Summer.

To commemorate the 10th Disco Party, we’re looking to compile the ultimate Donna Summer tribute playlist, and for that we need to know your favorites. Respond the poll below with your pick — along with your Donna Summer memories — and we may include your contributions in a future article.

Source link

Leave a Comment