Donna Summer died Wednesday at the age of 63. From her confessions on ‘Oprah’ to her chart-topping hits, watch the Queen of Disco's seven most memorable moments. Plus, see Summer's best disco-diva fashion from throughout the years.
The film Thank God It’s Friday featured the song “Last Dance” on its 1978 soundtrack. The movie wasn’t a box-office success, but the song was an international sensation. Summer’s hit was so big, in fact, that it earned the then-29-year-old her very first Grammy Award. Watch the “Queen of Disco” shake and sparkle in this soulful rendition of the song.
She Works Hard for the Money
You better treat her right, or else! “She Works Hard for the Money” debuted in 1983 and quickly reached No. 1 on the charts. After a real-life encounter with a fatigued bathroom attendant, Summer co-wrote the song about a woman who works “for little money, just tips to pay.” It became an anthem for working women for decades to come and a not-so-subtle reminder to graciously tip your waitress!
Confessions for Oprah
Summer was truly a triple threat. She could sing, act, and…paint? In an interview with Oprah, she dished on her personal success and her secret life as an artist. Despite her international fame and impressive artistic talents, Summer argued that she was just a “normal, ordinary girl.” If Summer was ordinary, surely it was of the extra variety, right?
‘On the Radio’ and Into Our Hearts
If this song comes on the radio, make sure to turn it up! Starting as a slow emotional ballad, “On the Radio” quickly picks up pace to become a full-blown musical rollercoaster. Hitting the charts in 1979, the disco classic chronicles what happens when an estranged couple’s love letter is read “on the air.” We dare you not to dance!
Bad Girls, Talking ’Bout the Sad Girls
Being bad never sounded so good! The album Bad Girl was released in 1979 and featured several tracks centered on the theme of prostitution. This may sound like depressing subject matter, but Summer effortlessly turned the plight of the ladies working the streets into an upbeat and addictive hit entitled “Bad Girls.” Toot toot, hey, beep beep!
Summer Chats Up Arsenio
From her crowded living situation to her struggles with media scrutiny, Summer held nothing back when she stopped by The Arsenio Hall Show in 1989. The disco diva, who was promoting her album Another Place and Time, shared how personal problems and fights with her record label tested her strength, but never her faith. “God knows what he’s doing,” Summer said. “And I have faith in God.” Disco Donna also shared how Marylin Monroe inspired her unforgettable vocals in “Love to Love You Baby.”
Love to Love You, Donna!
Sex sells. “Love to Love You Baby” was Summer’s first American hit and left more than a few of her fans blushing. The sultry song, released in 1979, was a slow tempo track that featured Summer’s moaning orgasmically in the background. For many, the song was considered too graphic—some radio stations even banned it from the airwaves. Nevertheless, it has become a part of pop-culture history, appearing in everything from Friends to Zoolander.