Her Story: Donna Summer

In celebration of Black History month, we are honoring Donna Summer (1948-2012), the Queen of Disco. This is Her Story, She Made History.

Summer was not only a talented vocalist but also a prolific songwriter, magnetic performer, and shrewd businesswoman.  Her tittle was not hype, it was well earned!

Summer was born LaDonna Andre Gaines on December 31, 1948, in Boston. She was a born singer. “From the time she was little, that’s all she really did,” her mother recalled. “She literally lived to sing. She used to go to the house singing, singing. She sang for breakfast, and for lunch, and for supper.” As a child, Summer sang in the church choir with her sisters. One Sunday when she was 10 years old, Summer was invited to sing for the congregation because the scheduled performer did not show up. The music that came out of her that day blew the congregation away. Summer knew at the moment that she would be famous one day.

She made her first solo recording in 1971. Summer had her first billboard success in the United States with “Love to Love You Baby“ in 1975. She went on to record 11 gold albums, four #1 singles on the Billboard top 100 chart, 3 platinum singles, and 12 gold singles! She won five Grammy awards and six American music awards in her lifetime. Donna Summer had three consecutive #1 platinum double albums, she’s the only solo artist ever to accomplish this. 

Donna Summer’s musical legacy changed dance music forever, The Queen of Disco will live on as long as there people on the dance floor.

 “What I aspire to in my life, truly, is to be loving,” she said. “And I don’t always achieve that, but that’s my aspiration.”

-Donna Summer

Sources and Further Reading:

About The Author


Mother, Photographer, Wisecracker.... not necessarily in that order.


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