Friday, May 18, 2012

The Friday Flash

A few last minute thoughts before the weekend ...

Of course the BIG story these past 24 hours has been the passing of Donna Summer, aka "The Queen Of Disco".  While I was never much of a fan of disco, I have to admit that I really DID like Donna Summer ... not so much the early material but more of the stuff she recorded after she branched out and rocked things up a little bit.  (The use of "Hot Stuff" in "The Full Monty" is still one of my favorite movie scenes of all-time!)
While the scope of Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park" was always lost on me ... I just couldn't accept an over-the-top Richard Harris bemoaning the cake he left out in the rain ... I will also publicly admit to liking what Donna Summer did with the song ... and so did a lot of other people ... it went all the way to #1 and then stayed there for three weeks.  (Apparently since the original recipe was lost, never to be found again, Summer whipped up her own musical concoction ... and literally reinvented the song in the process!)  In fact, Summer was on a Top Ten tear between 1976 and 1989 ... it  seemed that no matter which label she was recording for, the hits just kept on coming! 
Check out THIS hit list:
"Love To Love You Baby" (#2, 1976, Oasis); "I Feel Love" (#4, 1977, Casablanca); "Last Dance" (#3, 1978, Casablanca); "MacArthur Park" (#1, 1978, Casablanca); "Heaven Knows" (#4, 1979, Casablanca with Brooklyn Dreams); "Hot Stuff" (#1, 1979, Casablanca); "Bad Girls" (#1, 1979, Casablanca); "Dim All The Lights" (#2, 1979, Casablanca); "No More Tears" (#1, Columbia, with Barbra Streisand); "On The Radio" (#4, 1980, Casablanca); "Love Is In Control" (#10, 1982, Geffen); "She Works Hard For The Money" (#3, 1983, Mercury); and "This Time I Know It's For Real" (#6, 1989, Atlantic).  That's an incredible THIRTEEN Top Ten Hits in 13 years ... including THREE #1 Records!
We lost her on Thursday to cancer.  Summer kept her health condition under pretty tight wraps and was trying to finish an album, which would have been her swan song, before it finally became too much for her.
My personal favorite Donna Summer song wasn't a Top Ten Hit at all.  In 1983, under the helm of David Geffen, Donna released a single called "The Woman In Me", which I believe showcased her pure talent as an R&B Vocalist.  No tricks ... no gimmicks ... no disco beat ... just pure unadulterated Donna.  It didn't do much on the charts, eventually peaking at #28 in Cash Box Magazine ... but it has remained one of my favorite tracks from this era ... so that's the one I've chosen to share with you today ... because this is, after all, Forgotten Hits ... and odds are you aren't going to hear this one ANYWHERE else during radio's remembrance of "The Queen Of Disco".  (kk)

In 1994, Heart did an incredible remake of this song that never even made The Hot 100 ... give a listen to this ... now how can this possibly be?!?!  (kk) 
Click here: Heart: The Woman In Me - YouTube 

DONNA SUMMER -- the Queen of Disco -- died this morning after a battle with cancer, reports TMZ.COM. SUMMER, born LADONNA ADRIAN GAINES on DECEMBER 31st, 1948, was 63 years old. Sources told TMZ, "the singer was trying to keep the extent of her illness under wraps, and was focused on trying to finish up an album she had been working on."  IMDB notes SUMMER maintained "an unbroken string of hits throughout the '70s and '80s, most of which she wrote. She holds the record for most consecutive double-albums to hit #1 on the BILLBOARD charts (3) and first female to have four #1 singles in a 12-month period; three as a solo artist and one as a duo with BARBRA STREISAND."  SUMMER was a "five-time GRAMMY winner," notes IMDB, and was the first artist to win the GRAMMY for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female (1979, "Hot Stuff") as well as the first-ever recipient of the Grammy for Best Dance Recording (1997, "Carry On"). In 2004, she became one of the first inductees, as both an Artist Inductee and a Record Inductee (for 1977's "I Feel Love") into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in NEW YORK CITY."
-- All Access (by way of TMZ and IMDB) 

(CBS/AP) Disco queen Donna Summer has died, a family spokesperson told the Associated Press. She was 63.  Her family released a statement Thursday saying Summer had died and that they "are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy."  TMZ first reported the news, noting Summer had died in Florida on Thursday (May 17) after a long battle with cancer. Insiders told TMZ she was recently working on music for a new album.
Known as the "Queen of Disco," Summer was born in Boston, Mass. in 1948, as one of seven children.
The five-time Grammy winner rose to fame in the 1970s, scoring hits with "Last Dance," "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls." She co-wrote the single "Love to Love You Baby" in 1975, and went on to co-write several other hits, including "She Works Hard For Her Money."
Summer appeared in the 1978 film, "Thank God It's Friday," which took home the best original song Oscar for "Last Dance."
Summer released a number of albums that have reach gold or platinum status, including the multi-platinum "Bad Girls" and "On the Radio, Volume I & II." Her No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits include "Hot Stuff" and "MacArthur Park."
Summer's last album, "Crayons," came out in 2008. She also performed on "American Idol" that year with its top female contestants.
Her sound was a mix of genres and helped her earn Grammy Awards in the dance, rock, R&B and inspirational categories.
Summer married Brooklyn Dreams vocalist Bruce Sudano in 1980. She is survived by her husband, three daughters and four grandchildren.
-- submitted by Ken Voss

Other headlines:

Click here: Donna Summer, 'Queen of Disco,' Dead at 63 |   

Donna Summer's Top 20 Billboard Hot 100 Hits:
Rank - Title - (Year) - Hot 100 Peak Position
1. "Hot Stuff" - 1979 - No. 1 (for 3 weeks)
2. "Bad Girls" - 1979 - No. 1 (5 weeks)
3. "MacArthur Park" - 1979 - No. 1 (3 weeks)
4. "Love to Love You Baby" - 1976 - No. 2
5. "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer) - 1979 - No. 1 (2 weeks)
6. "Dim All the Lights" - 1979 - No. 2
7. "She Works Hard For the Money" - 1983 - No. 3
8. "Last Dance" - 1978 - No. 3
9. "The Wanderer" - 1980 - No. 3
10. "Heaven Knows" (with Brooklyn Dreams) - 1979 - No. 4
11. "On the Radio" - 1980 - No. 5
12. "I Feel Love" - 1977 - No. 6
13. "This Time I Know It's For Real" - 1989 - No. 7
14. "Love Is In Control (Finger On the Trigger)" - 1982 - No. 10
15. "There Goes My Baby" - 1984 - No. 21
16. "The Woman In Me" - 1983 - No. 33
17. "Cold Love" - 1981 - No. 33
18. "Spring Affair/Winter Melody" - 1977 - No. 43
19. "Walk Away" - 1980 - No. 36
20. "I Love You" - 1978 - No. 37 

NOTE:  Donna Summer's top Hot 100 hits ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from each era, certain time frames were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those years. 
Click here: Donna Summer's Enduring Billboard Chart Successes |   

Donna Summer, clearly the Queen of Disco music, died Thursday (May 17) from cancer at her home in Key West, Florida. She was 63.  Born LaDonna Andrea Gaines in 1948 in Boston, Donna dropped out of school to pursue a career in music. Losing out on a role in the New York production, she moved to Germany where she joined the German version of the stage musical “Hair.” She eventually came to the attention of producer / composer Giorgio Moroder. Giorgio used her voice on a demo of the tune “Love To Love You Baby,” intending to replace it later with another singer. That never happened and the recording, on Giorgio’s Oasis Records, soared to #2 in early 1976. The label was distributed by Casablanca Records and, within a year, Donna was singing for the parent label, notching 18 more top 40 records, including the number one hits “MacArthur Park” (1978), “Hot Stuff” (1979), “Bad Girls” (1979) and “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” (a 1979 duet with Barbra Streisand). She married Bruce Sudano of Brooklyn Dreams in 1980 after singing with them on her song “Heaven Knows” (#4 - 1979). Donna won five Grammy awards and was the first artist ever to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the Billboard charts. She was nominated for induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, but not chosen. 
-- Ron Smith    

Man, they just keep on goin'!  No matter what people say about disco, Donna Summer was a beautiful woman who had a great voice.  Her music was hypnotic, danceable, and some of the best produced and performed songs on vinyl.  We Loved to Love Her, and I, for one, always will.  Rest in Peace, MISS Summer, one of the VERY few who deserved to be called "Diva".  Later.  
Ed Pond 
Speaking of recent musical losses, Jeremy Roberts has posted a very interesting interview with Duck Dunn ... the last he ever gave apparently ... with long-time friend George Klein.  (It is being rebroadcast on Sirius XM Radio Friday afternoon.)  Here's the scoop: 
Here's a cool Bobby Darin piece that appeared first on The Official Bobby Darin Website ... and then on Ron Smith's Oldies Music Website ... sent into us by FH Regular (and MAJOR Bobby Darin fan) Frank B ...
Kent ...
I thought you might want to add this to your Bobby Darin secret files.
And Wild Wayne's Clip Of The Week this week also features Bobby Darin ...  
Frank B.
Very cool indeed!  (kk)   

We're closing in on 7000 votes ... here are a couple more comments we received earlier today ...
Great Discussion!  Here are my Top Ten:
1. Love
2. Kingsmen
3. 13th Floor Evelevators
4. Music Machine
5. Richard and the Young Lions
6. Beau Brumells
7. Blues Maggos
8. Paul Revere and the Raiders
9. Trashmen
10. Electric Prunes
-- Tom Waldecker   

Good Morning, Keeper of the Oldies,
Well, I loved a lot of the stuff on the big ballot and, like most folks, it's hard to nail down just 10.
I had to separate my choices in to two categories ... those that initially made that big impression on me when I was a kid ... and the ones that I came to know a little later on after their time had passed.
It still comes down to that group, and that song.
So here are the ones I finally decided upon.
Oh yeah and because of this I bought two Ides of March CD's this morning and a Cryan' Shames disc, too!  It is funny since neither one made my list. That's mostly because I didn't think of the Ides as garage at the time and I think the same would go for Sugar and Spice ... I  think I thought at the time that it was a British band.
My songs I think largely come from watching all our local bands do them.
Lots of them seem to have very signature guitar riffs in them.
Blues Magoos  (We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet)
Bubble Puppy  (Hot Smoke and Sassafras)
I saw them on Bandstand -- no, not live.
Count Five (Psychotic Reaction)
Gants (Roadrunner)
Gentrys (Keep On Dancin')
When I heard it on the radio, it sounded like "Keep On Dancin' in a fry pan."
Knickerbockers (One Track Mind and Lies)
Yeah they sounded British, too, but I knew they weren't.
Music Machine (Talk Talk)
Rivieras (California Sun)
Shadows Of Knight (their version of Gloria is the only one)
Standells (Dirty Water)
Sorry for being so long winded, but you know how we oldie freaks are.

I vote for Davie Allan and The Arrows!
Davie remains a productive and talented artist. He is a guitar wizard who can also write, sing, and arrange Rock music. A gifted and enduring fellow.
Rod S.