Long Live Donna Summer – She Never Really Got Her Due!
I know that I write constantly about the passing of the celebrities that mean so much to me, but this one really cut down to the bone.
I’m going to miss you Donna Summer, I was the buddy that you never knew you had.
You are the only expressionist who captured and understood the sadness and loneliness that I carried in my soul, ever since I was a happy/sad teenager growing up in South side Queens, so many years ago.
At first, you didn’t strike me this way as an artist because, when you first came out with the then controversial “Love To Love You Baby,” it was a totally different vibe in the way I received you because I was just entering adolescence at 13 years old. I was a horny hormone driven male whose every move in my life was decided by the “other” head that I had that I realized was magically utilized for so much more, than the regular trips to the bathroom at home or the trees in the park, if I was out playing.
As I’ve mentioned in my many other blogs and will repeat it again, our dearest performers are like the intricate stitching that holds together the fabric of our most precious outfits, except that the presence in my life of Donna Summer IS the thread that has been interwoven in EVERY part of my life, every since I was that 13 year old kid.
In this life relationships evolve, and like a casual friendship that was formed almost by chance and evolved into a lifelong union where two people have committed their unconditional love to one another, my love for Donna Summer quickly evolved from the carnal admirations of a boy whose sexual desires were out of control, to a strong emotional attachment of a kindred spirit. After a time, I never looked at her in the same lustful manner, but as one who understood my under the radar yearnings and pain in a way that no other could capture.
But then again, isn’t this the way that real friendships should go? I mean, while sailing on the sea of life, there will be changes in the winds and there must be adjustments made. A true friend will make the necessary adjustments in their sails of understanding, in order to reach that destination with you in a non judgmental manner no matter what it takes.
Call it coincidence or call it wishful thinking but the musical offerings of Donna Summer seemed to be on a parallel with my personal life in so many mysterious ways and this is one of the main reasons why I feel so close to her and her passing means so much to me.
From the “Love To Love You Baby” that fueled my masturbatory endeavors in a way that no hidden under the mattress adult magazine ever could, to the feelings of romantic attachments that I THOUGHT I felt in the summer of 1978 at 15 years old, when I would hear “Last Dance” and yearned to have a girlfriend of my own and not the sexual escapades that seemed to drop into my lap a whole lot easier than most boys my age.
That song made me understand the difference from within my soul of romance as opposed to raw lust. I would imagine her singing to me as I wanted in those days so bad for it to be understood that, I wasn’t one of those young guys who wanted to merely feel up on a girl and kiss her, but had deep within me a need for a lifelong commitment. Tell me that I was crazy but I have always been a romantic type of kid from as far back as I can remember and Donna summer was that grown woman who was the target of my affections!
I’m just telling it like it is and maybe many of you will say that this is not my typical blog article and that it is more suited to an entry into my private diary. But what many of you don’t realize is that my blog IS my private diary.
…….I just make it public.
But how can I forget “Heaven Knows,” as one of distant gay classmates named Jose Nunez would break out with a small boom box at lunchtime, blasting this song while we attended the High School of Art & Design, enthusiastically grabbing the hand of one sexy woman after another to turn the cafeteria into a dance floor to the amusement of all who were in attendance, while he lip synched the male vocals of that song so much to the point that 33 years later I swear up and down that it’s him singing with Donna!
Oh what sweet memories of my life and Donna I must say that you were ALWAYS there!
Don’t even let me mention her smash hit “Bad Girls.”
This one caught me dead between the eyes as once again, my trusted group of mutual testosterone buddies can attest, this song was the designated musical score and official audio backdrop to many a late night in Manhattan, cruising up and down the gritty sordid streets of the West Side, absorbing that underbelly of New York City nightlife, as well as the beautiful “Ladies of the Evening” that very few were privy to experiencing, at that crucial point of their lives.
I remember every Friday night while piled up at a dear friend’s basement with a handful of other friends, how we would decide to go downtown in Manhattan and walk around and eventually find ourselves over there where the “hookers” were, never to purchase the goods but to just do the things that horny little bad boys would do!
The laughing, joking, pointing and looking, all the while getting worked up in a manner that I’m quite sure, had us all waiting to go home to attack that one well-utilized jar of Vaseline, made for some golden memories and if I must say – some good clean fun.
It seemed as though every car at the time that would find itself next to us at the red light blared out loud the hypnotic voice of Donna Summer – everyone’s private soundtrack to the video of everyone’s life on those nights.
It didn’t matter if you were a group of well muscled boys of Italian descent, whose Chevy Camaro was destined to go back home to Bay Ridge Brooklyn, or a handful of Afro sporting “Brothers” who drove their fathers’ Buick Electra 225 and called Queens their home, no matter who you were, you loved Donna Summer!
No matter WHAT you did, you loved her music!
From the foreign dude with the hot dog cart on the corner of 42nd street and 8th avenue, to the Pakastani guy who sold newspapers and magazines until his shift was over at daybreak down the block on 7th avenue. Everyone seemed to always have Donna Summer playing on their radios in some type of unspoken agreement.
She was the soundtrack of my life!
No one else could have transformed themselves from a talented sultry sex symbol to many who represented an entire era in music called Disco, yet remained the same while she endeared herself to every blue collar working Jane who toiled unappreciated and tough for every hard earned dollar, in the anthem of every working girl “She Works hard for The Money!”
Just ten years earlier those same woman were at the dance club looking for some “Hot Stuff” but were now rocking to the music of this same Queen while they worked hard to make ends meet!
Who else has done that?
…….(Crickets)…….I THOUGHT SO! No one else!
But you just couldn’t go anywhere without hearing this Angel of a woman’s voice and I am going to miss her for the rest of my time here on this earth!
Donna Summer is definitely ONE of the last of a dying breed. She didn’t come into the spotlight in some ready-made manufactured template of a star as we see much too much in the music scene today. She was herself and maybe some of these so-called stars could learn a thing or two about being a real artist – one who sings and creates from the soul instead of adhering to some pre-ordained script that has a short shelf life, but guarantees big bucks before the masses move on to the next one, once the gimmick of you as a star wears off.
When Donna sang, you heard the passion, you felt the emotion. She didn’t need any gimmicks or promotional antics to shine her unique brand of light to the world, she simply had to merely “be”.
Sure. She was damn sexy! She was so “perfect” in the eyes of many a man that someone had put out the rumor that Donna Summer was really a man! Remember that? And if the truth be told, there was many a female impersonator who studied at the feet of all that Donna Summer was, in order to be enabled to reflect what a real woman looked and acted like. In a twisted way, that is the greatest compliment of them all!
So when we dined in the restaurant that was Donna Summer, we didn’t get a cookie cutter burger that looked like everyone else’s, we got a hand prepared gourmet meal that was uniquely made and full of a life that was evident in every juicy bite!
I mean, while many of her songs and hits came out in the seventies, her reach and star power traveled in an uninterrupted manner right up to the present…….but could you imagine what the seventies would be like if we didn’t have all that she gave to us? Imagine how empty our lives would have been if we never heard “Try Me, I Know We Can Make It?”
I have to say it and say it in bold fashion – Donna summer NEVER in my eyes got her just due. I don’t care what you or anyone says because, this is the way I feel and I am quite sure there are many who feel the same way too.
But you know what? Somehow someway and one day my dear friend Donna Summer will know for sure how much I loved her because from now on, every time I hear her music, whether it be externally “On The Radio” or as I “Work Hard For The Money,” I will shed a special tear for her that came from the overabundance and overflow of love that I have for her in my heart.
And if that is all she gets from all of us who have loved her through the unselfish expressions that have framed the most critical points in our lives, then THAT my friend is the greatest award and REWARD that an artist could ever hope for!
She might not have ever gotten her just due, but she will always be tops with me!
Rest In Peace Donna Summer.
Long Live Donna Summer!
…….the music that she so beautifully shared will always live on in our hearts! (and yes, I am crying profusely as I type these emotionally charged words)