People Talk

 

 

 
 
"Donna Summer can sing any song - and make it her own..."
 
  • Donna is highly regarded by the industry and the music connoisseurs as a finer singer than she is often given credit for. (Ralph Tee, WHO'S WHO IN SOUL MUSIC, 1991)
  • She could really sing and I disliked the veiled racism of the anti-disco movement. (Bruce Springsteen, 1998)
  • (Reviewing ONCE UPON A TIME...) With each album Summer gives further proof that there is more to her than her disco reputation suggests. Not only has Summer's singing taken on richer vocal textures, but her writing also shows strong development. (Billboard, 1977)
    • Donna is a major talent, a stylist, a decent songwriter and an important contributor to the current legitimacy of disco, the music business' bastard child. If you're a disco fan, LIVE AND MORE is for you. If you're not a fan, you still might enjoy the best voice in disco music. (Grooves, 1978)
    • LIVE AND MORE captures Summer in all her vocal brilliance. This should top all her previous albums in terms of sales. (Billboard, 1978)
    • On BAD GIRLS and particularly HOT STUFF, Summer sails into the vocals with a gospel-based, rhythm-and-bluesish rock passion that is really thrilling. There hasn't been such confident, all-stops-out vocalism of this sort since the best days of Aretha Franklin. (New York Times, 1979)
  • DIM ALL THE LIGHTS, the third single from Summer's BAD GIRLS LP, is another potential chart topper judging by the melodic beat and smooth vocal. (Billboard, 1979)
  • ON THE RADIO remains one of the greatest songs about the power of radio. Summer (...) rode the beat on every one of her hits like a rodeo star. (Dave Marsh, THE HEART OF ROCK & SOUL, 1989)
  • Donna Summer? I think she's great. She reminds me a lot of Martha Reeves. Donna Summer's music is a marriage of the European influence and the Black female voice. (Stevie Wonder, 1980)
  • STATE OF INDEPENDENCE - one of the best singles ever, ever. (New Musical Express, 1987)
  • DINNER WITH GERSHWIN remains one of the most perfect pop records of modern times. (Melody Maker, 1987)
    • Donna Summer has long had one of the best voices in pop. (Los Angeles Times, 1987)
  • Donna's turned into something of a vocal chameleon. On the title track (ALL SYSTEMS GO) she's a dead ringer for Pat Benatar. On another she's just like Joni Mitchell. And on the single, DINNER WITH GERSHWIN, she's singing deep and low like Jody Watley on STILL A THRILL. (Record Mirror, 1987)
  • She coos, she moans, she does Manilow, Jimmy Webb, Stock Aitken and Waterman, writes her own stuff. Indeed, she works hard for the money. Some of her work is very good (I FEEL LOVE can still subvert one's metabolism). (Mojo 1994)
    • (On THE WANDERER album) The fusion of rock and soul has never been so fulfilling. (Adam White/Billboard, 1980)
  • If COLD LOVE had been released two or three years later (...) it would have been the smash it deserves to be, and the development of dance - rock would have been considerably accelerated. (Dave Marsh, THE HEART OF ROCK & SOUL)
  • Donna would be a giant whether disco happened or not - in fact the disco arena may even have limited her in some ways. Donna could be a singing sensation on Broadway if she wanted. (Merv Griffin, 1993)
  • My favourite female singer? Donna Summer. (Brian Eno, 1996)
  • Who induced me to throw myself into the music biz? Donna Summer, without doubt. (Zelma Davis of C+C Music Factory, 1995)
  • Ah, that voice - on CATS WITHOUT CLAWS it's just beginning to unfurl an incredible wing span. (Record, 1984)
  • Her voice (is) like a blast of cold air, or clean water, or an icy draught of Kool Aid. (Spin, 1993)
  • Donna Summer's vocal just soars on the retro sounding LOVE'S ABOUT TO CHANGE MY HEART. (BILLBOARD, 1989)
  • OH BILLY PLEASE (...) is an ideal blend of Summer's straightforward power and passion - a combination that the world's Irene Caras (not to mention today's Diana Ross) can't touch. (Rolling Stone, 1984)
  • She is, without doubt, Dionne Warwick's heiress. Whitney Houston (...) may have a beautiful voice, but Summer's class, style and overpowering charm are quite another story. (Il Secolo XIX, 1987)
  • She is the picture of exuberance here (CARRY ON) , one again affirming why she remains an unmatchable vocalist in the minds of anyone who has ever tripped the club fantastic. (Billboard, 1997)
  • Summer was one of the few disco divas who didn't seem a total producer's pet, blazing a new path in electropop with I FEEL LOVE and cutting the only listenable version of MAC ARTHUR PARK. (Rolling Stone, 1993)
  • From MAC ARTHUR PARK through NO MORE TEARS and Jon and Vangelis's STATE OF INDEPENDENCE to the later Stock Aitken Waterman productions like THIS TIME I KNOW IT'S FOR REAL, she provided a fair working definition of the term bravura. (Q, 1993)
  • ANOTHER PLACE AND TIME stands as one of the most enjoyable albums we ever recorded (...) thanks to Donna's astounding ability to make any song she sang her own. (Pete Waterman, 1993)
  • MELODY OF LOVE, a new composition featured on the legendary diva's ENDLESS SUMMER greatest hits collection, proves that her voice is stronger now than ever. (Billboard, 1994)
  • More European than American, more thoughtful than aggressive, more mother than sex symbol: Donna Summer (...) is untrue to her public image. (La Stampa, 1987)
  • Rather than being the don't-you-know-who-I-am "diva" that I had anticipated, Donna Summer turns out to be one of the most intelligent, warm and personable entertainers you could meet. (David Nathan, Blues & Soul, 1987)
  • Maria Callas was a diva, and so I consider Callas's life and all that she achieved in her lifetime, then I would consider being a diva quite an accomplishment. (Donna Summer, 1996)
  • Divas come and go but Donna Summer is eternal. (Fred Bronson, 1996)
  • (On I WILL GO WITH YOU) Summer is in peak vocal form, alternating technically sharp note scaling and warmly soulful vamping. (Billboard, 1999)
  • (The artist) has his special, elitist, intellecual view of how life should be represented on canvas or in music. Now, when you do that consciounsly, I believe you're really shutting yourself off from what's going on. Consider Devo: My, how artistic, what a great concept - de-evolution and industrial rock for the Eighties. But it doesn't make it on the radio. If I'm driving in my car, I'd rather hear Donna Summer. (Billy Joel, 1980)
  • (On THE POWER OF ONE) Summer, as always, displays those beloved, jaw-dropping vocals, opening with the subtlety of a budding flower, then breaking through the clouds and thundering across the horizon at the song's peak. (Billboard, 2000)
  • (Reviewing the 1996 Radio City Music Hall concert) Her powers as a singer are extraordinary. (New York Times, 1996)
  • I love disco, Donna Summer, MAC ARTHUR PARK, all that stuff. (Alison Goldfrapp of Goldfrapp, 2003)
  • (On BAD GIRLS DELUXE EDITION) Donna Summer: a disco queen more adventurous than Indiana Jones. (Musica Rock Ed Altro, 2003)
  • At Bette Midler's Hulaween Donna Summer blew the roof off. What a voice! What pipes! She sounds exactly as she did during her reign as Queen of Disco back in the 80's. (...) I think it's time for a major Donna Summer revival. (Liz Smith, 2003)
  • Summer's voice is still a wondrous instrument, strong and vibrant and filled with emotion. (Boston Herald, 2005)
  • All through the evening, Summer was in excellent, occasionally stunning, voice. (Boston Globe, 2005)
  • Donna Summer returns with an album (CRAYONS) that truly is a fine encapsulation of her career to date: a pinch of dance, some frothy pop; a power ballad or two, all given a 2008 sheen. Summer is keen to prove that she is no disco relic. (BBC, 2008)
  • I'M A FIRE was written by Al Kasha, Donna Summer & Sebastian Arocha Morton. Al has worked with many great writers over his career, but finds Donna to be one of the most fabulous. (Al Kasha official website, 2008)
  • Donna was the real thing; an absolutely phenomenal singer with a full-throttle voice whenever she wanted, a fantastic tone and always in tune. (Pete Bellotte, 2009)
  • If it felt like the sound of tomorrow in 1977, now I FEEL LOVE just sounds timeless. (The Guardian, 2011)
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     THE DONNA SUMMER ANTHOLOGY is available on iTunes

     

     

    Donna & the gay controversy

  • I had turned to God because I just couldn't cope, and I think things started when a few journalists saw what a great story it was that this girl that had shocked the world with her outrageous sexy records and costumes was now saying, 'I've changed'. I read reports that I was refusing to sing any of my old records because they were too rude, that I wasn't going to do any gay clubs any more because I'd found the Lord, that I'd lecture young people about the evils of the music business... It didn't really affect me particularly, because I was used to the press saying all sorts of things about me that were silly and ridiculous. I'd lost count of the times I'd read that I was actually making love when we recorded LOVE TO LOVE YOU BABY, or that I was a transvestite. But a rumour started to crop up that I'd said that AIDS was God's plague on gay people for her wickedness, which was the most hurtful thing anyone could have printed. Not only had gay people built up my career, not only were a huge proportion of my friends gay, but worst of all, in the mid-80s, many friends of mine started dying of this disease. (Donna Summer, 1995)
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