Disco Queen Donna Summer dies at 63

(AP) - Like the King of Pop or the Queen of Soul, Donna Summer was bestowed a title fitting of musical royalty - the Queen of Disco.Yet unlike Michael Jackson or Aretha Franklin, it was a designation

News 12 Staff

May 17, 2012, 11:12 PM

Updated 4,359 days ago

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Disco Queen Donna Summer dies at 63
(AP) - Like the King of Pop or the Queen of Soul, Donna Summer was bestowed a title fitting of musical royalty - the Queen of Disco.Yet unlike Michael Jackson or Aretha Franklin, it was a designation she wasn't comfortable embracing."I grew up on rock 'n' roll," Summer once said when explaining her reluctance to claim the title.Indeed, as disco boomed then crashed in a single decade in the 1970s, Summer, the beautiful voice and face of the genre with pulsating hits like "I Feel Love," ''Love to Love You Baby" and "Last Dance," would continue to make hits incorporating the rock roots she so loved. One of her biggest hits, "She Works Hard for the Money," came in the early 1980s and relied on a smoldering guitar solo as well as Summer's booming voice.Yet it was with her disco anthems that she would have the most impact in music, and it's how she was remembered Thursday as news spread of her death at age 63.Summer died of cancer Thursday morning in Naples, Fla., said her publicist Brian Edwards. Her family released a statement saying they "are at peace celebrating her extraordinary life and her continued legacy."It had been decades since that brief, flashy moment when Summer was every inch the Disco Queen.Her glittery gowns and long eyelashes. Her luxurious hair and glossy, open lips. Her sultry vocals, her bedroom moans and sighs. She was as much a part of the culture as disco balls, polyester, platform shoes and the music's pulsing, pounding rhythms.Summer's music gave voice to not only a musical revolution, but a cultural one - a time when sex, race, fashion and drugs were being explored and exploited with freedom like never before in the United States.Her rise was inseparable from disco's itself, even though she remained popular for years after the genre she helped invent had died. She won a Grammy for best rock vocal performance for "Hot Stuff," a fiery guitar-based song that represented her shift from disco to more rock-based sounds, and created another kind of anthem with "She Works Hard for the Money," this time for women's rights.


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