Disco was, for the most part, not one of music's greatest genres.
But Donna Summer was something special. I was 12 years old (what's called a "tween" today) when she hit the big time.
She had an incredible voice, and used it with style. Songs that no one else could carry she could. She put energy into the music. Cover versions just don't do them justice the way her pipes did. Even while "MacArthur Park" (which she didn't write- she did a cover of an older song) had some, uh, unusual lyrics, she still made them come alive in a way that blew the original away.
"Hot Stuff" was the first 45 rpm single I remember buying. I took it home and listened to it repeatedly. Certainly not philosophical stuff, but at an age when you were first trying to figure out girls, the music was PERFECT to just get up and boogie at the 7th & 8th grade dance (6:30 to 9:30, 1st Friday of each month, in the school cafeteria). It gave you courage to ask a girl to dance, and hope she didn't notice your braces.
On a side note, the first time I ever danced with a girl was when SHE asked me. Her name was Amy, and I was sitting on a table, trying to figure the whole thing out. She came out of nowhere, grabbed my hands, and pulled me out on the floor. I guess she didn't ask me at all, just said "Come on!" and pulled my arms out of their sockets.
The only disco on my iTunes has always been Donna Summer's greatest hits. Last year, when my wife gave me an LP/cassette-to-digital converter, I dug out the ancient "Hot Stuff" single and digitalized it.
Yeah, the CD music version is clearer, but hearing my original vinyl 45 again, with the scratchy needle sound, means more to me. It's the version that's still embedded deep in my brain, taking me back to the school dance.
Thank you, Donna.