Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday evening rambling

Sitting here, listening to Donna Summer on iTunes.

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.


Your Doctor's Wife said...

Great memories to LOTS of Donna Summer!

Sittin' here eatin' my heart out waitin'
Waitin' for some lover to call
Dialed about a thousand numbers lately
Almost rang the phone off the wall

Lookin' for some hot stuff baby this evenin'
I need some hot stuff baby tonight
I want some hot stuff baby this evenin'
Gotta have some hot stuff
Gotta have some lovin' tonight
I need hot stuff
I want some hot stuff
I need some hot stuff

Anonymous said...

After reading this, I played the song on youtube. My 11.5 yo son walked in and started bopping around to it. "What is this? I need to play this on Pandora!" Apparently, the song hasn't lost its effect on tween boys.


Moose said...

I still listen to a lot of disco, Donna Summer included.

I was a senior in high school when disco peaked. I wrote many a paper listening to one of the big NYC disco radio stations. Late at night the DJ on WKTU was Paco. Paco had this smooth, sexy, Latino voice. You just knew deep in the back of your mind that he was really a 50s, balding white guy with giant warts. But oooooh that voice.

It's just not the same on the iPod.

amy said...

Someone left a cake out in the rain...

stacey said...

I had her greatest hits..Live and More on 8-track... I still miss it.

det-res said...

Wow, Dr.Grumpy, you can me me smile, laugh and cry in the same post and definitely on the same day with your posts. I didn't know Donna Summer or her music, but I can tell she was special.

Shalom said...

Donna Summer was my favorite singer back in the day, probably one of the first musicians who I ever bought in LP format; she was more an album artist than a singles artist.

Interesting thing about "Hot Stuff" is that it was one of the few songs that wasn't only disco, but could arguably be called hard rock as well. Sure it had that 4/4 thump, but you've got Keith Forsey slamming that back beat in the intro, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter with a lead guitar solo that's nearly heavy metal, and if you were lucky enough to have the 12" version (which I did), Gary Herbig's screeching sax solo was much more rock-oriented than disco. (For some reason the LP version edited this part out; I was annoyed when I finally saved up enough for the double-LP and found it wasn't there.)

Anonymous said...

Serious nostalgia....homing in....bop, bop, bop,,,,, (hang on, just straightening my wig here....)
Cool, dudies!

mycosys said...

Its funny how people remember the vocalist but not the real talent.
The man who was behind both songs and a lot of the best dance music of the 70s and 80s
He is 74 and recently took up DJing to sold out crowds.

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