Donna Summer (album)

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Donna Summer
Studio album by Donna Summer
Released July 19, 1982
Recorded 1981–1982
Genre Soul, dance, rock
Length 41:09
Label Geffen
Producer Quincy Jones
Donna Summer chronology
I'm a Rainbow
(1981)
Donna Summer
(1982)
She Works Hard for the Money
(1983)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau C [2]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars [3]

Donna Summer is the tenth studio album of American singer Donna Summer, released in 1982, and is currently out of print. It featured the Top 10, Grammy-nominated "Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)" single.

Back story[edit]

Having left Casablanca Records, with whom she had had some of the biggest selling and most popular hits of the disco era in the 1970s, Summer had signed to Geffen Records in 1980 and had continued working with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, with whom she had written the vast majority of her hits. However, label owner David Geffen had been disappointed with the chart performance of The Wanderer, Summer's debut album for Geffen and rather than release the followup; I'm a Rainbow which Summer had recorded with Moroder/Bellotte, Geffen had Summer record a new album with Quincy Jones from whom a production credit - given Jones' track record particularly his work with Michael Jackson - Geffen felt would guarantee a commercial smash. The resultant Donna Summer album was the first time the singer had worked with a producer other than Moroder and Bellotte since 1974 save for the one-off track "Down Deep Inside (Theme from "The Deep")" which was produced by John Barry for the film The Deep, and the No More Tears (Enough is Enough) duet with Streisand which was co-produced by Gary Klein of The Entertainment Company.

The album[edit]

Since the disco era, Summer's work had covered a variety of musical genres and this album was no exception. It had quite a strong soul influence, and featured a couple of gospel-styled tracks, namely "(If It) Hurts Just a Little" and a version of Jon and Vangelis' "State of Independence", which featured an all-star choir. Rock music was also found in the form of the Bruce Springsteen-penned "Protection"; the track had been planned as a Donna Summer/Bruce Springsteen duet but that concept was abandoned as unworkable. The album concluded with Summer's take on the Billy Strayhorn torch standard "Lush Life".

Several very popular songwriters were used on this album. As well as the aforementioned Springsteen and Vangelis, Quincy Jones himself contributed to the writing, as did other names such as Rod Temperton, Merria Ross, John Lang, Richard Page, Bill Meyers, Michael Clark, John Bettis, Jon Anderson, David Foster, Steve Lukather, Michael Sembello, Dan Sembello and David Batteau. This made it the largest number of songwriters ever to contribute to a Donna Summer album.

A period of six months elapsed between the first session for the Donna Summer album and the completion of the tracks. Summer has since stated that this was one of the hardest albums ever to record - some of the songs were quite challenging, plus she was pregnant with her daughter Amanda Grace at the time. It has also been reported that she found producer Quincy Jones to be rather boisterous and controlling and soon after the album's release she opened up to the Los Angeles Times: "Sometimes I feel it's a Quincy Jones album that I sang on".

Impact[edit]

The Donna Summer album was released 19 July 1982 with the advance single: "Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)" having been issued six weeks previous. "Love Is in Control..." would peak at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1982 when the Donna Summer album would reach #20 in Billboard; the album's subsequent single releases: "State of Independence" and "The Woman in Me", which respectively peaked on the Hot 100 at #41 and #33, failed to increase the album's chart impact.

Ultimately the Donna Summer album would fall short of its goal to restore its singer to the level of stardom she'd enjoyed in the 1970s: "Love Is in Control..." would have the lowest Hot 100 peak of a lead single from an album of new material by Donna Summer since 1977 and the #20 peak of the Donna Summer album evidenced a further drop in popularity from the singer's debut album of the 1980s: The Wanderer, whose #13 peak had disappointed David Geffen to the point where he'd suppressed the I'm a Rainbow followup Summer had prepared with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte instigating the Quincy Jones-produced Donna Summer album project. Ironically Summer would have her most successful 80's hit with "She Works Hard For The Money" which with its parent album was passed over for release by David Geffen to be released on Mercury Records.

"Love Is in Control..." did represent a considerable comeback for Summer on the R&B charts with a #4 peak affording the singer her fifth Top 5 R&B hit. Summer also reached the UK Top 20 with both "Love Is in Control..." and "State of Independence" with these tracks both reaching the Top Ten in the Netherlands - at respectively #6 and #1 - where "The Woman in Me" reached #7.

The aforementioned advance single "Love is In Control..." featured a non-album track on its B-side: "Sometimes Like Butterflies", a song that Summer penned with Bruce Roberts. This song would later be covered by Dusty Springfield, and Summer's original version was included on the CD, A Different Love by Canadian singer, Mark Tara, as a benefit for CANFAR (Canadians For AIDS Research). Quincy Jones is credited as producer for this song as well, although the minimalistic approach to this song was very different from the tracks included on the Donna Summer album.

French electronic duo Cassius sampled "(If It) Hurts Just a Little" on their 1999 single "Cassius 99 Remix".

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)"   Quincy Jones, Merria Ross, Rod Temperton 4:18
2. "Mystery of Love"   John Lang, Bill Meyers, Richard Page 4:25
3. "The Woman in Me"   John Bettis, Michael Clark 3:55
4. "State of Independence"   Jon Anderson, Vangelis 5:50
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
5. "Livin' in America"   David Foster, Jones, Steve Lukather, Donna Summer, Temperton 4:41
6. "Protection"   Bruce Springsteen 3:35
7. "(If It) Hurts Just a Little"   David Batteau, Dan Sembello, Michael Sembello 3:52
8. "Love Is Just a Breath Away"   Foster, Summer, Temperton 3:55
9. "Lush Life"   Billy Strayhorn 6:26

Personnel[edit]

  • David Alexander – photography
  • Bill Barnum – supervisor
  • H.B. Barnum – director
  • Dara Lynn Bernard – chorus
  • Roy Bittan – piano
  • Michael Boddicker – programming, vocoder, vocoder programming, polymoog
  • Larry Bunker – drums
  • Bill Champlin – background vocals
  • Leon "Ndugu" Chancler – drums
  • Dennis Cosby – conductor
  • Steve Crimmel – assistant engineer
  • Christopher Cross – chorus
  • Patrick Gene Crotty, Jr. – chorus
  • Paulinho Da Costa – percussion
  • Michael Davis – chorus
  • Don Dorsey – programming, synclavier, synclavier programming
  • Matt Forger – assistant engineer, technical director
  • David Foster – synthesizer, arranger, rhythm arrangements, synthesizer arrangements
  • Steve George – background vocals
  • Gary Grant – horn
  • Debbie Green – chorus
  • Dave Grusin – synthesizer, fender rhodes, rhythm arrangements, synthesizer arrangements
  • Howard Hewett – background vocals
  • Jerry Hey – horn
  • James Ingram – background vocals, chorus, vocal arrangement, rhythm arrangements
  • Phillip Ingram – background vocals
  • Michael Jackson – chorus
  • Louis Johnson – bass
  • Quincy Jones – synthesizer, programming, chorus, producer, vocal arrangement, rhythm arrangements
  • Jeff Lancaster – art direction, design
  • Peggy Lipton Jones – chorus
  • Kenny Loggins – chorus
  • Steve Lukather – guitar
  • Johnny Mandel – string arrangements
  • Harvey Mason, Sr. – drums, drum arrangements
  • Heather Mason – chorus
  • Greg Mathieson – programming
  • Michael McDonald – chorus
  • Bill Meyers – synthesizer, rhythm arrangements
  • Michael Omartian – string arrangements
  • Richard Page – background vocals, vocal arrangement
  • David Paich – synthesizer, piano, keyboards, rhythm arrangements, synthesizer arrangements
  • Ken Perry – mastering
  • Greg Phillinganes – synthesizer, chorus, synclavier, synthesizer bass, rhythm arrangements, portasound
  • Jeff Porcaro – drums
  • Steve Porcaro – drums, programming, producer
  • Bill Reichenbach Jr. – horn
  • John "J.R." Robinson – drums
  • Brenda Russell – chorus
  • Cruz Baca Sembello – background vocals
  • Michael Sembello – guitar, background vocals, vocal arrangement, rhythm arrangements
  • Guy Spells – conductor
  • Bruce Springsteen – guitar
  • Donna Summer – vocals, background vocals, chorus
  • Bruce Swedien – engineer, mixing
  • Rod Temperton – vocal arrangement, rhythm arrangements, synthesizer arrangements
  • John VanNest – assistant engineer
  • Larraine Walton – chorus
  • Dionne Warwick – chorus
  • Ernie Watts – alto & baritone saxophone
  • Chris Whorf – art direction, design
  • Stevie Wonder – chorus
  • Faith D. Wong – chorus

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1982 United States 20
United Kingdom 13
Netherlands 3
Norway 3
Sweden 2
Single
Year Single Chart Position
1982 "Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)" United Kingdom 18
USA Billboard Hot 100 10
Netherlands 6
Norway 3
Sweden 13
"State of Independence" United Kingdom 14
USA Billboard Hot 100 41
Netherlands 1
"The Woman in Me" Netherlands 7
1983 United Kingdom 62
USA Billboard Hot 100 33

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Donna Summer > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Donna Summer > Review". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  3. ^ Connelly, Christopher (September 16, 1982). "Donna Summer: Donna Summer : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  4. ^ https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDonnaSummer/photos/a.338441742943580.79917.335408976580190/639840086137076/?type=1