Last Dance (song)

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"Last Dance"
Single by Donna Summer
from the album Thank God It's Friday
B-side "With Your Love"
Released July 2, 1978
Format 7" single, 12" single
Genre
Length 8:08
Label Casablanca
Writer(s) Paul Jabara[1]
Producer(s) Giorgio Moroder, Bob Esty
Donna Summer singles chronology
"Back in Love Again"
(1978)
"Last Dance"
(1978)
"Je t'aime... moi non plus"
(1978)

"Last Dance" is a song by American singer Donna Summer. The song appeared on the Thank God It's Friday movie soundtrack.[1] It was written by Paul Jabara, co-produced by Summer's regular collaborator Giorgio Moroder, along with Bob Esty, and mixed by the Grammy Award winning record producer, Stephen Short, whose back-up vocals are featured on the song.

Background[edit]

Donna Summer has a role in the film Thank God It's Friday as an aspiring singer who brings an instrumental track of "Last Dance" to a disco in hopes the disc jockey will play the track and allow her to sing the song for her fellow patrons: after refusing through most of the film the disc jockey eventually obliges Summer's character and her performance causes a sensation.

According to the song's co-producer Bob Esty, Paul Jabara had locked Summer in a Puerto Rico hotel bathroom and forced her to listen to a cassette of him singing a rough version of "Last Dance." Summer liked the song and Jabara asked Esty to work with him on an arrangement for Summer to make her recording. Esty recalls:

I changed some of the chords and extended the 'hook' to repeat three times to finish the last phrase of the chorus. I also added a bridge to build to a climax and suggested a ballad intro à la "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" [the Diana Ross version] and another ballad in the middle of the song building again to a high note for the last chorus ending. To our knowledge, this had never been done in a disco track. ..We did the piano/vocal with Donna and me of the full version including the two ballad sections and the ending in one 'pass'...I recorded the full track in one day, rhythm in the morning, horns and strings during the day. That same night, Giorgio Moroder recorded Donna's vocal exactly as she sang the demo, in two takes, and banning me from attending the session. In spite of the fact Giorgio didn't like the song and didn't want Donna to sing in a full voice style, I thought I would be at least credited for co-producing the track and co-writing the song with Paul. He ultimately took credit for it. And Paul Jabara took the Oscar. I learned a bitter lesson from that.

On David Foster's "The Hitman Returns" DVD, David Foster introduces the song by relating a story to Donna Summer. When he played on the session in 1978, Foster thought the producer's suggestion to start the song as a ballad and change into a faster tempo was, "...the stupidest idea I've ever heard in my life, but we did it".

Awards and recognition[edit]

"Last Dance" won an Academy Award,[1] and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song that same year. With a #3 peak on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine, "Last Dance" became Summer's third US Top Ten hit after "Love to Love You Baby" and "I Feel Love" and almost matched the #2 hit "Love to Love You Baby" as Summer's best-charting single (at that time). "Last Dance" also afforded Summer a #5 R&B chart hit and was #1 on Billboard's Hot Disco Action Chart for six weeks eventually being ranked as the #1 Disco hit for the year 1978. Certified gold for sales of a million units in the US,"Last Dance" marked a downturn in Summer's chart fortunes in the UK where she'd previously had more chart impact than in the US with "Last Dance"'s UK chart peak being at #51; Summer would return to the UK Top Ten - at #5 - with her follow-up single "MacArthur Park" [1] a single which afforded Summer her first US #1.

Structure[edit]

"Last Dance" was one of the first disco songs to also feature slow tempo parts: it starts off as a ballad; the full-length version on the film soundtrack also has a slow part in the middle. This part was edited out for the 7". The versions found on most greatest hits packages is either the original 7" edit (3:21) or the slightly longer and remixed version from the 1979 compilation On The Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2 (4:56). "Last Dance" started a trend for Summer as some of her following hits also had a ballad-like intro before speeding up the tempo. Her other hits of this tempo format include "On the Radio"; "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)", a duet with Barbra Streisand; "Dim All the Lights"; and a song written by and duetted with Paul Jabara called "Foggy Day/Never Lose Your Sense Of Humor", from his album "The Third Album".

Charts[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
position
Dutch GfK chart[3] 10
Dutch Top 40 8
US Billboard Hot 100 3
U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles 5[4]
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 1

Appearances in other media[edit]

In 1980, the song was covered by Greg Evigan and Pink Lady on an episode of the variety show Pink Lady and Jeff.

Jackee Harry sang this song in an episode of 227.

On an episode of Family Matters, Summer played Steve Urkel's aunt, Aunt Oona (played by Donna Summer) from Altoona, and sang this song in a karaoke contest.

The song is briefly sung by Michael Clarke Duncan in the outtakes of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. It also appears in Charlies Angels Full Throttle.

The Tejano superstar Selena performed the song as a medley which included Summer's On the Radio during her last televised concert in February 1995 at the Houston Astrodome. The medley was initially released on the soundtrack for the film Selena, but was later released on the CD and DVD release of Selena: The Last Concert.

Vonda Shepard sang the song on the episode "playing with matches" of Ally Mcbeal, season 5 (2002)

In 2003, Whoopi Goldberg, Thelma Houston, Mýa, Taylor Dayne, and Gloria Gaynor performed the song for the finale of the concert television special The Disco Ball.

In the Simpsons episode Today I Am a Clown part of the song plays as Homer takes Santa's Little Helper on a night out.

In early 2006, Lucy Benjamin covered this song in The X Factor: Battle of the Stars.

CeCe Peniston performing live her cover version of the composition.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

In 2007, CeCe Peniston recorded live her own cover version of the Summer's song, which was released in 2008 as the second song on a Peniston's three track digital "EP Live".[5] In 2010 the Peniston's version was available in Europe also on live CD Divas Of Disco: Live.[6]

The song has been performed three times on American Idol: by Ryan Starr, Brenna Gethers, and LaKisha Jones.

In the finale episode of American Idol's season 7, the top 12 females performed this song along with Summer.

"Last Dance" was played on the final episode of As The World Turns, that aired September 17, 2010.

Ariana Grande covered "Last Dance" in December 2011.

The first verse of the song was heard at the end of the Castle episode "That '70s Show", which aired on April 21, 2014.

The song is frequently used by many stations as their last song before changing formats, being used by many Jammin' Oldies stations before changing formats in the US during the downfall of the format in the early 2000s. It was also used as the last song on the SiriusXM channel The Strobe in October 2010. The most recent use of this being the last song on a station was on June 28, 2012 at 11:53 am Eastern Daylight Time, when WODS, a Classic hits/oldies station in Summer's hometown of Boston played "Last Dance" as their final song before flipping formats to Top 40.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ http://www.donnasummer.it/questiontime.html
  3. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - Discografie Donna Summer". © 2006-2011 Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-03-14. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 556. 
  5. ^ 'CeCe Peniston, Digital EP Live (Keep on Walkin', Last Dance, Finally' Discogs
  6. ^ 'Divas of Disco: Live, CD Album, Europe, PEG CD 702' Discogs

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"If My Friends Could See Me Now" / "Gypsy Lady" / "Runaway Love" by Linda Clifford
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single (with "Thank God It's Friday" by Love & Kisses, "After Dark" by Pattie Brooks and "Take It to the Zoo" by Sunshine)
June 3, 1978 - July 8, 1978
Succeeded by
"Boogie Oogie Oogie" by A Taste of Honey