The Wanderer (Donna Summer album)

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The Wanderer
Studio album by Donna Summer
Released October 20, 1980
Recorded 1980
Length 39:17
Label Geffen
Producer Giorgio Moroder
Pete Bellotte
Donna Summer chronology
On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II
The Wanderer
I'm a Rainbow
Singles from The Wanderer
  1. "The Wanderer"
    Released: November 19, 1980
  2. "Cold Love"
    Released: December 21, 1980
  3. "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'"
    Released: March 21, 1981
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau A− [2]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [3]

The Wanderer is the eight studio album by American singer-songwriter Donna Summer. It was her first release on Geffen Records and became a Top 20 album in the United States, with the title track single reaching the number 3 on the Billboard's Hot 100.

This album is out of print.


Summer had made her name the previous decade as the most successful female artist of the disco genre, releasing a vast selection of hit singles and albums on Casablanca Records. During this period however, Summer had felt that the label had exploited her and made her portray a sexually orientated image ("The First Lady of Love") with which she never felt comfortable.[citation needed] The label had also taken over other elements of Summer's personal life, to the point where she felt she had no control over her life or career.[citation needed] Having come out of a period of depression and rediscovering her Christian faith, Summer had made the decision to break away from Casablanca and file a lawsuit against them. After the lawsuit was eventually settled, Summer became the first artist to be signed to the newly established Geffen Records.

At that time, disco was starting to experience a backlash. rock and new wave music had started to become more popular, and people were starting to feel that the original "edge" to the disco culture had now vanished and that it had become a "safe product".[citation needed] Others felt that the disco scene had become too associated with drugs, while others resented its exclusivity (doormen would often expect people to look or be dressed a certain way before being allowed into a disco). By 1980, banners reading "disco sucks" were seen everywhere and disco records became flops. Fans wondered what direction Summer (who was seen as "the Queen of disco") would now take. Her previous full-length album, Bad Girls, had combined elements of rock, soul and R&B with the disco sound, so it had become apparent that she had already evolved in some way. Some artists continued with the disco sound despite the backlash, including Lipps Inc. with the huge summer of 1980 hit Funkytown and Diana Ross with the Chic produced disco flavored "Upside Down" in the fall. Summer however, decided to leave the disco sound behind and The Wanderer turned out to be a very rock and new wave-influenced affair. The album was co-written and produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, who had produced the vast majority of Summer's hits since their partnership with her began in 1974. The production for the Wanderer was rushed, Geffen wanted to get new product out because of Casablanca plans to release Walk Away another Greatest Hits Collection. "We would have like to do more tweaking, and have more time for production. But we just had to let it go," said Harold Faltermeyer about the recording of the album.

Tracks such as "Cold Love" and "Nightlife" consisted of a very strong rock sound, the former gaining Summer a Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Other songs such as "Looking Up" and "Breakdown" embraced a dance/rock sound. Summer's new rediscovered Christian faith was documented in the gospel song "I Believe In Jesus", for which she also received a nomination for Best Inspirational Performance. As a child Summer had sung in gospel choirs, so this song was a chance for her to go back to her roots.

The album peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Album Chart - selling 600,000 US copies -[citation needed] and the title track hit number 3 on the US singles chart. However, two follow-up singles - "Cold Love" and "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'" - were not successful and barely reached the Top 40. The album and its singles attained limited success on the UK charts. None of the singles cracked the UK Top 40.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Wanderer"   Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer 3:47
2. "Looking Up"   Pete Bellotte, Moroder, Summer 3:57
3. "Breakdown"   Bellotte, Harold Faltermeyer 4:08
4. "Grand Illusion"   Moroder, Summer 3:54
5. "Running for Cover"   Summer 4:01
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
6. "Cold Love"   Bellotte, Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey 3:38
7. "Who Do You Think You're Foolin'"   Bellotte, Sylvester Levay, Jerry Rix 4:18
8. "Nightlife"   Bellotte, Moroder 4:00
9. "Stop Me"   Bellotte, Forsey 3:44
10. "I Believe in Jesus"   Summer 3:37



Year Chart Position
1980 US Album chart 13
UK Album chart 55
Norway 18
Sweden 15


Year Single Chart Position
1980 "The Wanderer" UK's single chart 48
USA Billboard Hot 100 3
Sweden 9
1981 "Cold Love" UK's single chart 44
USA Billboard Hot 100 33
"Who Do You Think You're Foolin'" USA Billboard Hot 100 40


Country Provider Certifications
United States RIAA Gold[5]