All Systems Go (Donna Summer album)

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All Systems Go
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 15, 1987
ProducerHarold Faltermeyer, Peter Bunetta, Rick Chudacoff, Richard Perry, Donna Summer, Keith Nelson, Jeffrey Lams
Donna Summer chronology
The Dance Collection: A Compilation of Twelve Inch Singles
All Systems Go
Another Place and Time
Singles from All Systems Go
  1. "Dinner with Gershwin"
    Released: August 1987
  2. "Only the Fool Survives"
    Released: November 1987
  3. "All Systems Go"
    Released: January 1988

All Systems Go is the thirteenth studio album by Donna Summer. It was released on September 15, 1987; it would be her final release on Geffen Records, which had been Summer's label since 1980. There were two single released in the US, "Dinner with Gershwin" and "Only the Fool Survives". The title cut, "All Systems Go" was released as single in the UK.


After establishing herself as the top-ranked American female recording artist of the 1970s, Summer had broken out of her contract with Casablanca Records in 1980 to sign with the newly established Geffen Records, the label founded by David Geffen. But her 1980 album The Wanderer – Geffen's inaugural release – had disappointed David Geffen by falling somewhat short of the success level of Summer's previous Casablanca releases.

Geffen executives had elected to shelve a double album project (later in 1996 released as I'm a Rainbow) she was working on with her longtime collaborators Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, an album Summer had expected to be her next release in 1981. Summer instead was assigned to work with Quincy Jones and the resultant Donna Summer album was released in 1982. Though it also fell short of Summer's 1970s success level, it featured the Top 10, Grammy-nominated "Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)" single.

Geffen was displeased to learn that Summer legally owed her previous label Casablanca another album. Polygram Records had already owned 50% of Casablanca and it had previously purchased the other 50%, owning the company outright.[1] Polygram notified Geffen Records and Summer that she still owed them another album per her contract with Casablanca. The Michael Omartian produced She Works Hard for the Money album was given to Polygram to satisfy the agreement and Polygram released it on its Mercury Records label in 1983. Ironically, Summer's return to the Polygram fold netted what would become her biggest album of the entire 1980s. The title song, "She Works Hard for the Money", garnered her a Grammy nomination.

Owing no more albums to Polygram, Summer's next release was on her current label Geffen. Cats Without Claws, also produced by Omartian, was released in 1984 but failed to go gold and it did not repeat the success of its predecessor. Three years would pass without the release of any new material from Summer. During 1984, Summer would suffer under the rumours that she was homophobic. It was a known alleged rumour in the gay community, with her records being burned in the street of the San Francisco gay village 1984. In March 1987 Act Up was formed, the group took direct aim at Summer for the alleged anti-gay remarks. They picketed concerts and asked radio stations not to play her music; what had been before, just a rumour in the gay community was now being spread into the mainstream media. Some believe that it impacted her record sales and airplay in the mainstream pop market.

The album[edit]

The album was Summer's first release since her 1984 album Cats Without Claws. In 1986 David Geffen hired Harold Faltermeyer, to produce the album at Donna's urging. The objective was a tough FM-oriented sound, Harold Faltermeyer had just finished the scores for the movies Fletch (1985) and Top Gun (1985). Donna was adamant that it should have a stronger R & B influences on it. After the album was completed, Geffen heard the cuts and liked them but his executive team didn't think there were enough songs that could be deemed as singles. They had another song they wanted Harold to produce, but he was already working on other soundtrack projects. The song was "Dinner with Gershwin", and Richard Perry was hired to produce it with track writer Brenda Russell. Harold was surprised that nobody on the Geffen team heard the potential for singles on "Fascination", "Voices Cryin Out" or "Thinkin' Bout My Baby". "We had other song completed for All Systems Go that didn't make the final cut. Like "Money Talks", which I was surprised they passed on, and there are a couple others that would have completed our original version for the album, before "Dinner with Gershwin" and "Bad Reputation" became substitutes. The decision was made afterward by executives who were looking for a radio hit for 1987, and not something that would perhaps last beyond then".[2]

Summer was credited as co-writer on seven of the nine tracks.

Release and aftermath[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2/5 stars[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[4]

In the US "Dinner with Gershwin" became Summer's last Top Ten R&B hit and reached #48 on the pop charts.[5] It gave Summer her highest UK chart placing (#13[6]) since the '70s, also reaching #13 in Ireland and #43 in the Netherlands.[7]

All Systems Go became the first album by Donna Summer to fall short of the Top 100 on Billboard's album chart, peaking at #122[8] and dropping off completely after six weeks. It also failed to reach the UK Top 75.

"Only the Fool Survives" with Mickey Thomas was the second single released from the album. In the UK, "All Systems Go" reached #54.[6]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."All Systems Go"Harold Faltermeyer, Donna Summer4:13
2."Bad Reputation"Peter Bunetta, Joe Erickson, Summer4:14
3."Love Shock"Faltermeyer, Bruce Sudano, Summer4:16
4."Jeremy"Faltermeyer, Pit Floss, Andy Slovic, Summer, Hannes Treibe4:40
5."Only the Fool Survives (duet with Mickey Thomas)"John Bettis, Michael Omartian, Sudano, Summer, Virgil Weber4:42
Side two
6."Dinner with Gershwin"Brenda Russell4:39
7."Fascination"Eddie Schwartz, David Tyson4:30
8."Voices Cryin' Out"Faltermeyer, Summer5:20
9."Thinkin' Bout My Baby"Jeffrey Lams, Keith D. Nelson, Summer6:20


  • Donna Summer – lead vocals
  • Jerry Hey, Gary Grant, Kim Hutchcroft, Marc Russo, Gary Herbig – horns
  • Harold Faltermeyer – producer, keyboards (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8)
  • Randy Kerber, Steven Lindsay, Howie Rice, Dave Tyson – keyboards
  • Brenda Russell – associate producer, keyboards (6)
  • Wesley Plas, Paul Jackson Jr., Dann Huff, Donald Griffin, Eddie Schwartz – guitar
  • Larry Klein – bass guitar
  • Paulinho da Costa, Collyer Spreen, Ternal (Terry) Santiel – percussion
  • Mari Falcone, Dara Bernard, Mary Gaines-Bernard, Maxayne Lewis, Susan Boyd, Siedah Garrett, Edie Lehman, Jon Joyce, Darryl Phinnessee, Joe Pizzulo, John Batdorf, Brenda Russell, Bunny Hull, Joe Turano, Maxi Anderson, Jim Haas, Dave Tyson, George Merrill,Adrain Gaines, Gene Miller – background vocals
  • Kevin Anderson -- synclavier (uncredited)


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1987) Position
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[11] 72
Japanease Albums (Oricon)[12] 69
Sweden Sverigetopplistan[13] 27
US Billboard 200[14] 122
USA Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[8] 53


Year Single Chart Position
1987 "Dinner with Gershwin" UK Singles Chart[6] 13
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 48
US Billboard Hot Black Singles[5] 10
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[5] 13
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales[5] 16
1988 "All Systems Go" UK Singles Chart[6] 54


  1. ^ Ingo Floren (2004). The Official Price Guide to Kiss Collectibles. Google Books. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  2. ^ Harold Faltermeyer/Flood of Memory: The Summer Reign on Sunset Blvd/interview by David St.Mark/issue=October 2012/
  3. ^ Wynn, Ron. "All Systems Go > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Rolling Stone VS. Donna Summer: A Critical Reappraisal". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Donna Summer > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
  6. ^ a b c d "UK Charts > Donna Summer". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  7. ^ "NL Charts > Donna Summer". MegaCharts. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
  8. ^ a b "Donna Summer > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  9. ^ "The Official Donna Summer – Timeline – Facebook". Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  10. ^ Rhys-Morgan, Dean. Bold, Beautiful and Damned: The World of 1980's Fashion Illustrator Tony Viramontes, London: Lawrence King Publishing Ltd., 2013 ISBN 978-1-78067-3073, p.37
  11. ^ " – Donna Summer – All Systems Go" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
  12. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  13. ^ "SWE Charts > Donna Summer". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
  14. ^ "Donna Summer Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved March 8, 2016.