Scene from the Castro
Donna Summer died two weeks ago tomorrow, yet I'm less comfortable with the idea of her not being with us anymore than I was then. Michael and Whitney were self-destructive wrecks, but not Donna. Donna was a church-going wife and mother -- whose mezzo-soprano vocal range made me more likely to believe in God than anything I'd ever heard in church. I spent a huge chunk of yesterday listening to my Donna catalogue, marveling at its variety, sophistication and how influential so much of it was. But more than anything, I was reminded just how much fun it is to listen to over and over, so completely infectious.
The day she died I declared my long-held belief that "Heaven Knows" is my favorite song of hers, but came close to reconsidering a few times yesterday. I would love to hear what YOUR favorite Donna Summer song is -- and feel free to share any memories you have of her music. It's in that spirit that I confess that in 1978 when "Heaven Knows" was riding high on the chart, I mistakenly thought she was singing "Farrakhan"! I was 10 or 11, so this had no political meaning or anything to me. I just thought it was a guy's name, which puts it right up there with "Alex the Seal"!
Please vote in the comments sections.
P.S. One of the things I love about "Heaven Knows" are the backing vocals by Joe Esposito of Brooklyn Dreams, which performed the music. (Donna would later marry band member Bruce Sudano.) Tonight I discovered that Esposito recorded his own version of the song with Donna Summer on backing vocals. It appeared on Brooklyn Dreams' 1979 LP, "Sleepless Nights." Enjoy!