Donna Summer

Name: Donna Summer ( Donna Adrian Gaines )
Born: December 31, 1948
Age: 63 years old
Died: May 17, 2012
Height: 5 Feet 7 Inches
Occupation: singer, songwriter, and actress
Relationship Status: was married
More info: show
  • Horoscope: Capricorn
  • Net worth: $75 000 000
  • Ethnicity: African American
  • Nationality: American
  • Fathers name: Andrew Gaines
  • Mothers name: Mary Gaines
  • Education: Jeremiah E Burke High School
  • Weight: 60.0
  • Hair color: Dark brown
  • Eye color: Dark brown
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    Donna Summer: biography

    Donna Summer, born Donna Adrian Gaines, was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame in the 1970s as the "Queen of Disco" and became one of the most successful artists of the era.

    Childhood and youth

    Donna Summer was born on December 31, 1948, in Boston, Massachusetts to Andrew and Mary Gaines. She grew up in a large, musical family with seven siblings. Her father, Andrew Gaines, was a butcher, and her mother, Mary Gaines, was a schoolteacher.

    From a young age, Summer showed a keen interest in music and began singing in her church choir. She was greatly influenced by gospel music and credited her church upbringing for shaping her powerful vocal style.

    During her youth, Summer faced racial discrimination and struggled with her biracial identity. She often faced challenges and discrimination due to her African American heritage, which motivated her to use her talent to break barriers and stereotypes in the music industry.

    In her teenage years, Summer formed a local rock band called The Crow, where she served as the lead singer. The band performed at various venues around Boston, gaining local recognition. Her performances showcased her exceptional vocal range and stage presence, setting the stage for her future success.

    After high school, Summer attended Boston's Northeastern University to study art. However, her passion for music led her to drop out and pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She moved to New York City and immersed herself in the vibrant music scene, performing in various bands and auditioning for roles in musical theater.

    These formative years in Boston and New York City played a crucial role in shaping Donna Summer's musical style and determination to succeed. Her experiences in her childhood and youth laid the foundation for her groundbreaking career as the "Queen of Disco" and her lasting impact on popular music.

    Music career

    Donna Summer's music career spanned several decades and left an indelible mark on the music industry. Born with a powerful and versatile voice, she rose to fame during the disco era in the 1970s and became known as the "Queen of Disco."

    After signing with Casablanca Records in the mid-1970s, Summer released her breakthrough single, "Love to Love You Baby" in 1975. The song, with its seductive vocals and sensuous lyrics, propelled her to international stardom. It showcased her ability to infuse emotion into her music and set the tone for her future success.

    Throughout the late 1970s, Donna Summer dominated the disco scene with a string of chart-topping hits. Songs like "I Feel Love," produced by Giorgio Moroder, revolutionized electronic music with its pulsating beats and futuristic sound. Other hits such as "Last Dance," "MacArthur Park," and "Bad Girls" solidified her status as the preeminent figure in disco. Her music epitomized the era's exuberance, liberation, and carefree spirit.

    Donna Summer
    Donna Summer / Facebook

    As the disco era waned in the early 1980s, Summer successfully transitioned her sound, showcasing her versatility as an artist. She delved into pop, rock, and R&B, producing hits like "She Works Hard for the Money," "This Time I Know It's for Real," and "State of Independence." These songs demonstrated her ability to adapt to changing musical landscapes while maintaining her distinctive vocal prowess.

    Donna Summer's music career continued into the 1990s and 2000s, marked by various collaborations and releases. She explored different genres, including gospel and dance, and worked with renowned artists such as Barbra Streisand and Bruce Springsteen. In 2008, she received critical acclaim for her album "Crayons," which showcased her range and versatility across musical styles.

    Her contributions to music were recognized with numerous awards, including multiple Grammy Awards, and she was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Donna Summer's powerful voice, electrifying performances, and ability to evolve with the times solidified her status as one of the most influential artists in popular music. Her legacy as the "Queen of Disco" continues to inspire generations of musicians and fans alike.

    Personal life

    Donna Summer's personal life was as vibrant and dynamic as her music career. She was married twice and had three children.

    In 1973, Summer married Austrian actor Helmuth Sommer, with whom she had a daughter named Natalia Pia Melanie Sommer (called Mimi). The marriage ended in divorce in 1976, and Donna kept the modified version of her ex-husband's last name as her stage name.

    In 1980, she married Bruce Sudano, a musician and songwriter. They had one daughter together, Amanda Sudano. The couple remained married until Donna Summer's passing in 2012. Sudano and their daughters continued to honor her musical legacy in their own careers.

    Throughout her life, Summer was known for her strong spirituality and deep faith. She was a devout Christian and often incorporated religious themes into her music. She openly expressed her beliefs and credited her faith for guiding her through challenging times.

    Donna Summer was also known for her philanthropic efforts. She supported various charitable causes, including AIDS research, children's charities, and organizations focused on cancer awareness and treatment. She used her fame and influence to raise awareness and funds for these important causes.


    Tragically, Donna Summer passed away on May 17, 2012, at the age of 63, after battling lung cancer. Her death was a great loss to the music industry and her fans worldwide. She left behind a lasting legacy as a talented artist, a devoted mother, and a compassionate humanitarian.


    Here is a list of Donna Summer's discography, including her studio albums, compilation albums, and notable singles:

    Studio Albums:

    • Lady of the Night (1974)
    • Love to Love You Baby (1975)
    • A Love Trilogy (1976)
    • Four Seasons of Love (1976)
    • I Remember Yesterday (1977)
    • Once Upon a Time... (1977)
    • Live and More (1978)
    • Bad Girls (1979)
    • The Wanderer (1980)
    • Donna Summer (1982)
    • She Works Hard for the Money (1983)
    • Cats Without Claws (1984)
    • All Systems Go (1987)
    • Another Place and Time (1989)
    • Mistaken Identity (1991)
    • Christmas Spirit (1994)
    • Crayons (2008)


    Donna Summer received numerous awards and accolades throughout her career. Here are some of the notable awards she won:

    Grammy Awards:

    • Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female - "Last Dance" (1979)
    • Best Inspirational Performance - "He's a Rebel" (1983)
    • Best Dance Recording - "Carry On" (1998)

    American Music Awards:

    • Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist (1979)
    • Favorite Female Soul/R&B Artist (1979)
    • Favorite Disco Female Artist (1979)
    • Favorite Disco Female Artist (1980)
    • Special Award of Merit (1984)

    MTV Video Music Awards:

    • Best Female Video - "She Works Hard for the Money" (1984)

    NAACP Image Awards:

    • Outstanding Female Vocalist - Pop (1980)
    • Outstanding Performance in Music - Female (1984)

    Academy Awards:

    • Best Original Song - "Last Dance" (from the movie Thank God It's Friday) (1979) - Nominated

    Donna Summer was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

    These are just a few highlights of the awards and recognition Donna Summer received for her contributions to music. Her talent and impact on the industry were widely celebrated and acknowledged by her peers and fans alike.

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