‘Love To Love You’ Shares the Personal Side of Late Disco Queen Donna Summer

DONNA SUMMER - ALIVE AND MORE, Donna Summer, 01-08-1980.
(c)ABC Television/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Airing on HBO this Saturday, May 20, Love to Love You, Donna Summer is a deeply personal portrait of the queen of the disco revolution. Providing a rich window into the surprising range of her artistry, from songwriting to painting, while exploring the highs and lows of a life lived on the global stage, the film is codirected by her daughter and features a wealth of photographs and never-before-seen home video footage, often shot by Summer herself.

LaDonna Adrian Gaines, better known to music lovers as Donna Summer, got her start in the ’60s as a stage actress and lead singer of a psychedelic rock band. But it took a 1968 move to Germany for the beautiful Bostonian to find her true musical calling. Landing in Munich to perform in a production of the wildly popular musical Hair, Summer met Italian composer Giorgio Moroder, who was dabbling with synthesizers and early electronic dance music.

Moroder and his partner Paul Bellotte coproduced two of Summer’s most sensual and iconic hits, “I Feel Love” and “Love to Love You Baby,” which became dance smashes throughout Europe. By the time Summer returned to America, she was a radio star. Irresistible tracks like “Last Dance,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls,” “On the Radio” — and even her version of “MacArthur Park,” Jimmy Webb’s pop oddity that likened heartbreak to a cake out in the rain — all cracked the Billboard Top 10 and crowned Summer as the Queen of Disco.

She died in 2012 at the age of 63.

Her Early Life in Pictures

 Donna Summer (nee Gaines)*31.12.1948-Singer, Pop Music, Disco, USAperformance in the musical "Hair", Munich- 1966

Rainer Binder/ullstein bild/Getty Images

Donna got her start in the 1968 German production of Hair.


Donna Summer (nee Gaines)*31.12.1948-Singer, Pop Music, Disco, USAsinging at the microphone- 1966

Rainer Binder/ullstein bild /Getty Images

While living in Germany she recorded her first single, a cover of “Aquaris” from the Hair Soundtrack.


Donna Summer performs on stage, circa 1975.

GAB Archive/Redferns

Performing in 1975.


Donna Summer and Cher during 1978 Disco Convention Banquet at New York Hilton Hotel in New York City, New York, United States.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Donna Summer and Cher during 1978 Disco Convention Banquet at New York Hilton Hotel in New York City.


American singer and songwriter Donna Summer with her daughter Mimi(she had with German actor Helmut Sommer).

MSI/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

With Daughter Mimi.
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