I’m convinced that 2012 is killing off my favorite celebrities in order to prepare me for Cher’s inevitable demise. Although I don’t like to envision a world without her Cherness tweeting incoherently, I know it will happen eventually. But today, it’s all about the Donna Summer, whose death from lung cancer yesterday at the age of 63 shocked me, to say the least.
I’m a little bit too young to have properly experienced Donna Summer in real time. Although I knew all her classic disco hits, the first Donna Summer song that I really remember is 1983’s “She Works Hard For The Money.” Pretty sure that this song and its accompanying album was the project that Summer was promoting when she filmed a concert for HBO, something I saw a million times growing up (but not as many times as Dolly: Live In London)
However, I think my favorite Donna Summer story comes from the recording of her duet with Barbra Streisand “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” I was telling a friend about it yesterday and it’d been so long since I’d thought about it, I was afraid I’d made it up in my head. I searched online for it (using the dubious search term “donna summer no more tears stool”) and lo and behold, I’m not crazy.
One of that era’s most amusing stories centers on a duet Summer sang with Barbra Streisand in 1979, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).” Streisand was reluctant to sing the disco hit but her son Jason, then 13, insisted that his mother sing it with his favorite artist. While singing in facing stools in a California studio, Summer didn’t breathe correctly and, while trying to hold a note to match Streisand’s, she momentarily blacked out and hit the floor. Streisand, the consummate perfectionist, kept singing the note straight through to completion.
If anything good comes from Summer’s premature-at-63 death, perhaps it will finally coax Madonna and Cher into recording a cover of “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).” If this happens, I will die a happy man.
Something tells me I better not pin my happiness on this happening.
RIP Donna. Heaven is a little bit more disco fabulous today. My tribute to you is getting through the whole post without making a “Last Dance” pun.