A Tribute to Donna Summer who died on May 17, 2012 from lung cancer.
05.21.12 Hola. The dance floor always filled up when Donna Summer’s sensual and erotic Love To Love You Baby was played by the DJ at the Lost & Found discothèque in the District of Columbia (known to locals as The District or DC) here in the Estados Unidos/U.S.
This was in the late 1970s when I lived in The District. My friends and I would go to the Lost & Found gay discothèque over in South East DC every weekend, usually Friday and Saturday nights. The Lost & Found was one of the main gay discos in The District and was located in a warehouse area (which I suppose was good so as not to disturb anyone). The place would usually be packed regardless of the time of year. We danced to all of the new music week after week. The DJ, Bill Owens, kept very current on new artists as well as music from previous artists being released. It seemed like there was new music coming out every week or so from artists. It was a very active time for disco music and The District was on top of it as well as New York, San Francisco and other major cities. At the Lost & Found, the DJ’s booth was up against the dance floor so if I wanted to see what Bill Owens was playing I would look through the glass at his turntables and try to see the artist and title while it was spinning around (that was not an easy thing to do), or Bill would notice I was trying to see what it was he was playing and he would hold up the LP cover for me through the glass so I could get the artist/title. He was very cool about that.
I would usually buy the LPs of my favourite music that the Lost & Found had played, and that I especially liked. The record store I bought from that specialized in the disco genre was near the metro station at Connecticut Avenue at K Street North West. That record store was the first to get the latest hits in from the disco artists. They would often have or could get the special extended versions of music used by the Lost & Found’s DJs. I’d call the store from work and ask about something I’d heard and really liked on the previous weekend and they’d tell me, “yes, it will be in today at 4.00pm,” and I’d take the metro over to Connecticut and K and go to their store (I think it was called Gary’s Music) and they’d have it. They were quite reliable and they did charge quite a bit for their quick service. It was a very exciting time for me and for dance music.
My friends and I would dance to all of Donna Summer’s music including Love To Love You Baby. One of my friends especially liked that. I also liked Vicky Sue Robinson’s Turn The Beat Around and her later hit Should I Stay, Should I Go? The two pieces are very similar so much so that the talented DJ (Bill Owens) at the Lost & Found was able to “mix” the two together so that one song answered the other. Well I heard his “mix” and I said, “oooooh I like that.” I want that too, but that wasn’t available. That was the “art of DJ Bill Owens” at his Technics turntables. That “mix” was not recorded unfortunately; it was something Owens created in the DJ Booth at the moment and I never heard it again. I also liked Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park Suite extended version (see below), I Feel Love (see below), The Ritchie Family (It’s the Best Disco in Town, and African Queen), The Village People, KC and the Sunshine Band, Ralph McDonald (Calypso Breakdown), Linda Clifford (If My Friends Could See Me Now), Thelma Houston, The Trammps (Disco Inferno, Burn baby Burn), Risky Changes (Bionic Boogey), George McRae (Rock Your Baby), Abba (Dancing Queen), Lolita Holloway (I may not be there when you want me, but I’ll be right on time!) and many, many others. Remember some of those? Everyone has their particular favourites. They are some of mine. But Ms. Summer (as a couple of my friends often called her) was one of the lead favourites at the Lost & Found. People would wait for Donna Summer’s music to be played, if they didn’t want to get hot from dancing and it did get pretty warm in there.
It’s been years since I’ve heard Love To Love You Baby, and I just listened to it as part of writing this (see video below). This is the long version that was played at the disco. It brought back memories, especially the vocal part (which begins at 11.55). I remember really enjoying that part on the dance floor. (Still do). I was studying choral music at that time and that part sounds rather choral with the vocals.
I don’t know how many of the artists from that era are still living, but their music (including Donna Summer’s music), certainly influenced my life and the life of many other people (including the pink barrio’s “what is is”). We were both very sorry to hear that Donna Summer died.
Fortunately, we have her music to remember her by and the memories of dancing to her music. So Donna, “Love to Love you Baby.”
Disco Music – The Lost & Found
“A generation of the District’s gay community met, partied, and danced at the club.”