Friday, December 2, 2011

Hot Stuff - Donna Summer

Donna Summer
(P. Bellotte, H. Faltermeyer, K. Forsey) Casablanca NB978


Chart Entry: 21st May, 1979
Highest Position: #1
Points: 102,269
From the album "Bad Girls".


With three top ten hits to her name, including the #1 smash, "I Feel Love", Donna Summer was able to steal the spotlight away from Abba just enough to be crowned Queen of the Disco era. It was a genre that Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones had successfully experimented with, so Donna decided to repay the compliment by reversing the roles on herself. There was room for another crown as "Hot Stuff" topped the charts and briefly made Donna the Queen of Rock!

Debuting in 1980, the Grammy Awards first Best Female Rock Vocal Performance drew usual suspects Rickie Lee Jones, Bonnie Raitt and Carly Simon as nominees, but it was Donna Summers' "Hot Stuff" that won the vote. Interestingly, 1980 also saw the short-lived Best Disco Recording award, won by Gloria Gaynor for "I Will Survive". It lasted just one year, so Donna never had a chance to become an official Disco victor, remaining a premiere rock performer in the eyes of the Grammys (Donna was nominated in the Rock category once again in 1982 for "Cold Love").

Grammys aside, "Hot Stuff" has slowly claimed its Disco status over time, introduced as "another Disco classic from the 70's" in the 1997 film The Full Monty. The famous scene involving members of the "dance troupe" in the unemployment line, commanded by Donna to practice their moves while queuing was almost cut from the film for being too unrealistic. It wasn't so "unrealistic" when Prince Charles helped re-create the scene at a press conference on his 50th birthday.

In Australia, "Hot Stuff" was used as the new slogan for the famous Four'N Twenty Meat Pie, Donna Summer's track used in the commercial filmed in 1981.

Donna Summer's fame came at a price, dealing with anxiety attacks and suffering an eventual nervous breakdown during the recording of the Bad Girls album. It was during this time that Donna became a born again Christian, however, it didn't stop the assertive content of Bad Girls, an album following the theme of a "working girl", most evident in the title track which segues from "Hot Stuff" on the 12" version. The album hit #1 on the US Billboard charts with sales topping three million copies, and became Donna's third and final top ten album in Australia (peaking at #6). But there was conflict in the Donna Summer camp that severely impacted her long term career.

Casablanca Records had taken care of Donna through four albums including Bad Girls, and one more greatest hits package released late in 1979. The label refused to co-operate with Donna on new material incorporating Religious themes and the further experimentation with the rock and New Wave genres. The union was dissolved under the agreement that one more album would be recorded, delivered in 1983 in the form of She Works Hard For The Money.

Controlled as she was, "Hot Stuff" would prove to be the peak of Donna Summer's career, her final #1 in Australia and third of four chart toppers in the US (all four in the space of one year!!!). Three more top ten hits graced the Australian charts, but Donna's career was more stops and starts during that time than the non-stop barrage of hits she enjoyed in the 70's. Luckily, "Hot Stuff" has always been there through the years to remind us of the Disco Queen Donna Summer undoubtedly was.


Chart Run: (22 weeks)
(Australian Music Report)

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