Donna Summer was my gay generation’s very own diva.
As baby boomers came out en masse in the spinny ‘70s, disco emerged along with us, becoming our music, then (for a moment) America’s. And Summer, who died of cancer Thursday at 63, was its signature voice.
Her vocals blended breathy with earthy, humanizing producer Giorgio Moroder’s signature robotic/melodic beats. The pulse he helped perfect goes on (and on) in contemporary pop, but Summer’s season was brief: The hits pretty much stopped after many gay men were disappointed, if not betrayed, by some born-again homophobic remarks she later denied.
She still made records and toured periodically, but the party was over, along with the era.
For gay men of a certain age, however, Summer has never really gone away.
The "Queen of Disco" still reigns on our collective soundtrack; her songs will forever remind us of those hot nights we danced together 'til dawn, free at last.
Rest in peace, girlfriend.