Donna Summer Hub

Disco Queen Donna Summer Dead At 63

RIPDonnaSummerDonna Summer, the singer whose classics 'I Feel Love' and 'Last Dance' were the soundtrack for millions of disco-goers, has died.

TMZ reported this morning that 63-year old Summer passed after a battle with cancer.

Despite being loved by many gays for her hits, Summer had a complicated history with the LGBT community. In 1980, she reportedly told a crowd of gay people in her audience.

"I've seen the evil homosexuality come out of you people... AIDS is your sin," The Advocate quoted her as saying. "Now don't get me wrong; God loves you. But not the way you are now," she allegedly said. Years later, in 1989, she denied making the remarks. It was "a terrible misunderstanding," she wrote in a letter to ACT UP.

"If I have caused you pain, forgive mea terrible misunderstanding. I was unknowingly protected by those around me from the bad press and hate letters... If I have caused you pain, forgive me."

AFTER THE JUMP, one of Summer's greatest hits, "She Works Hard For The Money."

Continue reading "Disco Queen Donna Summer Dead At 63" »

Music News: How Gay Is Katy Perry? Plus, Nas, Pet Shop Boys, Jennifer Hudson, The Ting Tings


GuestbloggerRobbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

Beginning last year, I'd been getting pitches from a publicist dealing with online press for an artist called Katy Perry and her song "Ur So Gay." To be completely honest, I just didn't dig the song. But as the title might imply, I also started wondering whether or not I was right to feel a bit offended by the lyrical premise -- a female telling off her H&M scarf-wearing boyfriend with the insult, "You're so gay and you don't even like boys," implying that he'd rather spend time with his friends and "MySpace-ing," etc. I basically chalked it up to me being a bit uptight, the song not being my thing, and moved on.

But the pitches kept coming. Soon Katy was signed to Capitol Records, a major label, and the press releases started mentioning Perez Hilton was touting her as a next big thing for summer 2008. In an interview with Blender, Perry, who turns out to be a pastor's daughter, exclaims, "I'm completely outrageous and I'll do anything for attention!"

Now the singer's got a heavily-promoted single called "I Kissed A Girl" (not a Jill Sobule cover), though it doesn't have a video. But rather than expound upon what I think of a seemingly heterosexual 23-year-old woman singing about her drunken female conquest, "I don't even know your name, it doesn't matter/You're my experimental game," I thought I'd turn it over to see what you, the Towleroad reader, think.

Are Katy Perry's lyrics offensive, or are they just silly, gimmicky pop songs by a self-proclaimed attention seeker to be taken with a grain of salt? Clips of "Ur So Gay" and "I Kissed A Girl" are below.

Two things to think about: 1.) A bit of digging finds that Katy Perry released an album of Christian music a few years back under the name Katy Hudson. 2.) Would your thoughts on the level of offense, if any, be different if it were a straight male artist singing either song (particularly if the latter were "I Kissed A Boy")?

Incidentally, Katy Perry's album, One Of The Boys, is out in June.

Ferras1road.jpg Hip hop star Nas drops the original controversial title for his new album.

road.jpg The Pet Shop Boys are working on new material with frequent Sugababes' collaborators Xenomania. Meanwhile, clips from a 2006 episode of U.K. program The South Bank Show on Dusty Springfield have popped up on YouTube, wherein the Boys discuss what it was like working with the singer on her 1991 album, Reputation.

road.jpg Recording artist Ferras (pictured left) -- whose track "Hollywood's Not America" you likely recognize as this season's American Idol good-bye song -- took to his MySpace blog Friday to dedicate the new single "Liberation Day" to the overturning of California's ban on same-sex marriage: "YAY!!!!!!!!!! ITS LIBERATION DAY EVERYONE!!!! WAKE UP!!!!!! It's 'LIBERATION DAY' for GAY PEOPLE everywhere!!!! The road to liberation day has been a long one, filled with tears and a great fight, but one that thankfully does not include giving up hope. Today, the end of the road is a little bit closer. Today, two people in love can finally be recognized just like everyone else. Its about love, acceptance and life. This is not only about a piece of paper, its about human rights. Its about rejoicing in the beauty of each and every person living on this planet! Its about individuality and the right to exist! Gay people are citizens just like everyone else and should be afforded the same rights. Without recognizing gay marriage as a legitimate expression of love, partnership and equality, we are still living in the dark ages-communicating a message of intolerance and hate. It's 2008. Its a new time. A new era. A time to wake up and 'throw your illusions away.' May all beings rejoice and be happy, as we get one shot- one life- to be all we can be, be the best humans we can be and to love and be loved equally, as we all bleed the same blood. To all my gay and lesbian peeps- this ones for you. All my love and respect, FERRAS"

road.jpg Darren Hayes will appear as a guest judge on the upcoming season of Austalian Idol, along with fellow Aussie Tina Arena. The London-based singer will help suss out talent in the U.K. for the program: "As an Australian entertainer living in London I definitely have a soft spot for Aussies trying to make it overseas. Rather than judging people, I'm going to be looking for that little bit of magic that someone once saw in me."

road.jpg Janet Jackson's going on tour: "It will definitely be a big production but it will definitely also be something that I've never done before, that people have never seen from me before." Don't they all say that?

road.jpg Jennnifer Hudson's album due out in September: "I think people will be pleasantly surprised, because it shows a side of my work that no one has heard before." Now, hold on a second...!

Ting_tingsroad.jpg TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:

The Ting Tings' debut set, We Started Nothing. The dancey pop/rock duo have the current #1 single on the U.K. chart with "That's Not My Name," while they're also enjoying a sizeable stateside hit with "Shut Up And Let Me Go," thanks to its inclusion in an Apple commercial.

Donna Summer's Crayons, her first studio album of pop material since 1991's Mistaken Identity.

Stop Drop And Roll from Foxboro Hottubs. The big "secret" is that it's actually Green Day doing punk-infused, '60s-sounding bubblegum.

Liverpool electro quartet Ladytron's fourth LP, Velocifero.

Actress Scarlett Johansson's album of Tom Waits covers, Anywhere I Lay My Head.

Jesse McCartney's Departure. McCartney is currently enjoying the success of having co-written Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" with OneRepublic's "Ryan Tedder."

New singles from Aimee Mann ("Freeway"), Solange ("I Decided, Pt. 2") and Judas Priest ("Visions").

Music News: Coldplay Continue To Give Away Their Music, Plus Madonna, Donna Summer, Clay Aiken


GuestbloggerRobbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

NmeLast week Coldplay offered up "Violet Hill," their first single off forthcoming album Viva La Vida, Or Death And All His Friends, as a free download for seven days on their official site. It was reportedly downloaded by two million people, where "It would have outsold the whole of last week's [UK] top 40 (singles) four times over." The band continue to give the track away this week -- at least in their home country -- as a 7" vinyl single packaged in with British rock journal New Musical Express.

NME usually washes up on these shores in bookstores and newsstands with an inflated import price. The Coldplay issue offers new photos of the band and a brand new look for the mag: "Not only have we launched a brand spanking new-look magazine this week that’s seen us strip everything back to let the words and photography shine through, we’ve also added a whole load of new features to give you even more news, bands and gigs than ever before. Plus, to top it all off, the pièce de résistance is a FREE, 7-inch vinyl copy of Coldplay’s new single, 'Violet Hill.'"

Back here in the States, "Violet Hill" and a "single edit" of new track, "Viva La Vida", were added to iTunes. The latter is being offered for free with pre-orders of the album.

road.jpg Yee-owch! Here's an interview MTV's John Norris did with Madonna and Justin Timberlake. Madge doesn't seem too jazzed to be talking to Norris, as she gets a tad frosty with him toward the end. (Of course, that might expain why the awful, out-of-key singing moment was then used in the montage.)

Meanwhile, with first-week sales of 280,000, Billboard reports today that Madonna's Hard Candy has topped the album chart, giving her a seventh #1 on that tally. As far as female artists, only Barbra Streisand has had more chart-topping albums, with eight total.

Crayonsroad.jpg Amongst others, Donna Summer worked with producer Greg Kurstin on Crayons, her first album of original material in 17 years (due out May 20). Kurstin recently produced tracks on Kylie Minogue's X. "Stamp Your Feet," the current single off Crayons, pretty much makes you wanna do just that, though they could have done without the video.

road.jpg New Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical originally set for a 2009 debut has been delayed.

road.jpg Last show ever by The Police to benefit New York arts, while the band also donates to Bloomberg's MillionTreesNYC.

road.jpg In a one-star (out of five) review, the New York Daily News assesses Clay Aiken's new CD, On My Way Here: "From the new songs' lyrics, we discover that Aiken has 'seen the best and the worst' of life. He has walked 'through fire,' 'risen from the ashes' and felt 'the weight of the world' on his shoulders. Along the way, he also discovered that 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' which finally led him to realize, 'by the grace of God go I.'
If the universe holds any more survivor cliches, I've never heard them."

road.jpg What are your iPod habits and desires?


"Take A Bow", a new single from Rihanna off the upcoming re-release of Good Girl Gone Bad. (Not a Madonna cover.)

Gavin DeGraw's self-titled third album.

Home Before Dark, Neil Diamond's latest set of original material, produced by Rick Rubin.

Sony's 20th anniversary enhanced CD/DVD version of Midnight Oil's Diesel And Dust.

The always-charming Toby Keith's 35 Biggest Hits.

Towleroad Guide to the Tube #248

JON STEWART: A portion of his appearance on Larry King Live last night in which he talks about Obama and the election. The other portions of the show here.

THE HUCK DANCE: Donna Summer and Mike Huckabee, two things that should never go together. (source: slog)

MICHAEL MOORE: Wants to bring Fidel Castro to the Oscars.

PRAIRIE VIEW A&M: Students march more than 7 miles to protest a decision by Waller County, Texas that they felt hindered their right to vote in early voting. More at AmericaBlog.

Check out our previous guides to the Tube here.

News: Queer Eye to Wed, Prince Harry, Donna Summer...

Perryroad.jpg Commenting on the White County High School gay-straight alliance battle, GOP candidate for Georgia Attorney General compares gay-straight alliances to pedophile or gambling clubs: "I think the problem here, and I think where the court substantially erred, is that the intent of the Act was never to allow organizations that advocate illegal activity [to have campus access]. And in Georgia, sex between minors is illegal; statutory rape laws apply. Homosexual activist clubs in schools are detrimental to students and to the moral well-being of society."

Harry_bellyroad.jpg Prince Harry back in the saddle...

road.jpg Queer Eye grooming guru Kyan Douglas plans May 'wedding' to his partner of two years, Greg Durham.

road.jpg A court in Riga today will hear cases against six anti-gay protestors who disrupted gay rights events over the weekend of July 22 by throwing eggs, excrement, and rotten fruit, and trailing participants in vehicles while verbally assaulting them.

road.jpg Bob Hoven, founder and publisher of Palm Springs gay publication MegaScene, has died of natural causes at his home. He was 75.

road.jpg Donna Summer gets new record deal, to release album in Spring 2007.

road.jpg Blogger/activist Josh Wolf thrown in jail for refusing to hand over videotape to the FBI: "Wolf doesn't want to give up the complete, unedited version of the tape. He believes the federal government is indiscriminately monitoring antiwar groups under suspicion of terrorism, and as a journalist he shouldn't be forced to surrender unused footage in support of that investigation. He won't say, though, what's on the 15 or more minutes of the confidential portion of video."


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