Donna Summer (née LaDonna Adrian Gaines; December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012) was an American singer and songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the late 1970s. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the United States Billboard album chart and charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 13-month period. Summer is estimated to have sold 130 million records worldwide.
Born into a devoutly Christian middle class, African American family in Boston, Massachusetts, Summer first became involved with singing through church choir groups before joining a number of bands influenced by the Motown Sound. Influenced by the counterculture of the 1960s, she became the front singer of a psychedelic rock band named Crow and moved to New York City. Joining a touring version of the musical Hair, she spent several years living, acting and singing in West Germany, where she met music producer Giorgio Moroder. She also married Helmut Sommer, an anglicized version of whose surname she adopted as her stage name.
Returning to the United States, Summer co-wrote the song "Love to Love You Baby" with Pete Bellotte. Music producer, Giorgio Moroder, convinced her to sing it herself, and it was released in 1975 to mass commercial success, particularly on the disco scene. Over the following years Summer followed this success with a string of other hits, such as "I Feel Love", "MacArthur Park", "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", "Dim All the Lights" "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" and "On The Radio". Becoming known as the "Queen of Disco" she regularly appeared at the Studio 54 nightclub in New York City, while her music gained a global following within the gay community. She struggled with depression, and subsequently she became a born-again Christian in 1980.
Diagnosed with lung cancer, Summer died on May 17, 2012, at her home in Naples, Florida. She was posthumously described as the "undisputed queen of the Seventies disco boom" who reached the status of "one of the world's leading female singers." Moroder described Summer's work with him on the song "I Feel Love" as "really the start of electronic dance" music.
In 2013, Summer was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.