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Donna Summer Documentary, 'Love to Love You' Premiering In May

Donna Summer Documentary, 'Love to Love You' Premiering In May

05/01/2023 12:00 AM EDT by Niani Patterson

Donna Summer, 'The Queen of Disco,' is the subject of a new HBO Max documentary. The film, Love to Love You, Donna Summer, will take an in-depth look into the iconic artist's voice and artistry. Directed by Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams and Donna Summer's daughter, Brooklyn Sudano, the documentary premieres May 20. The official trailer, below, was released on April 28.

In 1975, Summer recorded "Love to Love You Baby," as a demo for another artist unaware that this would be the inception to her stardom. Producers, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, liked Summer's demo version so much that they decided to make it her song instead. This track, followed by "I Feel Love," yielded her breakthrough success in international music markets.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Summer scored enormous success with hits such as "Last Dance", "Bad Girls", her version of "MacArthur Park", "Hot Stuff", "Heaven Knows", "Dim All the Lights", "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" with Barbra Streisand, and "On the Radio."

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Working hard for the money

After witnessing a sleeping bathroom attendant at a restaurant, Summer recorded "She Works Hard For The Money." Summer was dining at Chasen’s Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California when she noticed Onetta Johnson, the attendant. Summer commented, “I looked around a corner and saw this little black woman sitting, fast asleep, in a chair in front of the droning television set,” she recalled. “So I said to Susan, ‘She works hard for the money,’ then it dawned on me that this was a great song title.”

The feminist anthem track was the lead single for her eleventh studio album. The hit record reached number one on the Billboard R&B singles chart and received a Grammy nomination.

Towards the 90s, Summer released three albums Mistaken Identity, Christmas Spirit, I'm a Rainbow, which all received little commercial success. From the late 90s to the early 2000s, she embarked on tours, made TV appearances (Family Matters, VH1 Divas) and collected her accolades (Dance Music Hall of Fame, Hollywood Walk of Fame).

Summer's music has been sampled over 350 times, the latest being Beyonce's "Summer Renaissance."

On May 12th, 2012, Summer died at her home in Florida from lung cancer.

Official Trailer HBO

Watch on YouTube