Thursday, May 17, 2012

Au Revoir Youth

At this point it seems bizarre that things can still remind me of my youth, but here we go again.
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Donna Summer passed away today.  Ahh... we are going way back.  I had every Donna Summer album (LP) that wasn't a compilation - and a few that were.  I had the old 12" singles (where the BPM were noted (beats per minute - for disco mixing)).
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She was the Disco Goddess before disco sucked.  Her's was the last concert I saw at Universal Amphitheater - before they put the roof on.  PS - She had zero stage presence.  ZERO.  But what a voice!
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Donna Summer was the person that convinced me that we respond to voices in a highly personal manner.  I loved the sound of her voice - and some people hated it. But when she sang, and the music changed from slow to upbeat to fast (On the Radio, McArther Park, Last Dance....) - well there was hope and fun and joy ramping up.  A whole wide wonderful world waiting for us to burst out onto.
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If you listen now, her music (like all 1970s disco!) is pretty thin and annoying, but it was heaven at the time.  I spent hours -weeks maybe - dancing to her.  I drove my roommates crazy.
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I remember that I wasn't yet 21 when the Bad Girls album came out, but friends and I went to the "Odyssey" a huge, under-21 disco - and they played all 4 sides in a row.  And it was wonderful.  Then, at 2AM, when the old people came from other clubs, they did it again and we danced until dawn.
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Then came AIDS, and Donna said was gay's own fault because we went against God's wishes.  And all of us who had lost friends and family were crushed.  A little heartsick by having this icon of joy saying it was our own fault - as we watched people shrivel away to nothing.  And a big happy memory was turned into a big steaming pile of shit.  I suppose we never forgave Donna Summer.  I know I never bought another album of hers (except ones from Casablanca, where she didn't get an residuals - and yes, I checked it every time).
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And so a reminder of my youth passes away - and I am sorry that I can't morn more.  How can you morn someone who said that your lover deserved to die?  I morned losing that wonderful and hopeful voice years ago.
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But my thoughts do go out to her family.  She was a talented and family oriented mother who will be missed.  Dear Lovely Woman, with the Golden Voice - I hope you found peace.

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