Donna Summer dead at 63 from cancer – How I met and stalked her



Thank you for the music Ms Summer ……. Requiescat in pace

Legendary disco queen Donna Summer died this morning. TMZ are reporting she succumbed to the big C.  Lung cancer to be exact. I  had no idea she had cancer, but understand she had been keeping it under wraps and died while in Florida.

Even though I was never a huge fan of over over produced, synthesizer laden disco music, no one deserves the title Queen of Disco more than Donna Summer. Some of her music were the soundtrack of  my teenage and young adult days. What set her apart  from other disco singers, was that she could actually sing and her vocal range was epic.

Winter Melody was my torch song for many years, after been uprooted from West Africa when I was 16 to reluctantly return to London. I was miserable, I hated living in Britain, hated the cold, hated Hackney, school and most of all hated being away from my sweetheart whom I wrote to every day. I still tingle when I hear it and have played it over and over again today.

Back then music and the radio was my salvation, I spent just about every penny I had on music and what I couldn’t buy, I would record it on a cassette. Just as souvenirs you bring back from various vacations will always remind of where you went and what you did, album covers told a story and still do. For the ones I no longer have, I still find myself carried away to another time and place whenever I spot one. The cover of Four Seasons of Love which Winter Melody featured, still makes me smile. Downloading music today is so ordinary.

There isn’t the excitement of walking to a record store, watching the clerk put the record into the cover and you almost sprinting home, to listen to it over and over and over again while you become acquainted with the names of the song writers, back up singers, producers and just about everyone and everything involved in the production.

The stalking part? It wasn’t what you think, I’m not that crazy. In the late 80’s I met Donna Summer in the green room of TV station in Los Angeles. Yesterday someone said to me:  “Please tell me she was lovely and not a diva”. She was indeed lovely, gracious and generous with her time.

Almost a decade later, I spotted her around town and for some inexplicable reason decided to follow the car she was being driven in. I was about to abort my mission just about the time I saw 3 cop cars behind me. I’m sure it had nothing to do with my actions, but it made me exit at the next off ramp on the 101 and turn back home, before the ice cream in my trunk melted. What can I say it, was a lovely day and I wasn’t in any particular hurry  to be anywhere.

Although she was diagnosed 10 months ago, the world didn’t know she had cancer. Only her family were aware and reports I’m reading say she blamed 9/11and  toxic fumes from ground zero she inhaled, while living not too far from the scene. They say she was paranoid and a little OCD about air in New York following the attack and would spray all types of disinfectant in the air. She was also a smoker and I’m sure visited more than her share of smokey clubs back in the day. In my books, being a disco queen earns you some degree of eccentricity.

She died in Key West.  If I’m lucky enough to have time to plan my last days, Key West at sunset or sunrise with an ocean view, won’t be a shabby way to go.


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