Dim all the lights sweet darlin…

18 May

One of my regrets is not keeping every ticket stub from every concert I’ve ever been to.  I have a lot of great stuff in my box of mementos (miscellaneous stubs from concerts, plays, baseball games, etc.) but how I wish the set were complete.  In 1978 my dad presented my sister Julie and I with concert tickets ~ Dolly Parton for her and Donna Summer for me.  I was so excited to be attending my first concert.  In late ’78 Julie and I experienced the Dolly Parton show with Eddie Rabbitt as her opening act.  Dolly was a huge star at the time and Eddie’s star was just on the rise. While Dolly’s music was more Julie’s thing than mine, I was just thrilled to be able to tag along and be part of such a cool show.  I’ll never forget when she spoke of her very poor upbringing and then sang Coat of Many Colors.  A lasting impact to say the least.  She put on a great show, not only displaying her obvious talent and well-known humor, but she made the show a party.  She so enjoys being on stage performing, you can’t help but love her too.  You may not know it from all the big hair, long nails and straight from Nashville costumes, but that gal is 100% genuine.  Shortly thereafter, in early ’79 we caught the Donna Summer / Brooklyn Dreams show.  Now this was the concert I was waiting for.  To say I was a huge Donna Summer fan was, well let’s just say it’s an understatement.  Her voice was so strong and amazing. Everything you heard on stage was just as clear and powerful (!) as you knew from the record (no, not a CD yet) or the radio.  That girl had some pipes!  The stage was set like a Broadway show and she worked every part of it.  I was out of my seat singing along to Bad Girls, Dim all the Lights and Heaven Knows.  I was having the time of my life.  Dolly’s show was great, but this was just something else altogether.

In 1978 Donna was in a little movie called Thank God It’s Friday.  My guess is that most of you have never heard of it, and for the handful that have, only a few have actually seen it.  That’s okay, I more than made up for it.  I’ve seen this movie too many times to count.  It’s set in a disco in the 70s and Donna plays a singer just trying to get her song played by the DJ.  Spoiler alert… she gets her tape in the deck and begins singing along.  She brings down the house!  The song?  Last Dance.  Yea, you’ve heard of it.  It became a big hit.  And won her a Grammy.

Earlier this week I heard MacArthur Park on my way home from work.  As with all other Donna Summer songs, I immediately cranked the volume and began singing along.  I have to say that when I first heard this song in the 70s I couldn’t believe she was singing about a cake in the rain, but for the past 34 years, including Tuesday evening I gladly belted out…

“Someone left the cake out in the rain

I don’t think that I can take it, ‘cause it took so long to bake it

And I’ll never have that recipe again…”

Hey, give her a break ~ she didn’t write it, she just sang the hell out of it.   So much so, it became her first #1 hit.  Not too bad.

On this day, I’m filled with many different emotions.  Sad of course, for the loved ones she left behind.  Happy that she was such an inspiration for so many contemporary artists.  Glad I was able to really experience her music when her star shone the brightest and see her do her thing live!  I’m sad for me too, though.  I know when her songs come on the radio now, I’ll still crank up the volume to sing along as best I can, but I know at times I’ll get a little choked up because she’s gone.  RIP to the Queen of Disco.

“Dim all the lights sweet darlin’…”

~ Donna Summer

One Response to “Dim all the lights sweet darlin…”

  1. Morton Design Works May 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Wonderfully warm and touching tribute. Even for non-disco fans like myself, Donna Summer was something special. She transcended the genre. She was an amazing talent whose legacy will probably transcend time. There are few in the world as unique as she was.

    Very well written…thanks for sharing!

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