World of Chig   


“Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, fallin’ free, fallin’ free, fallin’ free”

#2 I Feel Love Donna Summer

[409] Writers: Giorgio Moroder, Pete Bellotte & Donna Summer. Producers: Giorgio Moroder & Pete Bellotte
09 Jul 77 – 11 weeks on chart – #1 for 4 weeks from 23 Jul 77

Donna Summer’s only UK #1 and what a scorcher it is. It still doesn’t sound dated, 25 years on. Just read the lyric here and you’ll be reminded how little there is to it, but who needs words when you have electronic sex for a backing track? Lost in the disco, you never know how long the DJ is going to play this track for. It seems to have no beginning, no middle and no end. It just pounds away until the next tune comes along. It’s so electronic, it sounds precise and pure, and yet funky and dirty at the same time. It’s electronica, and yet you’d never mistake it for Kraftwerk.

The remix version which made #21 in 1982 (catalogue number FEEL 7, missus) sounded, if I remember rightly, as if someone was HOOVERING over it. Dreadful. (He says, nudging the 7” single back into the record box before you see it…) I can’t for the life of me remember why a re-recording of ‘I Feel Love’ made it all the way to #8 in September 1995, can you?

The history bit: Donna Summer had burst onto the scene in 1976 with the very rude indeed ‘Love To Love You Baby’. Like ‘Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus’ before it (our #40=) and Lil’ Louis’ ‘French Kiss’ many years later, it wasn’t so much a song as an orgasm set to music. Instant gay popularity followed and 20 hits in five years, and then it all became horribly complicated.

The HIV virus was first recognised in 1981 and it wasn’t long before born again Christian Donna instantly alienated everyone who had kept her career going, by declaring that AIDS was God’s revenge on homosexuals. Many years later, she tried to maintain that she never did say that, she was misreported, she doesn’t believe it etc. It would all be plausible if it hadn’t taken her a decade and a half to come up with a poor excuse. It’s not like she actively DID anything to counter the impression given in the early eighties, when it would have been so easy to do so. She could have joined Princess Di in a visit to an AIDS ward or something. But she didn’t. Consequently, people stopped taking any notice and her career died a death.

It’s such a shame that we have to hate her, because her collected body of work is a mountain of brilliance. I have a confession to make, and I may well be exiled from the gay community because of it. Knowing how well this single had done in our poll, I forced myself to buy ‘Endless Summer – Donna Summer’s Greatest Hits’ in the HMV sale recently, despite having no news that the Official Gay Boycott has ever been lifted. It reminded me that ‘I Feel Love’, brilliant and groundbreaking as it is, possibly isn’t even my favourite Donna Summer track. ‘Love’s Unkind’ is another slice of bouncy, poppy excellence, then there’s the epic cover of ‘MacArthur Park’, and not one but TWO of my favourite sniffing poppers ‘being very drunk, singing along very loud and making very expressive movements on the dancefloor’ songs, ‘This Time I Know It’s For Real’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt’. Ahhhh, disco bliss. On top of that, ‘State Of Independence’ really IS one of my favourite tracks of all time, for the way it starts off as a funky plodder, then builds and builds and builds into a massive epic with a gospel chorus, and I’m not even religious. Also, who could forget Donna’s duet with Babs, ‘No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)’. She was even the first person to take ‘Could It Be Magic’ into the charts, two years before writer Barry Manilow’s own version of it. (Apologies kids, if I’ve just shattered your illusion that Gary or Robbie wrote that one themselves.)

She’s even released a good single more recently, in the shape of ‘I Will Go With You (Con Te Partiro’, which visited the chart for a solitary week at #44 in October 1999. I had such good memories of seeing it on the video screen in a gay bar in Las Vegas that month, that I searched it out and bought it when I returned home. Oh, the double shame!

‘I Feel Love’ is the numero uno choice of my ex Chris, who went a bit Smashy and Nicey and described it as “Groundbreaking and orgasmic – quite liderally, mate!”
Seven other people voted for it too, with Tag and David both making it their #3, and Martin calling it “another classic”.

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