In 1977 Donna Summer released a single that changed the sound of dance music forever. It abandoned disco’s funky roots in favor of a driving electronic pulse. Summer’s voice and a kick-drum were the only things on “I Feel Love” not created by a synthesizer, recalls the song’s composer, Giorgio Moroder. “Everything you hear is electronic,” Moroder says, “the bass, the high-hat, the snare, which at that time, nobody did.”
Musicologist Eric Weisbard says she “pushes so hard at the top of her voice, that you are amazed and not quite sure what you’re hearing.” Brian Eno famously predicted that it would change the sound of club music for 15 years; he undershot by decades. The thunderous beat and distant ethereal vocals are still the language of today’s dance music.
“I Feel Love” was chosen for preservation in 2012 in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Donna Summer will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next spring.
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