Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rock History

The Sudano Family

Something to share, posted by Bruce Sudano's page to all Donna Summer fans. 

We're Gonna Win, One World Demo Full

A demo of a medley "We're Gonna Win" written by Paul jabara & Jay Asher and "One World" written by Paul Jabara & Bob Esty. Produced & Played by Bob Esty, for Donna Summer!! Who sang the demo track on 6/23/1990. Never released.

Paul Jabara Official Website

Paul Jabara

We cannot properly memorialize Donna Summer without mentioning Paul Jabara, the late  songwriter and performer who won the Academy Award for Best Original Song after his Last Dance was performed by Summer in the  disco movie, Thank God It's Friday. Jabara had a bit part in the film and his own track, Trapped In The Stairway, was included on the terrific soundtrack.

Paul Jabara (January 31, 1948 – September 29, 1992) was an American actor, singer, and songwriter of Lebanese ancestry. He wrote Donna Summer's "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday (1978) and Barbra Streisand's song "The Main Event/Fight" from The Main Event (1979). He cowrote the Weather Girls hit, "It's Raining Men" with Paul Shaffer. Jabara's cousin and close friend Jad Azkoul is also a Lebanese-American musician specialising in classical guitar.


Jabara was in the original cast of the stage musicals Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. He took over the role of Frank-N-Furter in the Los Angeles Production of The Rocky Horror Show when Tim Curry left the production to film the movie version in England. He appeared in John Schlesinger's 1975 film, "The Day of the Locust", where he sang the production number "Hot Voo-Doo". In Thank God It's Friday he played the role of Carl, the lovelorn and nearsighted disco goer, and he also contributed as a singer on two tracks on the original soundtrack album.
Jabara starred in the 1981 comedy movie, Honky Tonk Freeway as a truck driver/songwriter T. J. Tupus, hauling lions and a rhino.

Songwriter and singer

Jabara wrote the book, music, lyrics and starred in an abortive Broadway musical, Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It) which played the Broadhurst Theatre in New York City in 1973. It closed in previews prior to its official opening and was never reviewed by the press. No recording was made of the score, which featured both Jabara's trademark disco music as well as more traditional Broadway-style numbers.
Jabara released his first album, Shut Out in 1977. Jabara's solo albums on the legendary disco label Casablanca Records include three duets with Donna Summer; "Shut Out" (1977), "Something's Missing" (1978) and "Never Lose Your Sense Of Humor" (1979).
In 1979, Jabara won both Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song performed by Donna Summer, "Last Dance". Jabara's album Paul Jabara & Friends, released in 1983, features guest vocals by a then-20 year old Whitney Houston. It also includes the song "It's Raining Men". That song was later re-recorded several years later by drag supermodel RuPaul and Martha Wash. Wash sang on the original recording as part of the group the Weather Girls.
Some other songs Jabara wrote for others to perform include:
  1. "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)", a duet by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer which was a Billboard number one hit;
  2. "Jinxed!", 1981, written for Bette Midler and her movie of the same name but never commercially released;
  3. "Work That Body", Diana Ross' 1982 hit single included on her album Why Do Fools Fall in Love;
  4. "Two Lovers" for Julio Iglesias (1984).

In 2005, a workshop of a musical entitled Last Dance played New York City. It was a musical assembled from Jabara's well known disco songs and told the story of a modern day teenager who goes back in time to spend one night at Studio 54.
Jabara received many awards for his work throughout his lifetime. He died of complications from AIDS in Los Angeles on September 29, 1992.


Studio albums

Soundtracks and compilations

  • Various Artists - Original Soundtrack - Thank God It's Friday (2 tracks as performer, 4 as composer, Casablanca Records, 1978)
  • Greatest Hits... and Misses (Casablanca Records/PolyGram, 1989)
  • The Casablanca Records Story (PolyGram, 1994)
  • Mother, Jugs and Speed soundtrack (Dance)

Donna Summer & Paul Jabara - Never Lose Your Sense Of Humor

 Duet of Donna Summer & Paul Jabara, recorderd in 1979 for Jabara's Third Album.


"Shut Out" is a single from the Paul Jabara album of the same name and features special guest vocals by Donna Summer. On the album, it is used as the first half of a medley another with another song called "Heaven is a Disco."
Paul Jabara would later be responsible for writing two of Summer's biggest hits - Last Dance" and the duet with Barbra Streisand "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)."

Donna Summer and Bruce Sudano

Bruce Charles Sudano (born September 26, 1948) is an award winning American singer-songwriter, record producer and arranger noted for creating songs for some of the most famous artists in the world such as Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Reba McIntire and his wife, the Grammy Award winning singer Donna Summer, Sudano is the founder of indie record label Purple Heart Recording Company.

Sudano was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York to Margaret and Louis Sudano. At the age of four Sudano learned to play his first instrument, the accordian, and often found himself practicing while his peers played outside. He also learned to play piano and guitar. He soon developed a reputation in his community as a talented musician and got his first paid gig at the age of twelve.
By the mid-1960s, Sudano was playing bass guitar in his first band Silent Souls. He spent much of his time rehearsing and was soon playing live shows at New York nightclubs.
While playing at the The Cheetah, Sudano met Tommy James of Tommy James and the Shondells. Sudano became the protégé of James, who had penned the classic pop songs "Mony, Mony" and "I Think We're Alone Now". While working his way through college at St. Johns University, Sudano learned to craft songs with James at Allegro Studios.
In 1969, whilst still a teenager, Sudano scored his first hit on the music charts with the song "Ball of Fire" which he co-wrote with his mentor.

Alive N Kickin'

In 1968 Sudano became the keyboard player in the pop rock band Alive N Kickin', which he co-founded with Pepe Cardona. Tommy James wrote a song for the band called "Tighter, Tighter" with Bob King. James also produced the track and sang backing vocals. The song was released on Roulette Records in 1970 and went to #1 on the music charts.
Alive N Kickin' did a promotional tour of the United States as the opening act for Chicago and Frank Zappa. However, Sudano left Alive 'N Kickin' in 1972 and moved to Los Angeles, California where wrote and performed folk songs as a solo singer.
In 1973, Sudano returned to Brooklyn where he continued performing but also began rehearsing with Joe “Bean” Esposito, Eddie Hokenson and Louis Hokenson.

Brooklyn Dreams and Donna Summer

In 1977, Sudano, Esposito and Eddie Hokenson moved to Los Angeles, formed the band Brooklyn Dreams and signed a recording deal with Millennium Records.That same year, Skip Konte of Three Dog Night produced their first self-titled debut. The trio scored a modest hit with the single "Music, Harmony and Rhythm", which they performed on American Bandstand.
On March 13, 1977 Sudano met Donna Summer, who was signed to Casablanca Records.Casablanca was the distributor for Sudano's label Millenium Records. The Brooklyn Dreams and Summer immediately began writing songs together and within a few months Sudano and Summer were dating. In 1978, the band penned "Take It to the Zoo" with Summer for the Thank God It's Friday soundtrack. The same year, the Brooklyn Dreams appeared in the movie "American Hot Wax". They scored a Top 5 hit when they appeared on the single "Heaven Knows" with Esposito and Summer singing a duet. The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became a certified million-selling Gold single in 1979.
In 1979, Brooklyn Dreams and Summer wrote the title track "Bad Girls" for the best selling album of Summers' career Bad Girls. In addition to the title track Sudano also co-wrote the songs "On My Honor"" with Summer and Harold Faltermeyer as well as "Can't Get to Sleep At Night" with Bob Conti.
When Millenium Records changed their distribution to RCA, the Brooklyn Dreams contract was tranferred to Casablanca Records. Under their new recording contract Brooklyn Dreams recorded three more studio LPs. They released two albums in 1979: "Sleepless Nights", produced by Bob Esty, and "Joyride" produced by Juergen Koppers, an engineer for Giorgio Moroder. In 1980, they made their fourth and final album "Won't Let Go" which they produced themselves. A song from this record, "Hollywood Knights" became the title track for the comedy The Hollywood Knights starring Tony Danza, Michelle Pfeiffer and Fran Drescher. In 2008, "Hollywood Knights" was sampled by Snoop Dogg on his song "Deez Hollywood Nights".
Brooklyn Dreams amicably disbanded in 1980 when Hokensen returned to New York after his mother passed away. Sudano and Summer continued writing songs together and were married the same year.

Solo Artist

Sudano was signed as a solo artist by RCA and released his first record "The Fugitive Kind" in 1981. It featured a song "Staring Over Again" that Sudano wrote with his wife Donna Summer about his parents divorce. In 1981, the song was recorded and released by Dolly Parton and hit #1 on the U.S. country charts on May 24, 1980. The song was recorded by Reba McIntyre in 1995 and hit the charts yet again.
Sudano spent two decades managing Summer's career. They toured together, with Sudano playing keyboards and singing background vocals.
In 1984, Sudano wrote "Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin' (Too Good to Be True)" with Michael Omartian. Jermaine Jackson and Michael Jackson recorded the song as a duet for the album Jermaine Jackson.The song was nominated at the 1985 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. In 1988, the song was covered by Robert Palmer.
In 2004, Sudano released a second solo record called "Rainy Day Soul" and scored three top ten Adult Contemporary hits and earned him the New Music Weekly 2004 Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year award.
Sudano's third solo record "Life and the Romantic" was released in 2009 and won the New Music Weekly Adult Contemporary Song of the Year award for the track "It's Her Wedding Day" which Sudano wrote about his daughter Amanda's marriage to her Johnnyswim bandmate Abner Ramirez. Johnnyswim performed with Sudano on the track "Morning Song". The song "A Glass of Red & the Sunset" and "Beyond Forever" have performed well on the smooth jazz charts.

Personal life

Three years after their first meeting, Sudano and Donna Summer were married by Pastor Jack Hayford on July 16, 1980 at The Church on the Way in Los Angeles, California. He became the step-father of Summer's daughter Mimi, from her first marriage to Austrian actor Helmut Sommer. Sudano and Summer had two more daughters together. Sudano and his family settled on a 56-acre ranch in Thousand Oaks, California.
Their first child, Brooklyn, was born on January 5, 1981 and named after Sudano's beloved hometown because, as Sudano explained, "Obviously I love Brooklyn. It was the name of my group. It’s the name of my daughter. I just love being from Brooklyn and all the things that Brooklyn represents in terms of just a basic real, honest, straightforward kind of person. Not pretentious yet artistic and wise and soulful all at the same time. Those are the kinds of things that have stayed with me throughout my whole life."
Their youngest daughter Amanda Grace was born on August 11, 1982.
In 1991 the family moved to Connecticut and remained there for four years. In 1995, they relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, keeping a second home in Englewood, Florida and later buying a third home in Manhattan.
On May 17, 2012, Donna Summer Sudano died from lung cancer. Summer and Sudano had been married for over 30 years and he paid tribute to her with a quote from Proverbs, 31:10-31, The Praises of a Virtuous Woman.
 Bruce Sudano performs his hit song, "It's Her Wedding Day", his father-of-the-bride dedication to his daughter, Amanda Grace.

The Wanderer 1980

"The Wanderer" is the title track from the 1980 album of the same name which was the first for her new label, Geffen Records, after recording her previous albums with Casablanca Records. Despite the label change, Summer continued to work with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte who had produced the majority of her disco hits in the late 1970s. However, "The Wanderer" marks a change in style for the queen of 70's disco, incorporating heavy New Wave styled synth riffs and a shuffling beat.
Vocally, it was a return to her understated 1975 debut sound - soft, whispery phrases were the norm in this song, taking on an almost Elvis Presley effect, instead of the power belt she had used often since her album Once Upon a Time and single "Last Dance".
This first single from the album became a big hit for Summer in the United States - peaking at Number 3 on the Hot 100 singles chart and selling over a million copies. A 12" promotional single was issued, however, unlike all her Top 40 hits prior to this one, it was not an extended version.

All Systems Go 1988

"All Systems Go" is the final single from the Donna Summer album of the same name. Edited from its original album version, it became a minor hit in the United Kingdom, where it reached #54 on the UK Singles Chart.

Super Natural Love 1984

"Supernatural Love" is the second single from Donna Summer's 1984 Cats Without Claws album. The typically 1980s synthesised song was remixed for its release as a single and became a minor hit in the US. It was accompanied by a very colourful video again featuring Donna and husband Bruce Sudano as a star-crossed couple chasing each other through time - from the stone age into current 80's New Wave.

Donna Summer, at home 7

Donna Summer, at home, Los Angeles --- Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis © Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Donna Summer, at home 6

Donna Summer, at home, Los Angeles --- Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis © Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Donna Summer, at home 5

Donna Summer, at home, Los Angeles, roller skating with husband Bruce Sudano --- Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis © Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Donna Summer, at home 4

Donna Summer, at home, Los Angeles --- Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis © Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Donna Summer at home 3

Donna Summer at home --- Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis © Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Donna Summer, at home 2

Donna Summer, at home, Los Angeles, with husband Bruce Sudano and daughter Mimi --- Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis © Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

Donna Summer, at home.

Donna Summer, at home, Los Angeles, roller skating with husband Bruce Sudano --- Image by © Neal Preston/Corbis © Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

She Works Hard for the Money

Beautiful Donna


(a tribute book celebrating Donna Summer's recording and artistic achievements and traces her creative journey in the world of entertainment)

Donna Summer – the accidental gay icon

Donna Summer: 'Something about the music she fashioned during disco's supremacy touched a mass gay chord at gut level.' Photograph: Richard E Aaron/

Unlike modern stars, Summer never courted a gay audience but her transcendental disco was perfectly in tune with gay culture

Earlier this year rumours began to spread that Donna Summer was in negotiation to take the Sunday headlining spot at the summer music festival, Lovebox. The potential signing was symbolic. Sunday at Lovebox is "gay day". Donna Summer's relationship with her fulsome gay fan-base had been fractious ever since there had been rumours of ill-advised comments about the Aids crisis – comments, it should be said, that she denied ever having made.
In 2012, some 30 years later, the time seemed right for any forgiving or forgetting between the two. The possibility of her doing it to a cherry-picked soundtrack of her unimpeachable back catalogue in an east London park, in front of 10,000+ giddy local homosexuals still in thrall to her talent (if not necessarily her PR technique) felt like redemption.
Like her pop stardom, Summer's early gay iconography was not something she hankered after. It was something she was presented with. She didn't craft her ripe talent to a specific audience. It found her on account of it. In a post-Madonna pop universe it seems almost unthinkable that such a thing could happen, but Donna Summer was an accidental icon.
Something about the music she fashioned during disco's supremacy – its poise, gravity and open sex content – touched a mass gay chord at gut level. When Diana Ross sang "I'm Coming Out" or "I Want Muscles" she did it with a sleek wink. She was sensationally market savvy. When Grace Jones recorded an album of growling show tunes to a disco score, its gay intent could not have been more succinct. When Donna Summer breathily intoned her climactic songbook, however, she did it under the tutorship of a hot-blooded heterosexual producer and his faithfully married lyricist in a sterile Munich hit factory. Neither Summer nor Giorgio Moroder nor Pete Belotte were children of the night. They were simply blessed with a divine ability to intuit how 3am under a mirror-ball in a Metropolitan gay nightclub ought to sound, at its most sublime and transcendental. I Feel Love is still it.
Little touches that traced Summer's career breakout – Beverley's campy, chiffon singalong to Love to Love You Baby in Abigail's Party, the crisp guitar run of Hot Stuff that seemed to ridicule traditional rock posturing, the propulsive refrain "Toot, toot, beep, beep" – gave her a strange knowing, all the more poignant for not being designed for the gay market it touched hardest.
In the current pop climate, accessing a gay fanbase is seen as the first notch on the bedpost of future success. Just as junior hairdressers were back in Donna Summer's imperial heyday, aspiring pop singers are now routinely instructed by their handlers that this isn't the business for them if they have a problem with gay people. All the finest female solo artists of the last decade have been handed a copy of Grace Jones' One Man Show and the mesmerising 80s Vogue documentary Paris Is Burning on their first day at diva school, both stone-cold gay classics.
Donna's most obvious modern emotional successor Beyoncé – a beautiful, shy southern church girl with an uncanny ability to follow the rhythm of music and turn it into an approximation of pure sex – had to work hard to earn her righteous gay audience, including a spell under a drag-ish alter ego Sasha Fierce and a superb tribute to Summer herself, segueing one of her first hits Naughty Girl into Love to Love You Baby.
The great irony of Donna Summer's career is that when she left Casablanca records, where she had fashioned peerless gay disco music with the assistance of straight men, she was signed by the most ostentatious gay man in showbusiness, David Geffen. Under this most secular of patrons she returned her most spiritual work. It is almost impossible not to look back at Donna's incredible commercial and creative peaks as a motivational speech in how to do everything the wrong way round. Yet in this last accidental icon and her topsy turvy career something alchemical happened.
Gay men adored her. We continue to. Any potentially received betrayal that had occurred during her aggressive early 80s "god period" was felt only harder because we cared. Perhaps one aspect of her legacy, quite aside from the sensational music she made, will be this. Understanding gay culture, at its trashiest and most moving, is now required cultural reading for any pop performer with a keen eye on longevity. If it takes a fancy to you, the gay circuit will reward you again and again. None of these pre-fame lessons were at Summer's disposal. It was the 70s, a time before huge attitudinal shifts in racism, sexism and homophobia. Some little part of the latter probably happened because of her unfortunate fall from the pedestal of gay idolatry. In some peculiarly moving way she actually opened a door. Rest in peace.

Interview is from the Guardian

“Summer Fever” by Donna Summer – Disco Video Mix by Glenn Rivera

Donna Summer released her third US LP titled “Four Seasons Of Love” in 1976 – produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. This project gave Donna another chapter exploring the sensual sound of disco music during its experimental stages. It was a great success for both Donna and disco music.
I have taken the track “Summer Fever” and used it for a Disco Video Mix along with the Marilyn Monroe iconic film “Seven Year Itch” from 1955 – the film was a comedy and utilized Marilyn’s sexy image and persona to portray a fantasy within the mind of our questioning husband, Tom Ewell.
Donna Summer actually used the famous subway scene for the back of her “Four Seasons Of Love” LP cover which gave me the idea to combine the two in a dreamlike video.
The film was directed by Billy Wilder
Featuring scenes from “Seven Year Itch”
Disco Video Mix by Glenn Rivera
Produced by Ken Emmons

Donna Summer 1989 - Interview

Promoting 'This time I know it's for real', also featuring John Hurt

Rare Video Donna Summer

Donna Summer - Rare Video In 1977

Donna Summer Doll