Female voices have long defined Giorgio Moroder’s chart career, none more so than the late great Donna Summer. Giorgio, along with writing partner Pete Bollette, helmed almost all of Donna’s best-loved hits over a prolific six year period, and he’s yet to find a more versatile singer.
“I knew Donna so well, and I could give her whatever I wanted and it would always sound great. I don’t know of an artist right now who would be able to do songs like MacArthur Park. Today the thought process for my new music is different, a lot of the acts want to write the melodies themselves. It’s a different era.”
“Bad Girls”, “Hot Stuff”, “Last Dance” are just a few of the iconic dancefloor fillers Giorgio and Donna recorded together, but which is his favourite?
“Love To Love You Baby” is a great song, it’s my claim to fame – my first big hit. It was my first chance to get into the business. I had some hits before but not a worldwide No. 1, so it’s certainly my favourite. But the ‘Bad Girls’ album is probably the best collection of songs we made, it had so many things and Donna wrote a lot of the songs herself.”
For clubbers it was “I Feel Love” with its synthesised pulse which broke new ground. “The secret to that track is in the mechanical futuristic rhythm,” nods Moroder. “Then the hook had to be great… and then you have a voice like Donna’s. But even then, it comes down to the timing and technology, and the whole disco movement was important, so with that one we were lucky. Brian Eno told David Bowie he heard the sound of the future with “I Feel Love”. I would have never thought I could do something like this.”
A professional highlight for Giorgio was breathing fresh electronic life into the band Sparks. At a career crossroads in 1978, the Mael brothers happened to tell a German journalist how much they loved Donna’s Summer’s “I Feel Love”. The writer was a good friend of Giorgio’s, and the message got through…
“These guys were great. They called me in LA and said they wanted to stop using so many guitars and do something with synthesisers.” Moroder remembers.
“So we rented a downtown studio. It didn’t look anything like a studio, but it had a huge collection of Moogs and modules plus a guy called Dan Wyman, the guy who gave us the sound. I played a few synthesisers, and Ron loved it – it was the most fun I remember having during that period. No. 1 In Heaven – I like to think I started the synthesiser career for them.”