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Dan Taylor Remembers Donna Summer: His 2003 Interview

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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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We’re all saddened by the sudden loss of the great Donna Summer, whose illustrious career helped her amass five GRAMMY Awards and countless gold albums and singles.

I had the opportunity to interview her several times. In fact on her last visit to CBS-FM was while she was promoting her book Ordinary Girl: The Journey. Listen to her stories about growing up, her influence for writing “She Works Hard For The Money” and more in this interview. The other voice you’ll hear was Karen Stewart, who did news on my morning show at the time of this interview around 2003.

Listen to Dan Taylor’s entire 2003 interview with Donna Summer:

On the subject matter of Ordinary Girl:

“I’m not the kind of person by nature to be a ‘bare all’ type of person. I bare personal things, but not other people’s personal things… The book is to be looked at differently. It’s not a gossip or tell-all book. It’s a book about life.”

On her time in Greenwich Village:

“It was wild. It was probably a lot like it is today; people are trying to relive that reality. There were like 90 Lenny Kravitz in the park playing a guitar. It was just a really cool time to be there. I relish that particular period.”

On writing her song “Bad Girls:”

” I had the idea and went to my husband … we went into the studio one evening and just said ‘you know what, I want to write this song …’ It was based on a story of a girl that worked at our office that had happened that day actually. Police were bothering her. She was walking down Sunset Blvd. and they were just trying to pick her up … but they were harassing her and kind of treating her as if she were a prostitute, and this girl in no way looks like a prostitute. So it kind of irritated me enough to stimulate my mind and I started thinking about the girls who really do walk on that street. That how the song really came about.”

On writing “She Works Hard For The Money:”

“I was at a GRAMMY party and I walk into the ladies room and there is a little lady sitting in the corner. She’s kind of sleeping and women are coming in and out, they’re spraying perfume, they’re talking … she’s quietly there, the TV is on, her head is nodding. When I kind of walked around her I saw that she was actually sleeping and I thought to myself, ‘she works hard for the money.’ Then I said it again, ‘she works hard for the money, she works hard for the money!’ Then it dawned on me, ‘this is a hit!’ So I ran in the room and I got a pen from my manager, ran into the bathroom and got some toilet paper, and I started writing ‘She Works Hard For The Money’ and the concept of seeing this woman sitting there … The next day I go in (the studio), I take that one line ‘she works hard for the money,’ stand at the microphone and go ‘just play the music’ and I wrote the song at the microphone.”

 


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