Donna Summer, who died last week at the age of 63, was the definition of a producer fabricated pop star. Dsicovered by Giorgo Moroder in Germany in the early 1970s, he used her husky tey non-descript vocals as just another instrument in his wall of beats disco and changed the face of modern pop as thoroughly as its contemporary "Punk" did.
Look at Morodor this way: a cross between Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound and Andy Warhol's factory, manufacturing hits, made to measure as the most useful of objects: shiny bright stuff to move your body to and be discarded.
Donna Summer fronted these songs like an ice cold Nubian Princess even as she externalized a sexuality so complete in its hedonism and pursuit of blissed senses overdraft, it was embraced by the world in which the language of love, or at least desire was Universal.
It is to take nothing away from Donna to claim that the excellent 12 song Greatest Hits is as good as it gets and cements her as a manufactured Goddess but a great manufactured Goddess, a serene sensual shallow swim in sensuality, orchestrated by a svengali. To be the best is not nothing, it suggest to an actress like ability to be projected upon.
And it is the reason why who homophobic comments are, while ungrateful given her gay support, are essentially irrelevant: Donna Summer was a cioher and a sexual houdini,. She was one half of the 1970s (Johnny Rotten was the other) as surely as Prince was one half of the 80s and Biggie Smalls one half of the 90s. Her effect on dance through her (lack of presence) is definitive and the building blocks of Industrial, techno and house.