Donna Summer: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

Donna Summer was one of the most memorable performers of all time. The singer, songwriter and painter spent a lot of her life in the spotlight; however, there are still some facts about her that many people do not know. Here, we present our list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about Donna Summer. Check out part one below, and stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

Number Fifteen: Her Real Name Is Not Donna Summer. Summer was actually born LaDonna Adrian Gaines. In 1972, Summer married Helmuth Sommer, but they divorced three years later. She then changed her last name from “Sommer” to “Summer.”

Number Fourteen: She Had Six Siblings. And with six siblings, she had very strict parents to keep all of them in line. She was raised in a strict Christian household in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Number Thirteen: She Looked Up to Motown Girl Groups. Because disco music was not yet a “thing” when Summer was growing up in the 1960s, she had to look up to the girl groups of Motown. She even formed a band with her cousin and sister styled after female Motown groups of the time, like The Supremes.

Number Twelve: She Made an Album That Was Never Released in the United States. Summer’s very first album was called Lady of the Night, and it was released in 1974. While the album did experience some success in Europe, it was never actually released in the United States! Crazy, right?

Number Eleven: She Fashioned One of Her Songs After Marilyn Monroe. Summer’s controversial but widely successful hit, “Love to Love You Baby,” was actually created with Marilyn Monroe in mind. Summer wanted to emulate the movie star’s sultry vibes when she sang it. She got so sultry, in fact, that the song was banned from several radio stations, and it was even called “a marathon of 22 orgasms” by TIME magazine.

Number Ten: She Was Addicted to Prescription Drugs. Due to her anxiety and depression, Summer eventually became dependent on prescription drugs. She even admitted that she attempted suicide several times in her memoir.

Number Nine: She Was in Family MattersThough not as famous as the character of Steve Urkel, Summer played Urkel’s Aunt Oona in the show.