My Donna Summer phase was my junior year in college. I have an aversion to most new music, so while most of my friends were listening to The Killers or The Scissor Sisters in 2005, I was looking back at the '70s. There were the obvious ones: "Last Dance," "Bad Girls," and "Hot Stuff," but I was more partial to her disco-y ballads like, "Dim All The Lights" and "On The Radio." Walking around DC, where I was in college at the time with my first generation iPod, these songs telegraphed images of a glitzy, twirling, spotlit Summer. Something not of my time, basically.
When I studied abroad in Spain the next semester, I met a friend who shared my affinity for Donna Summer. She too knew all the words to songs like "MacArthur Park" and "Love To Love You Baby." Finally, someone else my age got it. One day on the city bus headed to school, with about half my class on board and the most gruff, wizened bus driver at the wheel, the song "She Works Hard For The Money" came on the radio. We caught the bus driver mouthing the words in the rear-view mirror. Soon the whole bus, including some local Spaniards, was singing along. At this one moment, Donna Summer felt like a great equalizer (of sorts).
Though it was Summer's music that I first fell in love with, it was her flashy, sequin-y style and awesomely-huge hair that I later found so captivating. What I find equally inspiring is that she stuck with that over-the-topness all these years, and still looked incredible up until her death today at age 63. Below, we're taking a look back at Summer's most iconic looks.