Over at PopMatters, our friend Christian John Wikane shows what many in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame may have missed: The clear connection between Donna Summer and the rock music tradition. With these 10 examples, he traces “Summer’s beginning in rock and roll, her bold musical makeover in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, and how her legacy epitomizes what the form is all about. As 1997 RRHOF inductee George Clinton once stated: ‘Donna Summer… she’s like a rock star.’”
He drives his point home with the following:
. . . Without Donna Summer, 2008 RRHOF inductee Madonna would have had no career arc to follow.
However, even based on the strictest definition of rock and roll, Donna Summer is a pioneer in ways that her pop progeny are not. She participated in rock at a time when the music was a revolutionary cultural force. She won the admiration of her peers by staying original, progressing along a chameleonic path, and proving that dance music and rock need not be mutually exclusive. More than anything, though, Donna Summer exemplifies that true music innovators and rock icons are never bound by one category. Their work simply echoes through time.