Dim All The Lights Sweet Darling

Please allow me ramble just a bit.  This week, three very talented and creative people passed away and I had to write a little something about one of them.  People around the country heard news of Chuck  Brown‘s passing, but it hit the DC area harder than anywhere else.  Since moving to the area in ’91, I learned to love go-go and I owe a huge part of that to Mr. Brown.  Yesterday evening, I heard of the passing of Monica Jackson, a great author of African-American romance and fiction.  She’s the first author that I read under the Arabesque label and I still remember the characters in her novel, “Hearts Desire.”  However, I’d like to take a moment to pay tribute and homage to one of my favorite musical artists of all time, Ms. Donna Summer.

I was born in 1976, in New York, into a family who loved music.  Lots of people say they love music, but let me just tell you that my family REALLY REALLY LOVED MUSIC!  I have two uncles and a cousin who were djs, my dad used to play drums in a band and most everyone touched a musical instrument, choir or band in some way, shape or form.  Daddy TDJ and I used to play a game where I’d try to stump him regarding where an album was located in our cavernous basement.  He had over 1000 albums,  yet he seemed to always know where every single one lived.

Being born in 1976 meant that I was born in the height of the disco era, and thanks to my mother and my Aunt Sherry, I had a very early appreciation for the intoxicating dance rhythms.  Over the years my love for disco has grown, and I actually spent a few days in my early twenties whining about never having had the chance to party at Studio 54.  And being the nerd that ya girl is, I actually took the time to do deep, investigative research to figure out the perfect year that I should have been born.  Yes, I’m nuts but you already know that and you keep coming back anyway!  LOL!  Allow me to entertain you with my theory.

I’ve concluded that to truly enjoy and appreciate the music across as many decades as possible, I should have been born in 1959.  Clearly this was impossible as Daddy TDJ was 7 years old in 1959 and Mama TDJ was a mere 4.  However, you understand what I’m saying.  If I had been born in 1959:

  • I could have the Motown sound as the soundtrack to my early years
  • I would have turned 18 in 1977, so disco could have been the music of my high school years
  • I would have been able to party at Studio 54 when it opened in 1977
  • I’d have turned 21 in 1980 and been living witness to the birth of rap/hip hop in NY
  • I’d have turned 22 and still only partially understood what the beginning of MTV in 1981 really meant
  • I would have been partied HARD in the 80s with rap/hip hop as a backdrop
  • I could have been young and hip enough to appreciate new jack swing when it arrived in late 80s

I could go on and on, but trust me, I’ve thought this out in painstaking detail.  LOL!  My passion for disco is deep, deep, deep.  It’s a running joke amongst my friends.  At the top of my disco pyramid of worship is Ms. Donna Summer.  The first time I saw the movie, “Thank God It’s Friday”, my Aunt Sherry (Mama TDJ’s cool younger sister) was babysitting me and I was 9.  From opening credit until the screen went completely dark, I was hooked.

It’s one of the first movies that I ever bought for myself.   I played that VHS so much that the tape popped a few years ago.  ****insert tears, a slow wall slide and a nip of good Amaretto**.   My whining had reached epic levels when MrTDJ got sick of me took pity on me.  He found another tattered, worn VHS tape on ebay and got it here in a hurry.  And, in order to avoid another popped tape disaster, he converted the movie to a digital format.  Why the producers have never released this on DVD is beyond me.  It practically has a cult following. (UPDATE 5/19/12 – Cassandra is the bomb diggy!!  Sony finally put it on DVD and I just bought it!  Woo HOO!!!)

Have you ever seen it?  It’s a hella campy feel good movie about disco, roller skating, and the collective hopes and dreams of everyone there whether they were hoping to win the dance contest, dancing their tails off or finding someone cute to hook up with.  Ms. Summer steals the E.N.T.I.R.E movie when she sings, Last Dance.  Steals it, I tell ya!  Like seriously, she won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for it.

I’m actually listening to my Donna Summer Pandora station as I type this post and I’m trying to keep myself from closing the door to my office to get my dance on!!!!  I love the entire body of her work, but my favorite songs will always be Dim All the Lights and MacArthur Park .  Rest in Peace Ms. Summer.  Thank for you the memories!!

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14 thoughts on “Dim All The Lights Sweet Darling

  1. Like you, I love Donna and disco. I’ve never done the research you did, but I too wished I was old enough to go to discos during their hey day. Donna’s On the Radio: Vol 1 & 2 stay in my car, just in case, because you never know when you’re going to need to sing Sunset People or re-enact Love to Love You. By the way, you’re the only person I know of other than me that remembers Thank God It’s Friday. I LOVE that movie. If you have Amazon Prime, you can stream it for free! I only know this because I’ve watched it fiddy leven times :-)

  2. I’ve never seen that movie! Thanks for the tip. My hubby and I are both music lovers (born in 1980). We’re so happy that we were able to witness Michael Jackson at his prime, but we’re frustrated that we were too young to go see him in concert while he was still touring. We remember some of the best music of the 70′s (Stevie Wonder being one of my faves), but we only know it because our parents kept it in heavy rotation. We’ve both decided that we will expose our son (due in August) to all of the greatest music of all time… including the music that came out 30 years before he was born. We are sad that he will never know the greatness of MJ. Fortunately I did see Stevie Wonder in concert twice… in one month… and I’d do it again.

    • Music is the great unifier of the generations and the cultures! And yes, I’m sad that I never saw MJ in concert. But, I am so happy that I was able to see Diana Ross, Prince, Donna Summer, Luther and a few others. Please, please check out the movie since y’all have an appreciation for music.

  3. See, I agree with you about being born in the wrong year, because even though I was born in ‘ 82, I love The Temptations, The Supremes, and the Motown era. My husband calls me an old lady all the time. RIP Donna!

  4. Ok, I’ve never seen the movie. I’m sure my husband has and will shake his head at my pitiful self, but I will try to find it ASAP. I loved Donna Summer too. And as for Chuck…well, read my last post. My heart is broken!!! :-(

  5. I can’t even begin to convey MY family’s love for music too! I enjoy good quality music because of them.
    RIP Chuck – I did not know Chuck Brown sang Bustin Loose. Can I just tell you that was my uncles JAM!! I can see him in my mind doing a George Jefferson type move. LOL! He is to old now to bust said move. :)
    RIP Donna although I can’t say that I appreciated her talent as much as many, I have enjoyed hearing her songs in movies and samples.

  6. I am so glad someone could remember the movie title. I have had a brain fart on that one since she died. I loved TGIF! I watched it every time it came on TV. My sister and I could recite the lines and we love to re-enact how Donna Summer stole the show singing, Last Dance. I loved the music of that era, I loved, I Loved To Love You Baby and Bad Girls. This has been a sad week with the passing of Chuck Brown and Donna Summer. And when I saw that Monica Jackson had died, I was just through. As a lover of African-American romance novels, this cut a bit deep for me. Thanks for the giving me the title of the movie, now I am off to go purchase it!

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