Love to Love You Baby (song)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"In the summer of 1974, Donna Summer approached producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte with an idea for a song. A re-issued 45 of "Je t'aime... moi non plus" by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg was back on the charts, prompting Summer to pen her own 'racy' song. She had come up with the lyric "love to love you, baby" as the possible title for the song." --Sholem Stein
By 1975, Summer had been living in Germany for eight years and had participated in several musical theatre shows. She had also released an album in Europe entitled Lady of the Night, written and produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, which had given her a couple of hit singles. She was still a complete unknown in her home country when she suggested the lyric "Love to Love You Baby" to Moroder in 1975. He turned the lyric into a full disco song and asked Summer to record it. The full lyrics were somewhat explicit and at first Summer said she would only record it as a demo to give to someone else. However her erotic moans and groans impressed Moroder so much that he persuaded her to release it as her own song, and "Love to Love You" became a moderate hit in the Netherlands.
A tape of the song was sent to Casablanca Records president Neil Bogart in the U.S. and he played it at a party at his home. He was so impressed with the track that he continued to play it over and over all night. He later contacted Moroder and suggested that he make the track longer - possibly as long as twenty minutes. Again Summer had reservations, and was not even sure of all the lyrics, so imagined herself as an actress (namely Marilyn Monroe) playing the part of someone in sexual ecstasy. The studio lights were dimmed so that Summer was more or less in complete darkness as she lay on the floor. The final recording lasted over sixteen minutes, and contained the sexiest simulated orgasms ever found on vinyl (according to the BBC it contained 22 "orgasms", while Time Magazine have stated it contains 23). It was also at this point that the song was renamed "Love to Love You Baby." The song took up the entire first side of the album of the same name, and was also released as a 12" single. Edited versions were also found on 7" vinyl, and the song became an international disco smash. It climbed to #2 on the U.S. singles chart, and also made the UK Top 5 (despite the BBC's refusal to promote it). Summer would be named "the first lady of love," which labelled her with a sexual-oriented, fantasy image that she would struggle to rid herself of.
Casablanca Records became responsible for the distribution of Summer's work in the U.S., and later in the majority of nations. President Neil Bogart was particularly keen for Summer to portray the image of a rich, powerful, sexy fantasy figure with which this song had labelled her. Upon Summer's relocation to the U.S., Bogart and his wife Joyce (who also became Summer's manager) would become close friends with Summer, but also begin to interfere with aspects of her personal as well as professional life. Summer eventually felt that she had no control over her life and suffered with depression and insomnia. She would later become a born-again Christian and develop the confidence to leave disco, Casablanca and the Bogarts behind and file a lawsuit against them (which was eventually settled). It was at this time that Summer also made the decision to leave behind "Love To Love You Baby" forever. Some twenty-five years later, she would once again begin to perform a newly arranged version of the song in concert.