Things werenÁ¢€â„¢t really happening for Donna Summer in 1980. The Queen of Disco and the sound she and producer Giorgio Morodor ushered in had fallen out of favor, replaced by New Wave, which was basically disco (four on the floor beat, off-beat open high-hat, lyrics about sex) with a dumbed-down punk aesthetic and major label approved moniker. Donna had also left her longtime label, Casablanca Records, to become one of the flagship artists (along with John Lennon) for a new start-up helmed by a guy named David Geffen.

So to say it was a considerable gamble for Summer to embrace New Wave and release Á¢€Å“The WandererÁ¢€ on a new label isnÁ¢€â„¢t entirely true. Á¢€Å“Considerable gambleÁ¢€ implies thereÁ¢€â„¢s a lot to lose, and letÁ¢€â„¢s be honest, at this point, Donna had enough riches and chart showings to keep her set for a while. It was a pleasant surprise when the title track became a Top 3 hit Á¢€” it looked like Donna just might shake off the disco tag and move along with the times. All it would take is a couple more strong singles off the albumÁ¢€¦

Á¢€Å“Cold LoveÁ¢€ was the follow-up to Á¢€Å“The Wanderer,Á¢€ a straight-ahead rock track with a little bubbling synthline underneath to give it that New Wave sheen. Á¢€Å“Cold LoveÁ¢€ had a lot going for it Á¢€” a strong, riffy start, a hooky verse, an always-terrific vocal (one thing that was a slam-dunk for any Summer song, no matter how weak) Á¢€” all it was missing was a chorus.

Okay, so it had a chorus: Á¢€Cold love / cold love / another shot of rock & roll loveÁ¢€. Fine. I guess the rest of the song was so strong, this chorus just came off a little weak and Á¢€Å“Cold LoveÁ¢€â„¢sÁ¢€ chart showing ultimately reflected this. On to single #3, then.

Á¢€Å“Who Do You Think YouÁ¢€â„¢re FoolinÁ¢€â„¢Á¢€ is okay, not as strong as Á¢€Å“Cold LoveÁ¢€ and certainly nowhere near as catchy as Á¢€Å“The WandererÁ¢€, yet it was still able to struggle into the lower reaches of the Top 40 (#40, to be exact Á¢€” hey, itÁ¢€â„¢s Top 40!). Lyrically, it treads the same Á¢€Ëœol, same Á¢€Ëœol, how fame isnÁ¢€â„¢t all itÁ¢€â„¢s cracked up to be, the only true riches are found within yourself, blah blah. IÁ¢€â„¢m actually surprised this single did as well as it did Á¢€” itÁ¢€â„¢s nothing too special.

Summer continued to notch chart hits thru the rest of the 80s, hitting the Top Ten with Á¢€Å“Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger)Á¢€, Á¢€Å“She Works Hard For The MoneyÁ¢€, and her return to straight-ahead disco (err, sorry, Á¢€Å“dance musicÁ¢€), Á¢€Å“This Time I Know ItÁ¢€â„¢s For RealÁ¢€. She continues to tour and record, scoring dance hits, including her recent Top 5 dance hit, Á¢€Å“I Got Your LoveÁ¢€, so her dalliance in New Wave didnÁ¢€â„¢t do any lasting damage, and was probably the first step in showing her range and versatility.

Not every older artist who dabbled in New Wave could say the same, howeverÁ¢€¦stay tunedÁ¢€¦

Á¢€Cold LoveÁ¢€ peaked at #33 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart in 1981.
Á¢€Å“Who Do You Think YouÁ¢€â„¢re FoolinÁ¢€â„¢Á¢€ peaked at #40 on the same chart in 1981.

“The Wanderer” is currently out of print, but you can find used copies on Amazon.

About the Author

John C. Hughes

John C. Hughes began his Lost in the ’80s blog in 2005 and is now proud to be a member of the Popdose family, where he’s introduced LIT80s’s companions, the obviously named Lost in the ’70s and Lost in the ’90s, alongside the slightly more originally named Why You Should Like…

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