Donna Summer - Last Dance (Original Extended Version) Casablanca Records 1979

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"Last Dance" is a 1978 hit song by singer Donna Summer recorded in July, 1977 in one day at the Hit Factory Studio in New York. The song appeared on the Thank God It's Friday movie soundtrack.

It was written by Paul Jabara and recorded by Jurgen Koopers. It was remixed by Bob Stone and featured no backup singers.

Donna Summer has a role in the film Thank God It's Friday as an aspiring singer who brings an instrumental track of "Last Dance" to a disco in hopes the disc jockey will play the track and allow her to sing the song for her fellow patrons: after refusing through most of the film the disc jockey eventually obliges Summer's character and her performance causes a sensation.

According to the song's co-producer Bob Esty, Paul Jabara had locked Summer in a Puerto Rico hotel bathroom and forced her to listen to a cassette of him singing a rough version of "Last Dance." Summer liked the song and Jabara asked Esty to work with him on an arrangement for Summer to make her recording. Esty recalls:

I changed some of the chords and extended the 'hook' to repeat three times to finish the last phrase of the chorus. I also added a bridge to build to a climax and suggested a ballad intro à la "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" [the Diana Ross version] and another ballad in the middle of the song building again to a high note for the last chorus ending. To our knowledge, this had never been done in a disco track. ..We did the piano/vocal with Donna and me of the full version including the two ballad sections and the ending in one 'pass'...I recorded the full track in one day, rhythm in the morning, horns and strings during the day. That same night, Giorgio Moroder recorded Donna's vocal exactly as she sang the demo, in two takes, and banning me from attending the session. In spite of the fact Giorgio didn't like the song and didn't want Donna to sing in a full voice style, I thought I would be at least credited for co-producing the track and co-writing the song with Paul. He ultimately took credit for it. And Paul Jabara took the Oscar. I learned a bitter lesson from that.

On David Foster's "The Hitman Returns" DVD, David Foster introduces the song by relating a story to Donna Summer. When he played on the session in 1978, Foster thought the producer's suggestion to start the song as a ballad and change into a faster tempo was, "...the stupidest idea I've ever heard in my life, but we did it".

"Last Dance" won an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song that same year. With a #3 peak on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine, "Last Dance" became Summer's third US Top Ten hit after "Love to Love You Baby" and "I Feel Love" and almost matched the #2 hit "Love to Love You Baby" as Summer's best-charting single (at that time). "Last Dance" also afforded Summer a #5 R&B chart hit and was #1 on Billboard's Hot Disco Action Chart for six weeks eventually being ranked as the #1 Disco hit for the year 1978. Certified gold for sales of a million units in the US,"Last Dance" marked a downturn in Summer's chart fortunes in the UK where she'd previously had more chart impact than in the US with "Last Dance"'s UK chart peak being at #51; Summer would return to the UK Top Ten - at #5 - with her follow-up single "MacArthur Park" a single which afforded Summer her first US #1.

"Last Dance" was one of the first disco songs to also feature slow tempo parts: it starts off as a ballad; the full-length version on the film soundtrack also has a slow part in the middle. This part was edited out for the 7". The versions found on most greatest hits packages is either the original 7" edit (3:21) or the slightly longer and remixed version from the 1979 compilation On The Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2 (4:56). "Last Dance" started a trend for Summer as some of her following hits also had a ballad-like intro before speeding up the tempo. Her other hits of this tempo format include "On the Radio"; "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)", a duet with Barbra Streisand; "Dim All the Lights"; and a song written by and duetted with Paul Jabara called "Foggy Day/Never Lose Your Sense Of Humor", from his album "The Third Album".

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