Words by Simon Button
If ever a world class singer was in need of a career rethink 30 years ago it was Donna Summer. The Queen of Disco had strayed far from her roots, trying new wave and soft rock on for size with ill-fitting results.
Donna hadn’t had a Stateside hit since ‘She Works Hard For The Money’ six years earlier and the number 13 UK placing for 1987’s ‘Dinner With Gershwin’ was an aberration when everything she released either side of it failed to crack the top 50.
Enter Stock Aitken Waterman - the British writing/producing trio whose euphoric pop ditties had made chart stars of fellow Brits Bananarama and Sonia as well as Aussie imports Kylie and Jason but who had never worked with an artist of Summer’s international stature.
The result was an album called Another Place And Time that put her back on the musical map with such irresistible dance-pop earworms as lead single ‘This Time I Know It’s For Real’ and follow-ups ‘I Don’t Wanna Get Hurt’ and ‘Love’s About To Change My Heart’.
Suddenly Summer, whose earlier hits like ‘I Feel Love’ and ‘Hot Stuff’ were undisputed disco classics, sounded fresh and relevant again, knocking each track out of the park with that astonishing voice of hers and inspiring SAW to do their best-ever work.
With the three-CD anniversary edition you get the original album plus two discs of single edits, extended versions and previously unreleased mixes, including one of ‘Love’s About To Change My Heart’ that features some fantastic ad-libbing.
There’s also a two-disc vinyl version and both sets come with a booklet detailing the making of the record, with Waterman recalling ‘I wanted to make the Donna Summer album I would have wanted to buy’.
If the result was a glitch - a brief return to chart glory before a lapse back into chart obscurity (although Donna did enjoy a modest hit with ‘Melody Of Love’ five years later) - it was a bright and shiny one. Three decades later, the album shines just as brightly.
Another Place And Time - 30th Anniversary Edition is out now on Driven By The Music.