SUMMER, Donna (1948-2012). Manuscript for 'On the Radio', with autograph penciled corrections and emendations, Hollywood [1979].

Five pages on Rusk Sound Studios stationery (minor soiling to one page).

Manuscript lyrics for 'On the Radio', which became Donna Summer's tenth top-ten hit in the United States on its release in February 1980. Giorgio Moroder had composed the underlying music the previous year and had given it to Donna Summer to compose the lyrics. For guidance, she asked Moroder if he had any thoughts on song's theme, and she recalled him replying, "something with the radio." Over several weeks she made numerous attempts to compose the lyrics, but with no luck. One day in the studio she was sitting at the piano working on another song when she noticed that "Stephen Bishop's record was on the top of the piano." She recalled the writing they had done together in the past, and she asked herself, "how would Stephen say this? What line would he come up with - he's so clever. And all of a sudden, this one line came to me, and it was must have fallen out of a hole in your old brown overcoat, and it was like a lightning bolt. OK, that's it. I knew who the person was. I knew who the person was in the song, I knew who she needed to be, I knew what she was going through, I knew what had to be said. And so as soon as I got all of the personal information on the character, I was able to go into the studio, stand on the microphone and sing the song pretty much verbatim, the way you hear it. That is - you know, I don't know how many takes I did that day, but I don't think I did very many, and I think I got most of the song in the first take, so, you know, it was about having that story in my psyche and being able to go on there and sing it from that person's perspective, and once I got the perspective, I was ridin'." (Interview with Terri Gross on Fresh Air, NPR, 2003).

The body of the text (in red ink) was accomplished in an unknown hand—likely by an assistant at the studio transcribing what had been recorded during the session. Donna Summer made emendations in pencil to form a near-complete copy of the published lyrics.
718 x 512 in. (18.2 x 13.9 cm.), each page
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