The deaths of most well-known people rarely make a direct impact on us because we don’t know them outside of their celebrity persona. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, especially if it’s someone you idolized and followed closely or if they died in a tragic fashion.

Depending on your age the passings of John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, Princess Diana, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Mickey Mantle and Michael Jackson are ones that many mourned like they had lost a family member or friend. Sometime the loss is especially painful because it reminds you of a particular time in your life when that person meant something special.

I’m not going to put Donna Summer in the category of the some of the names already mentioned but her death Thursday of cancer at the age of 63 immediately took me back to a special time in my life. From the mid 70’s through the early 80’s she was the poster child for the disco generation and unlike many others not a one or two hit wonder.

Starting with “Love to Love You Baby” in 1975 she would come out with 13 top ten songs over the next eight years and four would reach the top of the Billboard charts, including “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff.”

However my favorite then and now remains “Last Dance” which is played at just about every wedding or special event and displayed her remarkable vocal talents. Summer was not just a diva but a truly great singer who for disco haters was never really taken seriously even though her impact on the music industry was incredible.

Many of the younger people I work with laugh when I try and convince them how great the disco era was. The songs were not about violence, politics or the problems of the world. Actually the lyrics were always secondary to the rhythm and the beat which could move your feet for hours.

Yeah I know it’s hard to imagine but yours truly spent many a night on the dance floor at the Bamboo Bar or Blue Grotto in Seaside Heights in the mid and late 70’s and it was often Summer’s sultry voice and relentless beat that brought out the best…and sometimes worst in me. It’s a time that is long gone but never forgotten…same for the “Queen of Disco.”