This week we’re bringing you a selection of the sexiest songs from the last four decades. Today we are starting with a track synonymous with sex: ‘Love to Love You Baby’, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015.
In 1975, little-known Italian producer Giorgio Moroder and his American muse, Donna Summer, released a song which would be remembered to this day as a defining moment for female pleasure in popular music, and which would have a huge influence on dance music for decades.
‘Love to Love You Baby’ was written by Moroder as “a bit of fun”. But when it was unleashed on discos in New York as an extended cut, it drove crowds wild.
“Until then, the sexy songs we danced to were most often about hot women and the desire they inspired in the men who wanted them. Now we had a woman saying that sex was hot for her. And actually making her point, performatively and unapologetically, in real time.” – Wednesday Martin, Endless Summer: A Disco Diva’s Enduring Lesson about Female Sexuality
‘Love to Love You…’ deserves a place in every record collection- and the playlist of any down and dirty night- for capturing the perfect mix of laid-back, honey-drip teasing, and an insistent rhythm that drives Summer’s moans higher and higher as she breathlessly encourages her imagined lover.
Clocking in at over 15 minutes of simulated ecstasy the track didn’t find immediate success in the mainstream charts for a year. But it was a revelation when it was played in the emerging nightclubbing scene in New York. Summer’s moans and whispered delight were irresistible to clubbers looking for a good time on the dance floor (sometimes literally).
All the elements of dance music as we know it today were emerging in the mid 70’s: ‘Love to Love You Baby’ features a bassline that Daft Punk would have killed for, and a four-to-the-floor drumbeat that just drives, home, the, point.
After the collapse of the disco scene in the late 70’s the song survived and guaranteed itself a place in music history for bringing the uninhibited spirit of early underground clubbing into popular culture. More importantly it was pioneering for openly making female pleasure the focus of a smash hit.
Summer and Moroder’s achievement for soundtracking forty years of sex can’t be exaggerated, nor should their influence on the kinds of music we expect to find in clubs. ‘Love to Love You…’ brought explicit female sexuality into dance music, and given how much pop music has cannibalised the disco and early dance music eras, today’s artists like Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus, who play with their image as empowered and sexually free, owe a great deal to Summer and Moroder.