‘Probably the most innovative songs in the world’: Donna Summer ‘I feel love’ by Kathryn Tyler

February 8, 2011 at 11:20 am 3 comments

I’m still amazed that this track was released in 1977. For me it’s the most prophetic of all these early electronic releases. Many artists had already experimented with electronic sounds, with Kraftwerk receiving commercial success with their 1974 album Autobahn and Jean Michele Jarre with Oxygène in 1976 . But to me these felt more of a logical progression from the progressive rock movement, with lofty concept albums you could stroke your beards to. ‘I feel love’ harnessed the feel good vibe of disco and merged it with this pioneering electronic technology to create the new sound of ‘dance’ music. It was precisely this sense of fun and freedom that was at the heart of the dance music revolution that came a few years later and something that was not captured by artists such as Kraftwerk, although I admit that Kraftwerk played their part influencing the genre and they narrowly missed out on being in my top three.

As with Kraftwerk, other artists experimenting at the time immediately recognised the sound of ‘I feel love’ as different and special. Brian Eno brought the record to David Bowie when he was in Berlin recording and said ‘This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years.’ And he was right. A few years later, in Chicago, some music producers influenced by these sounds created the genre that became known as ‘house’ and from there things rapidly progressed, with house morphing into acid house, garage house and techno in only a few short years. And it didn’t take much longer for it to become a huge global movement changing club culture forever, spawning many new sub genres, from breakbeat to drum n’ bass and jungle. For me, ‘dance’ music has been the biggest and most influential music movement of all time and it all started here. So this is why I’ve chosen the Donna Summers classic as one of my three ‘probably the most innovative songs in the world’. It’s had countless remixes but I heard the original played in a club only a few weeks ago and it still feels as fresh as ever.

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Entry filed under: Most innovative songs in the world.

Nice, thorough account of what a ‘Teaching School’ will be in the TES The World’s Most Innovative Schools: Barefoot College

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Claire McEneaney  |  February 8, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Fantastic song! Really evokes a kind of disco hedonism whenever I hear it.

    Reply
  • 2. alanlockey  |  February 8, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    So defensive… you knew I was going to plump for Kraftwerk…

    Reply
    • 3. kathryn tyler  |  February 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      Ha ha it’s not just you. My electronica-obsessed friends would choke on their cornflakes at the inclusion of this over Kraftwerk. If I had to pick most innovative albums then it might be a different story!

      Reply

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