Munich, Germany—In 1969, I was a young Army medical corpsman assigned in Aschaffenburg, near Frankfurt. I was in an American Express office and saw a simple poster, it read, “Tanz Zug Nach Munchen fur HAAR.” I had been rapidly learning German and knew the translation. It was an ad for the dance train trip to see the German version of the new hit musical Hair in Munich. The cost, I seem to recall was only 90 DM per person or about $23.00.
I took my wonderful girlfriend of the moment, Gertraud who was a hot little blond from a town called Bad Neustadt and we partied all the way from Frankfurt to Munich. We arrived for the evening performance and it was terrific. Just as in the Broadway play they had a few Black actors. I was unfamiliar with any of the cast members but enjoyed a world-class performance.
One young actress, singer and dancer really surprised me. She spoke and sang in German. Her voice and personal style was amazing. More than a year later I learned that this was Donna Summer performing under her real name LaDonna Gaines.
Summer was the daughter of an American Air Force member and had a wonderful command of the German language as a result of a prolonged childhood stay in this great country.
I learned the sad news today that Donna Summer has died in Florida at the age of 63 from lung cancer that may be related to the 9/11 attack on America. I will never forget seeing her when we both were entering adulthood and celebrating our youth. My regret was never meeting her later in life.
Here is a cut from the original cast album where can you hear this lady's unmistakeable voice. You will hear this late great songbird celebrate life. Listening to this today brings me sadness that that great time in my life is gone. Rest in peace, dear Donna…