Tuesday, 22 May 2012

How Donna Summer Unleashed Lilith One Spring

It was the spring of 1975, when a willowy black woman from Boston and a diminutive German-speaking Italian got together in a music studio in Bavaria and unleashed the most famous series of female orgasms in pop music. 

When Donna Summer came for 17 minutes into a microphone and Giorgio Moroder gave her a powerful electronic backing, together they created a sound that influenced musicians for the following four decades. Just listen to it now. It's a brilliant, flexible melding of human voice and machines, so sexy, so earthy, so perfect. Summer was acting, of course, in fact pretending she was Marilyn Monroe, and her ability to inhabit roles was to prove one of her career strengths.

Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder.
Working hard and having fun in the 70s.
Love to Love You Baby was a game changer both for the music industry and for everyone involved. Moroder went on to a successful career producing hits for all kinds of people from Bowie to Chaka Khan and writing film music, including the themes for Flashdance and Midnight Express. And Donna Summer – well, she became a legendary diva, with more hits than any other singer.

Pop music itself? It was never the same again. When Brian Eno heard Summer he said: "I have heard the future."

Some partnerships truly are made in heaven. This one shouts ambition, hard work and creativity. 

via astrodatabank
Summer was a super-ambitious Capricorn, of course, with her Sun exactly conjunct expansive Jupiter. Both are part of a massive, talented stellium in the fifth house of creativity. She was a star waiting to be born when Moroder met her in the early 70s. 

Moroder has his Sun in fellow earth sign Taurus – practical, creative - and exactly conjunct Saturn, also very ambitious. He has Aquarius Rising, and chart ruler Uranus in the third house of communications trining Neptune, the music planet in the 7th house of partnership. How perfect for a pioneer of electronic music in need of a partner.

But look what happens when you put their charts together.  For a start they have a nice compatible trine between their earthy Suns – good for colleagues. 

The charts are complementary. They are almost flipped. Her perfectionist Virgo Rising sits in his 7th house of partners. While his innovative Aquarius ascendant is in her house of work, the 6th. 

Her creative fifth house is packed, but it might have all been stuck down there if she hadn't found someone who could pull it out and up. See how Uranus is the highest planet up there in communicative Gemini in her 10th house of career. Moroder's sexy, dynamic Mars-Venus falls just between Summer's Uranus-MC, helping her to express her genius.

via astrodatabank
And she really inspired him. Look her Venus (woman and art and money) sits right on his MC. What is more her hard-working Capricorn Moon is on his Ascendant. (You can see these two were both happy to work hard for success. They put in the hours.)

They also have a connection between the nodes, so you can see that it was a relationship that could change the direction of their lives. Her North Node is a few degrees from his Sun-Saturn, and his North Node is on her Neptune (music).

And look at the wild woman Lilith. In both their charts, she's in musical Pisces. But she's in complementary positions. Summer's is in the seventh and Moroder's in the first. Love to Love You was considered so shocking that it was banned by, among other broadcasters, the BBC.

Now here's the tricky astrological fun stuff. I've drawn up the composite chart for these two. Mercury (communications), Sun (the heart of the relationship) and Jupiter (magnifier) are all in musical Pisces at the very top of the chart. So right away you can see the point of their get together.

So if I put the transits in for the recording of the song? That's April-May 1975. Lilith is right there transiting the key stellium and about to have a return. 

When the single was released, their composite Sun moved into the first house, bringing them to public attention. And just take a look at the transiting North Node – right on the partnership point. Neptune would transit that partnership angle for the rest of the decade as disco went global. These two turned out hit after hit together.

A Grand Cross in a composite chart is often a sign of balance rather than tension. For Moroder and Summer, the tightest opposition is across Libra-Aries. Neptune in Libra is surely a perfect symbol of musical partnership, and Mars in Aries is pioneering and so dynamic.  

The other part of the Grand Cross is extremely businesslike Moon-Saturn across Capricorn-Cancer. This could be cold, but in fact the planets are in each other's signs which puts them into what's called mutual reception, so they work supportively together. The emotions get channelled into the work.

But enough of astrology. Put your headphones on and get down. I think it may actually sound better now than it did then. Capricorns do age like fine wine. This is the long version, and a dull video, but just listen to 17 minutes of disco heaven...

For more on Capricorn and singers, read How Adele is a Shaman.


  1. My favorite was always 'I feel Love'. I always loved Donna Summer: hypnotic, earthy, but transcendant.

  2. Ha! I just downloaded 'Hot stuff' few days ago. I also love Dionne Warwick (taurus stellium, didn't check lilith though), I remeber spending long afternoons when I was 14, painting and listening to my Mom's 'cassettes'.
    Thanks for the way you presented the synastry!

  3. The song you are referring to is "I Feel Love" and not "Love to Love you Baby." Brain Eno said upon hearing "I Feel Love" that he heard the future and it heralded the beginning of techno, electro and house.

    1. Yes you're quite right, Brian Eno was talking about I Feel Love. Thanks for making me clarify. I had to get him in there somewhere; that's why I finessed it to Summer, rather than the song.

    2. Haven't listened to the full 17 minutes in at least 30 years, and I danced to all but about the first 15 seconds. No idea why I held out so long :)

      Early signs of undiscovered young local talents are certainly promising.

    3. Not sure I'v ever listened to the full 17 before - and frankly, it's genius.

  4. Yes I Feel Love is a classic. New Orders Blue Monday was another techno classic. Would it have come about with Donna's?