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Giorgio Moroder On Dance Music's Present And Future

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Giorgio Moroder On Dance Music's Present And Future

Music Interviews


Donna Summer was widely known as the queen of disco. And her king? Italian producer Giorgio Moroder.


DONNA SUMMER: (Singing) I feel love ...They said it really loud, they said it on the air on the radio, whoa...He said I love you, yes I do...

LUDDEN: After pioneering electric dance music, Moroder continued his award-winning career in cinema. Among the soundtracks he scored: "Midnight Express," "Scarface" and this song from "Top Gun."


BERLIN: (Singing) Take my breath away...

LUDDEN: Four decades into his career and Moroder is still going strong, most recently collaborating with the French dance music duo Daft Punk. They asked Moroder to narrate his life story. That turned into a song called "Giorgio by Moroder."

GIORGIO MORODER: All I really wanted to do is music, and not only play music but compose music. At that time in Germany in '69, '70, they had already discotheques. So, I would take my car, would go to a discotheque, sing maybe 30 minutes. I think I had about seven, eight songs. I would partially sleep in the car because I didn't want to drive home. And that helped me for about two years to survive.

LUDDEN: We spoke with Giorgio Moroder and asked for his reaction to the Daft Punk song.

MORODER: I was absolutely not only surprised by kind of moved too because you hear me talking about my life and the music was beautiful and it was very emotional. But I loved it.

LUDDEN: Moroder told us more about those early days of his career in Germany. It was at that time when he met Donna Summer. Creative sparks flew and they soon had their first hit, the steamy song, "Love to Love You Baby."

MORODER: I had the idea of a sex song. I loved one of the Serge Gainsbourg song, "Je T'Aime Moi Non Plus."


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing in foreign language)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing in foreign language)

MORODER: I told Donna if you ever have a line, a sexy line, just tell me and we may do something. So, one day she came back, and she said, how about something like ooh, love to love you baby. Ooh. And I went to the studio, my studio in Munich and we did a little demo, and that was the beginning of "Love to Love You." That was the beginning of her and my career.


SUMMER: (Singing) Ooh, love to love you baby, ooh, love to love you baby, ooh, love to love you baby, feeling you so close to me makes (unintelligible)...

LUDDEN: You have actually done a recent remix of this song. Let's listen now to the remix.


SUMMER: (Singing) (unintelligible)...

LUDDEN: So, Sergio Moroder, why do a remix?

MORODER: Well, the concept was let's do remix of all the songs of Donna (unintelligible), I think 12 songs. So, the record company asked me which one I would like to redo, and I said "Love to Love You." And I was lucky because I just found the original tapes of Donna about seven, eight months ago, because everybody thought, me included, the tapes were lost.

LUDDEN: What did you do differently?

MORODER: Well, the tempo is a little faster and new sounds. So, basically the instruments are new but the main, the most important thing, the moaning and the voice is exactly the same - just sped up.


SUMMER: (Singing) Ooh, love to love you, baby, ooh, love to love you baby, ooh, love to love you baby.

LUDDEN: Your music was so synonymous with the whole disco, dance era. I don't know if you ever had a chance yourself to go to, I don't know, Studio 54 and take part in that?

MORODER: Well, actually not too much. I was in Studio 54 one time; it was great. But I'm not a discotheque guy. Even in Munich when I was working there, I rarely went. Sometime when I had a new demo, I went to some discotheques to check it - see how the reactions of the people are. But to go there just to dance, I rarely did that.

LUDDEN: I understand not having been to Studio 54 but the disco...

MORODER: Probably you were not even born.


LUDDEN: ...but the disco sound is back.

MORODER: I love it. It's a little bit - actually, a lot - with the help of Daft Punk. That big hit "Get Lucky" is a disco song. That's great disco, but a modern disco, because it has great vocoders in and synthesizers. So, I think they revived the disco movement a lot.


DAFT PUNK: (Singing) We're up all night to get lucky, we're up all night to get lucky...

LUDDEN: Do you wonder how music will sound in another 30, 40 years? I don't know, maybe the revivals will just keep coming back and back, or do you hear a new, you know, trend with computers and so forth? What do you think?

MORODER: No. The trend now, I think, is to go back to more traditional composing, you know, like, where you have an intro, you have a verse, a pre-chorus, a chorus, like my hits in general. And I noticed a lot of DJs now are going back to that. In fact, Avicii, with the new song "Wake Me Up," that's kind of a dance song but it's more like a traditional dance song. In fact, it could be a country-and-western song.


AVICII: (Singing) Don't wake me up when it's all over, when I'm (unintelligible), all this time I was sad (unintelligible) and I didn't know I was lost...

LUDDEN: Of all of the many and varied things that you have produced, what are you most proud of?

MORODER: I probably love the soundtrack of "Midnight Express" the best. I think it's innovative. It was my first Oscar. That was a turning event in my life and I really love to do it.


LUDDEN: Giorgio Moroder. He joined me from NPR West. Giorgio Moroder, thank you so much.

MORODER: Thank you for having me.


LUDDEN: You can find out more about Giorgio Moroder by going to our website, This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Rachel Martin returns next week. I'm Jennifer Ludden.

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