I Feel Love
|"I Feel Love"|
A-side label of U.S. vinyl reissue pressing (1977)
|Single by Donna Summer|
|from the album I Remember Yesterday|
|B-side||"Can't We Just Sit Down (And Talk It Over)"|
|Released||July 2, 1977|
|Donna Summer singles chronology|
In 2006 Slant Magazine ranked the song first in its list of '100 Greatest Dance Songs'. It reached number one in the United Kingdom, and made the top-ten in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Before "I Feel Love", most disco recordings had been backed by acoustic orchestras although all-electronic music had been produced for decades. Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte's innovative production of this disco-style song, recorded with an entirely synthesized backing track, utilizing a Moog synthesizer, spawned imitators in the disco genre, and was influential in the development of new wave synthpop and later techno. Moroder went to work on the song with Bellotte in his Musicland Studios in Munich. "We wanted to conclude with a futuristic song," he said, "and I decided that it had to be done with a synthesizer."
Unusually for a disco track of that era, Moroder composed the backing track and bass line before the melody. He introduced a degree of variety by altering the song's key at regular intervals and layering in Summer's repetitive and synthesized vocals.
The song is in the key of C major, with electronic dance flavor, and choruses and interludes. The album version lasts for almost six minutes. It was extended for release as a 12" maxi-single, the eight-minute version included on the 1989 compilation The Dance Collection: A Compilation of Twelve Inch Singles. The song was slightly edited on the 7" format, the fade-in opening sound reaching maximum volume sooner. A version which fades out at 3:45, before the third verse and final choruses, has been included on a large number of greatest hits packages and other compilations issued by PolyGram, Mercury Records, Universal Music and others, such as 1994's Endless Summer: Greatest Hits and 2003's The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer.
Following its huge commercial success, Summer, Moroder and Bellotte produced an 11-minute "Now I Need You"/"Working the Midnight Shift" sequence on Summer's 1977 double album Once Upon a Time, which successfully builds on "I Feel Love"'s pioneering ethereal vocals, mechanised beats, sequenced arpeggios and ostinato basslines.
According to David Bowie, then in the middle of recording of his Berlin Trilogy with Brian Eno, its impact on the genre's direction was recognized early on; "One day in Berlin ... Eno came running in and said, "I have heard the sound of the future." ... he puts on "I Feel Love," by Donna Summer ... He said, "This is it, look no further. This single is going to change the sound of club music for the next fifteen years." Which was more or less right.""
Music critic Vince Aletti wrote that, "The pace is fierce and utterly gripping with the synthesizer effects particularly aggressive and emotionally charged." He went on to predict that the track "should easily equal if not surpass" the success of "Love to Love You Baby" in the clubs.
The song peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of November 12, 1977. It reached number nine on the Soul Singles Chart in October 1977. Its 1995 remix peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play.
In the United Kingdom, "I Feel Love" peaked at the top of the UK Singles Chart in July 1977, a position it maintained for four weeks. It also topped the charts in Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands; and peaked within the top ten in Canada, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland. The 1982 and 1995 remixes of the song peaked at number 21 and number eight on the chart respectively, and sales of these physical singles totalled 956,400. According to the Official Charts Company, together with digital sales, "I Feel Love" has sold 1.07 million copies in Britain as of June 2013, making it the country's 103rd best-selling single of all time.
Impact and legacyEdit
Mixmag ranked the song number 12 in its 100 Greatest Dance Singles Of All Time list in 1996, adding:
"Whenever, however you hear this tune, it's guaranteed to make you smile, shut your eyes and trance out. The first electronic disco masterpiece, disco diva Donna and Moroder's finest, trippiest moment. Whether it's Derrick May or Carl Craig slipping Patrick Cowley's deliciously psychedelic 1982 remix into their techno sets, or Masters at Work climaxing a four deck set with last years garaged-up remake, or just some bloke in a bow tie playing the original at your brother's wedding, this record is timeless. And priceless."
In 2010 Rolling Stones ranked the song at #418 in their list 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Slant Magazine ranked the song 1st in its 100 Greatest Dance Songs-list in 2006, adding:
"No longer would synthesizers remain the intellectual property of prog-classical geeks. And, separated from its LP context and taken as a Top 10 single, it didn't just suggest the future, it was the future. Cooing ascending couplets of an almost banal ecstasy, Summer's breathy vocals still dwelled in the stratosphere of her own manufactured sensation."
In 2011, The Guardian's Richard Vine ranked the release of "I Feel Love" as one of 50 key events in the history of dance music, proclaiming it "one of the first to fully utilise the potential of electronics, replacing lush disco orchestration with the hypnotic precision of machines".
Patrick Cowley remixEdit
In 1978, disco and hi-NRG DJ Patrick Cowley created a 15:43 remix of "I Feel Love" which, despite not impressing Moroder, became a popular "underground classic" available only on acetate discs. The remix used loops, keeping the song's bass-line going for extended passages of overdubbed effects and synthesiser parts.
In mid-1980, Cowley's mix was released with the title "I Feel Love / I Feel Megalove" and subtitle "The Patrick Cowley MegaMix", but only on a limited vinyl pressing by the DJ-only subscription service Disconet. Since this pressing was not available to the general public for commercial sale, it became highly sought after by collectors.
In 1982 the mix was released on a commercially available 12" single in the UK market by Casablanca, backed with an 8-minute edited version. With this wider release, "I Feel Love" became a dance floor hit again, five years after its debut. A further-edited 7" single reached number 21 on the UK singles chart.
The Patrick Cowley mix was out of print until it was released on the bonus disc of the 2003 UK edition of The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer and the Ben Liebrand compilation album Grand 12-Inches. It also exists on the 2013 double disc I Feel Love: The Collection.
Following 1993's The Donna Summer Anthology and 1994's Endless Summer: Greatest Hits, both released by PolyGram, "I Feel Love" was re-released on the PolyGram sublabel Manifesto in a newly remixed form as a single in 1995, including mixes by Masters At Work and Rollo Armstrong and Sister Bliss of UK remixer/producer team Faithless – and also new vocals by Summer. The single became a UK number 8 hit, the second time the song had entered the Top 10, and the '95 Radio Edit was later included as a bonus track on PolyGram France's version of the Endless Summer compilation. The 1995 release also peaked at number 80 in Australia.
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Eschewing the strings and typical disco excess, 'I Feel Love' was the first major pop hit recorded with an entirely synthesized backing track; its lean, sleek arrangement and driving, hypnotic pulse laid the groundwork not only for countless Euro-dance imitators, but also for the house music revolution of the 1980s and '90s.
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