Born on April 26, 1940, in Ortisei, Italy, Giorgio Moroder became a top producer/songwriter of the disco era, working with Pete Bellotte and vocalist Donna Summer to craft genre-defining hits like "Love to Love You Baby," "I Feel Love" and "On the Radio." An electronic music trailblazer, he also won Academy Awards for his musical contributions to the films American Gigolo, Flashdance and Top Gun.
Background and Early Career
Producer Giovanni Giorgio Moroder was born on April 26, 1940, in the multicultural village of Ortisei, Italy. Taking up the guitar before leaning more heavily on the bass, he played with bands across Europe before entering the German discotheque scene and settling in Munich in the early 1970s. He also began to hone his craft as a songwriter and producer, penning the Chicory Tip tune "Son of My Father," a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom.
Moroder had teamed with British song-man Pete Bellotte when they met performing artist Donna Summer, with whom they recorded vocals for a demo. The trio hit it off, and eventually shaped the album that would become Summer's full-length debut, 1974's Lady of the Night.
The following year, playing with Summer's idea of creating a musical landscape around a particular phrase, the three crafted a historical opus to sensuality, "Love to Love You Baby." With a pioneering vision, Moroder modified and expanded the hit Top 5 track to around 17 minutes for placement on the 1975 album of the same name.
'I Feel Love'
The Summer/Bellote/Moroder team crafted albums from the mid-to-late '70s that defined much of disco, with Summer becoming an icon of the times. They released concept albums with lush instrumentation such as Four Seasons of Love (1976), focusing on romance's permutations as seasonal change, and Once Upon a Time... (1977), a contemporary take on the Cinderella fairy tale.
For the album I Remember Yesterday (1977), which featured music representing different eras, Moroder wanted to create a sound for the future. Hence he utilized the Moog synthesizer to come up with a bassline for the ethereal "I Feel Love," a huge influence on electronic dance music for decades to come.
With his trademark moustache, Moroder crafted his own albums as well, releasing Knights in White Satin (1976), From Here to Eternity (1977) and E=MC² (1980), with the latter two offerings made completely with synthesizers. He also continued to score big with Summer as seen on the double-platinum Bad Girls (1979), featuring the No. 1 title track as well as "Hot Stuff" and "Dim All the Lights." After the 1980 album The Wanderer, the trio parted ways on good terms.
By this time Moroder had turned to soundtracks with award-winning results. He won an Academy Award for his score to Midnight Express (1978) and received another Oscar for co-writing the tune "What a Feeling," co-written by singer Irene Cara and Keith Forsey from the 1983 film Flashdance. Moroder won two Grammys for his Flashdance work as well, and received another Oscar for the song "Take My Breath Away," from Top Gun (1986).
The versatile Moroder had also displayed his rock chops with his song "Call Me" from the film American Gigolo (1980), which became a big hit for the band Blondie, featuring lead singer Debbie Harry. Additional soundtrack work could be heard with Cat People (1982), Scarface (1983) and The Neverending Story (1984). Moroder also collaborated with the likes of David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Freddie Mercury and Pat Benatar; the last two artists were featured on his 1984 soundtrack for the Fritz Lang sci-fi film Metropolis (1926).
Daft Punk Album
Moroder had won another Grammy for his '90s reunion with Donna Summer on the song "Carry On." Having becoming increasingly quiet on the music scene, focusing on his skills as a visual artist and designer, he came back into the spotlight with 2013's Random Access Memories by electronica/dance duo Daft Punk (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo). On the album, the producer talked about his personal history and creating new dance music forms on the aptly titled track "Giorgio by Moroder."
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