Did Donna Summer Stop A Downpour During A Video Shoot With Prayer?

Did Donna Summer Stop A Downpour During A Video Shoot With Prayer?

The world lost a true music icon with the passing of five-time Grammy-Award winning disco queen Donna Summer. With a string of dance floor hits that cemented her legacy, Donna also emerged in the Golden Age of Music Video as a force with her ladies anthem “She Works Hard For The Money” and the follow-up duet with Musical Youth, “Unconditional Love.” Director Brian Grant spoke to us about shooting “She Works Hard For The Money” and his experience working with this legendary singer.

“I met with Donna Summer in L.A.,” Grant said, “and she told me a story about going to a restaurant where they had a woman working in the ladies’ room, to brush you down, spray perfume on you, whatever. Donna had gone to the restroom, and when she returned and sat back down, she said, ‘God, she works hard for the money’. That was where the inspiration from the song came from, and we started talking about women who have those kind of jobs. I went home and thought it would be quite nice to write her a music video that’s like a real film, rather than creating images of fantasy or what have you. I sat down and wrote an idea about a woman whose got a couple of kids, no husband, who has given up her dreams to raise a family, and it sort of gets on top of her. That’s where it came from.”

“There’s a couple of interesting stories there. First, when I told Donna the story I wanted to tell, she wanted to play the woman herself. I told her, ‘The problem with that, Donna, is that if you playing a waitress, no one will take it seriously. In that context, it won’t work. It will only work if you sort of narrate from the sides.’ I appealed to her ego. The second thing was a very interesting moment when we were shooting the big dance routine at the end where all the working women come out and dance. We’d closed the street, and shot all the wide shots in the morning, and when lunchtime came, it started to pour down with rain, and I realized I had no close-ups whatsoever. I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I go to Donna Summer’s Winnebago, and she’s on her knees praying to God. At two o’clock, it stopped raining. (laugh) I said it was a passing shower, Donna said it was the work of God. With Donna being a born again Christian, there you go! (laugh) That was one of those videos that just had a little bit of faith on its side.”

As with everyone, Grant was saddened to hear of the singer’s passing.

“She was a truly gifted artist who helped define a genre,” Grant said, “as well as having a huge influence on synth pop and dance music. She was also a brilliant human being. It was a privilege to have worked with her.”

R.I.P. Donna Summer. Check out some of her videos below.