The Myth Factory: Myth 8 – Donna Summer Never Came Back To The Hit Factory


Many believed that after the success of Another Place and Time, Summer never returned to SAW. In truth, Summer just had poor timing…


By the late 80s, Donna Summer’s career had stalled. The singer’s frequent record-label changes signalled a serious creative stutter, while an alleged comment about AIDS had served to alienate a large part of her core fanbase.

Noting Rick Astley’s spectacular Stateside success, she turned to SAW to craft the 10-track pop-dance masterpiece Another Place And Time. The strategy worked… spectacularly.

The first single, This Time I Know It’s For Real, took her back to the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in early 1989 and, while the reviews were mixed, many claimed this was SAW’s finest hour.

Sadly, it didn’t signal a long-term partnership. Donna’s next full set took until 1991 to appear; recorded not with SAW but with a range of different producers and rather aptly named Mistaken Identity, it flopped badly.

It has long been rumoured that Lonnie Gordon’s 1990 smash Happenin’ All Over Again was written with Donna in mind, but Mike says this is not true and the track was prepared specifically for Gordon – also in desperate need of a hit.

Donna’s decision not to return to The Vineyard, SAW’s studio in south-east London, baffled Pete.

“I don’t know what went wrong… it’s weird, ‘cause I’ve never seen her say anything bad about us in interviews,” he told pop weekly Record Mirror almost a year after Another Place And Time had been released.

In fact, Donna did return – but too late. In 1993, long after Matt had left the team, Mike and Pete had a blazing row about a proposed new project with Dead Or Alive that was to mark the fiery finale of their joint venture.

A lengthy legal dispute was to sour relations further between all three men and, today, Mike’s greatest regret from the whole period is that when Donna Summer did finally approach Pete again about setting up a new deal, he had not long left The Vineyard and the opportunity was lost.

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