Why Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ Made David Bowie Feel Depressed

“I Feel Love” is one of Donna Summer’s most famous and important songs. It arguably changed the face of popular music. During an interview, one of the song’s co-writers explained why the track upset David Bowie.

Donna Summer wearing blue
Donna Summer | Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Donna Summer co-wrote ‘I Feel Love’ with a major hitmaker

Summer’s music usually sounded like 1970s music, but “I Feel Love” sounded futuristic. It helped pave the way for the synthpop music of the 1980s. Summer co-wrote the song with Pete Bellotte and Giorgio Moroder. Moroder would later write hits such as Blondie‘s “Call Me,” Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” and Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.”

During a 2017 interview with Billboard, Moroder discussed Bowie’s reaction to “I Feel Love.” “I produced a song with David Bowie for the film Cat People, and he told me that he was in Berlin at a point when the song came out,” Moroder recalled. “He was working with his partner in crime (Brian Eno), and they were looking for a new sound. [When they heard ‘I Feel Love,’] David said, ‘Don’t look anymore, because I think Giorgio found the sound of the future.'”

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Why Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ upset David Bowie and Brian Eno so much

Moroder reacted strongly after he learned Bowie praised “I Feel Love.” “I said ‘Wow, this is great,'” Moroder continued. “I didn’t realize that Bowie was that impressed by this song, but if he says it, then it must be true.”

Moroder revealed “I Feel Love” made Bowie feel depressed. “David said they were depressed for a few days, because weeks and weeks on they were trying to find that famous new sound which every artist wants, and especially Brian and David in Berlin, so it was definitely an acknowledgement that it is something new,” Moroder remembered.

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The way the world reacted to ‘I Feel Love’ and its parent album

“I Feel Love” became a massive hit. The song reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 23 weeks. Summer included “I Feel Love” on her album I Remember Yesterday. I Remember Yesterday hit No. 18 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 40 weeks.

“I Feel Love” became popular in the United Kingdom as well. According to The Official Charts Company, the track hit No. 1 there for four weeks. “I Feel Love” spent 11 total weeks on the chart. Meanwhile, I Remember Yesterday hit No. 3 and stayed on the chart for 23 weeks.

Since then, “I Feel Love” has been covered by Madonna, Messiah, Bronski Beat, Sam Smith, and others. It even appeared in a scene from Lady Gaga‘s film House of Gucci. “I Feel Love” upset Bowie but that didn’t stop the song from becoming a classic hit.

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