The legendary record producer Giorgio Moroder has just announced his first live tour at the age of 78. With a back catalogue ranging from pioneering electronic disco, atmospheric soundtracks and gigantic pop & rock hits, we pick some of our favourites.
I Feel Love (Donna Summer, 1977)
Indisputably one of the most influential records ever made, the only natural sounds on it are Summer’s vocal and the kickdrum by Keith Forsey. It was played on a borrowed Moog synthesiser and Summer recorded Pete Belotte’s lyrics in one take. Its impact on dance music was huge; not only does it still fill dancefloors four decades on (including our own), it changed the way dance music would be produced.
Call Me (Blondie, 1980)
The theme song to Paul Schrader’s American Gigolo, Call Me was written by Moroder and Debbie Harry and became the highest selling single of 1980 in the United States.
Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (David Bowie, 1982)
The theme song to Paul Schrader’s movie Cat People. Moroder was on board to compose the soundtrack after his collaboration with Schrader on American Gigolo, and Bowie wrote the lyrics. Bowie was keen to use it as is on his album Let’s Dance, but due to licensing issues had to re-record it. The song was more recently utilised by Quentin Tarantino on the soundtrack to Inglorious Basterds.
Chase (Giorgio Moroder, 1978)
Midnight Express was Moroder’s first film soundtrack experience, and director Alan Parker explicitly requested a track in the same vein as ‘I Feel Love’. Chase went on to be another immensely successful piece of music and was arranged by frequent collaborator Harold Faltermeyer who went on to have a huge hit himself with the soundtrack to Beverley Hills Cop.
Night Drive (Giorgio Moroder, 1980)
From the American Gigolo soundtrack, Night Drive is immediately recognisable as the melody from Blondie’s ‘Call Me’, which was itself the movie’s theme song.
Flashdance (What A Feeling) (Irene Cara, 1982)
The Flashdance soundtrack was the album that finally knocked Thriller off of the number one spot. The title song was written by Keith Forsey, Irene Cara and Moroder. It went to number one in 14 countries and won the Academy Award for best song.
From Here To Eternity (Giorgio Moroder, 1977)
The From Here to Eternity album is a near-continuous piece of electronic disco with side one topped and tailed by two versions of this classic. It followed I Feel Love and was a conscious attempt at continuing that futuristic feel. The title track was released as a single and featured in the film ‘Thank God It’s Friday’.
Beat The Clock (Sparks, 1979)
Looking for a change of direction, Sparks turned to Moroder to produce their album No.1 in Heaven. Ron and Russell Mael’s eccentric pop/rock proved to be a brilliant match for Moroder and they worked with him again on 1980’s ‘Terminal Jive’.
Together In Electric Dreams (Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder, 1984)
The Human League’s Philip Oakey had long been a Giorgio fan, and was introduced to Moroder by Steve Barron, the director of the movie Electric Dreams. This song from the soundtrack went on to become way more successful than the film itself and is a staple of The Human League’s live set.
Utopia – Me Giorgio (Giorgio Moroder, 1977)
Another track from From Here To Eternity and this also went out as the B-side of the single. It still sounds astonishingly modern, like 3 and a half minutes of driving choral techno.
MacArthur Park Suite (Donna Summer, 1977)
Jimmy Webb’s love-it-or-hate-it classic, completely reinvented. In this version at least to our minds this is both Moroder and Summer’s high points. Nearly 18 minutes long, it incorporates both ‘One Of A Kind’ and the fabulous ‘Heaven Knows’ into its running time and is a perfect showcase for Summer’s incredible vocal range.
Take My Breath Away (Berlin, 1986)
Moroder’s own favourite, from the soundtrack to Top Gun. After recording a demo of the song and playing it to director Tony Scott and producers Simpson & Bruckheimer, Scott filmed more scenes focusing on Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis to give the song more of a platform. It won Moroder another Academy Award, and went to number one in seven countries.