Nov 122017
 

from LAST DANCE (single)
Written by Paul Jabara

 

“Last Dance” was one of those disco/pop staples that the late, great Donna Summer (1948-2012) brought to the top of the charts worldwide in the second half of the seventies. This evergreen was penned by the late singer/songwriter Paul Jabara (1948-1992). “Last Dance” was included on the soundtrack of the 1978 disco movie, Thank God It’s Friday. Starring alongside Ms. Summer were talented newcomers including Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger plus The Commodores, the famous soul/r&b group.

Jabara put “Last Dance” in the capable hands of songwriter/arranger Bob Esty who provided him a couple of smart ideas to complete the song. Here’s how Esty reminisced about the song’s recording in a recent interview on the popmatters.com website:

“I did the arrangement on piano, my favorite track was (Diana Ross’) ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,’ which was slow in the beginning. I thought that Ashford & Simpson were a great team to think of [making the beginning slow]. Taking that idea, I started ‘Last Dance’ slow, because Paul wrote it slow, and then increased the tempo. It had to come to life! I wrote the bridge that begins with ‘Will you be my Mr. Right’ and ends with ‘all that I ask is that you dance with me’. Then I thought to myself, maybe I could go back to the ballad halfway through, even though the DJs would kill me!”

The gifted music-maker Giorgio Moroder was also Ms. Summer’s first producer and cut her vocals. Meanwhile, Esty produced the instrumental track featuring a bunch of session aces including David Foster playing synthesizers. The entire backing track was made in just one day, rhythm section in the morning and the string and horn parts played later on. Thanks to Esty’s top-notch arrangement, the fantastic playing and Ms. Summer’s classic vocal performance, “Last Dance” turned out as total ear-candy and rightly achieved its evergreen status. The song won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for “Best Original Song” as well as a Grammy for “Best R&B Vocal Performance Female.” It also skyrocketed on the charts to #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100, #5 on the R&B chart and #1 on the Dance chart.

One of Ms. Summer’s final public performances of “Last Dance” was on Foster’s Hitman Returns extravaganza in 2011. She talked with Foster about the original recording before tearing the theatre down with a rousing rendition.


Listen

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Lead Vocals: Donna Summer
Keyboards: Bob Esty
Synthesizers: David Foster

Arranged by Bob Esty
Produced by Giorgio Moroder & Bob Esty


Lyrics

Last dance
Last chance for love
Yes, it’s my last chance
For romance tonight

I need you by me
Beside me, to guide me
To hold me, to scold me
‘Cause when I’m bad
I’m so, so bad

So let’s dance the last dance
Let’s dance the last dance
Let’s dance this last dance tonight

Last dance
Last dance for love
Yes, it’s my last chance
For romance tonight

Oh oh I need you by me
Beside me, to guide me
To hold me, to scold me
‘Cause when I’m bad
I’m so, so bad

So let’s dance, the last dance
Let’s dance, the last dance
Let’s dance, the last dance tonight

Oh oh I need you by me
Beside me, to guide me
To hold me, to scold me
‘Cause when I’m bad
I’m so, so bad

So c’mon baby
Dance that dance
C’mon baby
Dance that dance
C’mon baby
Last dance tonight

Yeah yeah